For any parent, nothing is more exciting than seeing a child with a keen interest in learning more about the world. Most parents believe education should be a top priority for their children. Some kids, however, find school boring and too much of a chore. Unmotivated children find it difficult to do well in school, and this is very distressing for their parents. The key to obtaining a good education for your child is making him/her interested in learning. When a kid has their imagination captured, they can achieve great things in academics.
Communicate with your child. Ask him/ her for details about school and help them pinpoint what is causing them not to be interested. It may take several conversations and will require active listening on your part to discover if there are issues that are causing them to disconnect from their academic environment.
Assess his study habits. It is very difficult for even the most motivated student to focus on a task for an indefinite period. Start by setting a schedule where he sits down in a comfortable, well-lit place conducive for homework at a set time each day. Ideally, s/he should work for an hour and then take a 10-20 minute break. However, s/he may need to work up to that pace and could start with a 30 minute study period followed by a 5-10 minute break. S/He can set a timer and make their break something relaxing and enjoyable.
Schedule a conference with your child’s teacher. Find out what his perception of your child’s academic experience is and how he thinks your child is performing. Have him identify any issues he believes are present. Also, ask him for ideas as to how to get your child more interested in school.
Visit your child’s classroom frequently. Be a volunteer and find out exactly how your child spends the school day. Your presence will likely spark your child’s interest. If you do find the environment uninspiring, speak with your child’s principal about your concerns. It may even be necessary to get your child transferred to a different class if the present one is not a good fit.
Speak positively to your child about school. Don’t let yourself get negative along with your child, but instead model hopefulness about his educational environment. Let your child knows/ he must go to school and do their homework, even if s/he is not particularly interested at the time. Encourage them by explaining that nothing stays the same, and s/he will likely feel different about school in the future.
Praise your child for all his/ her academic efforts. Always note how proud you are of him/ her when s/he makes a good grade or puts forth a special effort. Be consistent and let them know you support and celebrate their persistence in their academic environment. Try motivation with something that s/he likes (reading an extra book at bedtime, playing a board game with you or watching a favorite cartoon). Positive reinforcement builds confidence and self-esteem. Beware of criticism.
Show your child you are interested in his/ her homework. Review all assignments before s/he begins and offer to help them out if they gets stuck, but do not do the work for them. Make sure all homework is done, helping out when necessary. Turn the TV off while homework is being done. Look over his/ her work after they complete it, and talk with them about it in a positive manner. Your interest will rub off on them.
Get your child engaged in school and learning. Sometimes electives and extracurricular activities are the key. If your child loves photography, music, sports, or almost anything else, you can use this as a way to get him interested in other subjects.
Evaluate barriers to learning. Sometimes children are not motivated to learn because they are struggling. This may be hard to spot as by the teen years children have become good at hiding their difficulties behind an apathetic attitude. Sometimes ”I don’t care” really means the student is afraid to fail. This does not mean the child is not smart – there could be a learning disability unrelated to ”intelligence” or even a physical disability like sight or hearing loss. Sometimes the barriers are social, as well, and very capable children don’t want to look like they are trying to do well at school. If you suspect your child has learning challenges, discuss these with the school and request an evaluation. If your child’s friends are the issue, try to find positive role models your child will respect.