Let’s not deny it – school can be boring. Unlike the baby and toddler stages which are mostly fun and games, primary school represents a major turning point in a kid’s life. Here, they learn how to take on more responsibilities and complete tasks, both in school and at home.
Therefore, it’s not surprising to hear an exasperated sigh or even a few tears coming from your kid when it comes to having to study or complete assignments. Unless, of course, your kid is returning home from school crying and afraid to go to school each day – which may be a sign of deeper trouble.
However, the chances are that he is behaving this way due to a lack of motivation. The good news is that learning does not just stop at the classroom. If you notice your kid becoming unwilling to complete academic work or is dragging his feet to study, don’t fret. In this blog, we’ll share some tips on how you can motivate your kid to study and enjoy the learning journey.
What Causes Lack of Motivation?
It’s important to identify the root cause or causes behind the lack of motivation in your kid. Doing so allows you to develop more effective methods in resolving this issue and help bring you both a little closer. There are a few possible reasons why your kid may be feeling unmotivated towards studying:
1. Unmet expectations
Unlike preschool, primary school can feel foreign and unfriendly. Back when your kid was in kindergarten, even trips to the bathrooms didn't go unaccompanied. As he moves on to primary school, the lack of constant attention and supervision may become too overwhelming. Schoolwork can also seem challenging.
In an environment where performance is constantly graded, this may lead to your child feeling as if he is unable to meet expectations. This may result in a decrease in confidence and interest in the learning process.
Growing up can be filled with all sorts of distractions. From discovering new gadgets, to making new friends, to picking up new hobbies, the life of a primary schooler is a busy one. Asking him to sit down and focus on a teacher droning on and on about organisms and fractions may be the least of a pre-teen’s priorities.
Distractions are sometimes fascinating, and maybe exciting – and definitely rewarding. With two-thirds of children aged seven to nine in Singapore using smartphones everyday, the opportunities for distraction is even higher. In fact, research has also shown that simply being in the presence of our smartphones reduces cognitive capacity.
3. Lack of validation
Where distractions are rewards that can cause a dip in motivation, the same goes for the lack of validation. Like children, we all want to be praised for our efforts even if it doesn’t yield good results. Children who are constantly criticised and not encouraged may develop a negative attitude towards studying in general.
4. It’s just not fun
Of course, sometimes it can just be that studying is dull and routine. Doing the same thing each day without enjoyment will inevitably result in unmotivated students.
Ways to Motivate Your Kid
There are several things you can do to motivate your kid to study better:
1. Encourage reading
Garrison Kiellor once said that, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.” Reading is indeed one of the keys to life’s success, and children who read are more likely to enjoy studying.
You can motivate your kid to read by creating a reading corner at home. Get a wardrobe that is big enough to fit not just books but also other knick knacks that he can use to keep his favourite knick knacks. By positioning reading materials near things he’ll enjoy, the chances of him falling in love with reading is higher.
2. Encourage open communication
Your child may be feeling unmotivated because something happened in school that is still unresolved. Or perhaps he is struggling with a particular subject. The thing is, without open communication, you would not be able to find out if your child is struggling or not. Set a time to have a deep conversation after school and work each day. It can be a private session just between the both of you right before bed, or a casual discussion over dinner. The important thing is to talk to each other and praise him if he has done well.
3. Introduce different styles of learning
Is reading off the textbook not working? Perhaps your kid is a visual learner and needs to watch a “how to” video. Or maybe he has been studying in the living room with the television on. At times like this, it would be good to switch up the study habits. The first thing to do is to eradicate any distractions. You can consider a high loft bed which motivates your kid to study comfortably without disturbance, such as the Manis-h Kids' High Loft Bed which can be configured to your kid’s needs. Then, make learning fun with engaging processes each time, such as doing an online quiz instead of a workbook.
4. Focus on learning, not results
Kids are not born students, and individual personalities play a part. Focusing on results creates the impression that his struggles do not matter. Some kids will use this to motivate them, but others end up withdrawing and falling behind. Focus on enhancing the learning journey by creating more teachable moments in daily life. For example, if your kid is weak in multiplication, you can get him to make cupcakes to sell in packs of three - and he keeps the earnings! Making learning fun also reduces the chances of distraction and instills confidence in children.
Or read here to get ideas on pretend play you can do with your kid.
Motivate Your Kid By Staying Organised
One of the easiest ways to do all the things above is to stay organised. Having a proper schedule allows your kid to know what to expect, and keeping school materials neatly organised will also help him feel less overwhelmed and in control.
A cosy study area will introduce some organisation back to your kid’s life. Get a sturdy study table like the Manis-h Kids Adjustable Desk or the Manis-h Kids Practical Study Desk which can be incorporated with a side table to keep supplies. Both of these desks are configurable with other Manis-h products such as this small chest of drawers.
Want to help your child get organised and stay motivated? Palette Box offers high quality kids’ furniture which are stable and designed to help children study, read, sleep and more. Visit our showroom to check them out now.