“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” – Zig Zigler
Everyone needs motivation, be it a grown-up person or a child. Motivation is what that drives us to the path of success. We have often seen great leaders motivate people to start a revolution of change. So, what is motivation and why is it so necessary?
According to the Oxford dictionary motivation has been defined as ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way’. So, from the definition, it is clear that motivation does not always mean something positive. This is the same thing with parents who find it difficult to motivate their children to study. More often parents stick to the method of ‘carrot and stick’, which tends to do more harm than good to the kids.
As a parent, you must be worried if your child comes home with a report card that shows that his performance has been poor. No matter how many tuitions or professional courses you are providing him/her with, it does not seem to help. It is enough to make any parent worried and have sleepless nights with nightmares about his/her child’s career. This is when motivation plays an important role in making your child’s future bright. Here are seven steps that will help parents to motivate their children to do better:
1- Learn what your child wants
You cannot motivate your child in the right direction if you do not know his/her interests. First of all, parents should know that they should not enforce their interest upon their children. Some children are better at mathematics while some are good at humanities. Remember, if you understand what your child wants to do (academically), then you can motivate him/her to be good in that field and he/she will react positively.
2- It is always best to make your child self-motivated
Motivation is not a button which can be pressed and magical things happen. You cannot transfer motivation. So it is necessary for you to understand that your child needs to be self-motivated. What you can do is show him the path that will lead to the destination and he/she should work towards reaching it from within and that’s the motivation we are talking of.
3- Try to have an open and friendly relationship
The best parents are also good friends to their children. They are always open in their relationship and respect the opinions of their children. As good friends do various activities together, you can associate with your children on some activities of common interest. This will help strengthen the bond and let them speak their heart out to you. Try and know how they feel about various things related to academics. Help them with their homework and play with them.
4- Identify your child’s weaknesses
Learning about your child’s weakness, if they have any, will help you to carve out plans accordingly. You can then plan on the ways that will motivate your children by accepting the truth about their learning behaviour and interests. Handle it carefully and do not show that they are poor in such matters. Try to grow confidence and give the examples of how you overcame your fears.
5- Be firm but do not get angry
If your child is making mistakes, do not get furious. This will instil fear and demotivate them. Be firm to show that it is wrong to do certain things that harm them in the long run but do not get angry on them for making mistakes. Making mistakes is also a way to learn new things, encourage your kids not to repeat same mistakes.
6- Celebrate your child’s achievements
There is nothing more motivating to your child than celebrating and rewarding them for their achievements. Take them to their favourite entertainment park, buy them their favourite toy or treat them to their heart’s content. Celebrate all those achievements of your child, no matter how big or small they are. Everyone likes to be recognised. Don’t you want to be recognised when you achieved something in your workplace? It is all human.
7-Take him on learning and knowledge tours and trips
Supplement their learning. Go on a trip that provides your kid with a lot of learning on the field. It can be anywhere like a museum or a science centre. It may even be taking a trip to one of the places where he can enjoy the beauty of nature or learn about the achievements of famous personalities. These type of trips and tours are better if they connect with the interests of your child. This will do a lot in motivating your child.
The success to effectively motivate is to be positive with your dealings. If you lose faith in yourself, you can never successfully motivate someone else. When it comes to your children, it is of a more sensitive thing. Keep the above points in your mind and you will see your child become motivated to perform well academically and in extra-curricular activities. The crux is – be positive no matter what, to motivate others around you!
Being parents to school-goers can be a daunting task. With some pre-conceived notions and misconceptions we believe in, we make learning difficult for our kids. Here are some misconceptions we have listed out for all the parents to have a look at and introspect – if we are helping our kids to grow or otherwise.
1- Starting Education Early Hampers Life-Long Learning
Although there is a common thought among the parents & educationists across the nations that starting formal schooling at early age hampers life-long learning for the kids. But when we talk of education and learning, it isn’t only about formal schooling. Studies by various researchers in the field have proved that intelligence & learning abilities can be built upon by following right teaching techniques from very early age, as low as 9 months to 1 year. According to studies by Luby et al in 2013, IQ scores of children can be enhanced by instructing them in logic and critical thinking, also brain-shrinking stress in children can be protected by using sensitive and responsive techniques in parenting. Did you know, human brain develop fastest between birth and age 5 than any other time period during the entire lifespan? This is the time when the brain makes new connections and begins to maximize efficiency to keep or eliminate newly created connections. It is actually critical during this time that parents conduct educational exercises and provide continuous and repeated positive reinforcements that would help child’s brain to develop and accommodate new learning for the lifetime.
2- Educating the Child is School’s Job
As described in the previous paragraph, education or learning is a never-ending process that starts at a very early stage in our lives. Believing entirely in or relying just on formal schooling for education is the biggest misconception a parent can have. For the continuous and holistic growth of the children, the education should not start and stop within the school boundaries. In fact, children should be encouraged to learn from everyday activities. Practicing and developing social skills can be achieved by interacting with others; exposing kids to rich languages increases their vocabulary and reading abilities dramatically and we all know this can’t be achieved only by directed academic programs followed by formal schooling. It is essential for parents to encourage their children to learn through playing, hands-on activities, and exploration. This not only helps them in storing new information but also co-relate it with existing knowledge and thus develop cognitive abilities far better than gained just by relying on academic curriculum.
3- Being Excellent in Academics Bring Career Success
When we talk of teenagers, the academic pressure is not the only pressure they have to deal with. With their bodies undergoing physical & hormonal changes, they usually have to bear with constant nagging from parents about concentrating solely on academics. And this is mostly because of, one of the misconceptions that parents believe in–focusing only on and putting in efforts for academics would help their teenagers to achieve career success. However, educators, psychologists, psychiatrists and academicians have time and again proved to the world that being good solely in academics will do no good to a child. However, being average in academics and developing life skills through sports, music and other co-curricular activities help a child in shaping his/her career better. In today’s world, there is no dearth of career options and being successful in the career of one’s choice isn’t solely decided by the knowledge one gains by theories taught in school, but by the passion for excelling in same. We can see a number of examples worldwide who have proved this misconception wrong outrightly – Be it Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elton John or A.R. Rahman to name a few.
4- Comparing Students With Peers Motivate Them
I wouldn’t say this one is a complete misconception, however, it is a lack of ability to judge ‘how much is too much’ at parent’s end which makes it alarming for a child. Parents indulge themselves into pressurizing their kids for doing great in academics based on the expectations set by others in the class/neighbor. However, it is very important to understand that every kid is different and the performance in academics is directly proportional to efforts put on the student’s shortcomings rather than comparing him/her with other high-performers in the class. Comparing your kids constantly with others will only result in increased peer pressure, which they already have to deal with. Comparing your kids with others occasionally might help in motivating them at times but surely hampers their will to do more and achieve when this comparison becomes habitual.
5- Having a Lots of Friends Distract
The thought that friends always distract students from studies is one of the biggest misconception parents have. It is due to this thought that parents try to restrict the ‘friends time’ to a minimum in a day’s schedule for the school-goers. However, this is a well-studied fact that learning is enhanced when done with peers. Friends help in learning as they can relate to materials with shared experiences, peers are familiar with each other’s ability to grasp concepts, and friends can provide each other with a comfort level that can help overcome anxieties, hindrances, and discouragements. Not only the academic growth of your child is dependent on the kind of and no. of friends one has, but the ability to learn life skills is increased multi-folds with friends around. Go ahead and ease-up that strict rule for your little ones now.
Credits – google Images.