Getting kids to want to learn at home or in the classroom can be challenging. For some kids, they just LOVE to learn, and EVERYTHING is a learning experience. For other kids teaching is TOUGH. Finding ways to motivate them can some days seem impossible. So, how can we get them moving?
To start, you are not doing anything wrong. The bottom line is that a child’s individual personality plays a big part in their willingness to learn. Adding to the difficulty is that young children have short attention spans with many things to distract them. So, catching and KEEPING their attention may some days seem like catching butterflies! Fun but frustrating!
So, for those kids finding WHAT motivates them is key. The topic can make a difference, but so can the LOCATION. Extending learning outside the walls of the classroom can help motivate them to see learning all around them. You are important to help them learn the importance of lifelong learning.
4 Simple Strategies to Motivate
- Reading, Reading Everywhere: Reading is the foundation of lifelong learning so Fill their life with reading opportunities. Show them that everyday life includes books, signs, billboards, texts, emails etc. Point out to them that they are readers and learners whenever they look around them.
- Make Learning Easy: Help kids to read or learn by making it EASIER so they will build confidence. Think of it this way. When you go on a beach vacation, do you bring a textbook or an enjoyable book? Most of us bring an easy “beach read”. (no offense to my textbook blog readers). Let children pick their own books or things to learn by making it EASY. When they get frustrated, go back to EASIER. And when they’re “just not into it”, try another time or another day. Even when reading a “beach read”, you sometimes need a break to apply more suntan lotion or to jump into the water. Learning can occur in 30 seconds.
- Sneak in Learning: Learning can be hidden as well. What is the result when you secretly add chopped vegetables to your “anti-vegetable” child’s dinner? If they clean their plates, they’ve eaten their vegetables. If they don’t, you hide them better next time! The key to success is that they didn’t know about your secret ingredients. Not everything has to be talked about and discussed. IF your “hidden veggie attack” accomplished a balanced meal without the fuss, “mission accomplished”. Somewhere in the future, the “visible” vegetables may be welcomed by your young child or perhaps your adult children.
- Make Learning Fun: Learning can be hidden as well. Look for fun opportunities for learning to keep kids motivated to learn. Who doesn’t like a card game of “War”? So much more fun that a workbook showing how some numbers are greater than others. When you want to teach kids something, think how can I make this fun? Yes, it may take more time, but the extra time solidifies the learning and it can be fun for both you and your child.
Although it may seem like a battle to get your child motivated to learn, a different approach may make the difference. Once you find some strategies that work, it’s time to sit back and watch your child discover the joy of learning. Enjoy the journey!