Building the motivation of your child to study
One of the most common complaints to be heard by not just the students but teachers and parents alike stems from a lack of effort and motivation being sustained by the students towards their studies. While this challenge is applicable uniformly to almost all spheres of functioning, the emphasis is largely placed on the schooling (and college) years for students. And despite this being such a prevalent challenge, we are often at a loss at figuring out ways to boost the students’ motivation levels. However, the following are some of the points which could be kept in mind to help deal with low levels of motivation:
1. Avoid nagging. In encouraging your child to work hard, it is important to remember not to pressurize the child. As it is, there is sufficient pressure coming from the peers, schools and teachers. As parents, it is your role to help the children assume responsibility for their own performance, and they should recognize you as a support system. However, it is important to differentiate between motivating and pressurizing your child, so remember to maintain a balance!
2. Smart goal setting. As simple as it sounds, setting goals is a prerequisite for increasing or sustaining one’s motivation towards any task. Therefore, encourage the child put down goals, ensuring that they are specific and concrete, and yet realistic in nature, so that they are time bound and achievable.
3. Remind the child of the bigger picture. It is impossible to try and boost your child’s motivation without reminding him or her of what exactly he or she is working towards. There is a larger picture towards which efforts need to be directed, and help the child keep reminding him or herself of the same (not in the form of your nagging), not to lose sight of the actual goal.
4. Form an effective reward system. It is an inescapable fact that the consequences which are expected to follow any particular action do serve as a driving force. Therefore, identifying and applying appropriate reinforcers is essential to help regulate your child’s motivation levels, specifically involving the child in the process of deciding such rewards.
5. Be creative. Often, breaking monotony is a key to ensure sustained motivation. Therefore, do not hesitate to allow your child to think out of the box and be creative in his or her ideas to study. Novelty in itself boosts motivation and further helps in boosting the retention levels as well.
6. Take it one step at a time. Instead of thinking about the insurmountable amount of work that is required, break it down into simpler and smaller components as much as possible. This will also help reduce the anxiety and stress levels for your child.
7. Increase accountability. A common tactic that is often helpful for students is to increase their accountability, be it to parents, tutors or even friends. When you know you are answerable to report your progress to someone, you would feel a greater motivation to complete the given task at hand. Further, this accountability should not induce dependence, and efforts should be made to shift such answerability to your own self. Encourage the child to take self-tests and be true when evaluating their own time spent productively.