Children are naturally curious, so why then are some parents faced with the challenge of motivating their child to read or play or pick up a new skill?
You sent your child for swimming lessons. She hated it. Ballet lessons? Hated it. Creative Writing? Hated it. Piano lessons? Hated it.
As parents, we feel obliged to give our child the best opportunity money can buy but sometimes that enthusiasm can be a tad overwhelming for the child. When children feel like they are forced to play against their will, they tend to pull away in a silent struggle of power.
One other reason for your child’s apparent lack of motivation could be due to his personality. A child who is innately shy takes longer to adapt to activities that require him to interact with other children. Parents may interpret their child’s non-reaction during this lag time as general disinterest.
There are 4 factors to consider when creating the most conducive learning environment.
Adopt a Growth Mindset
Children at play give up quickly if they can’t seem to achieve what they want or if the objective seems out of reach. They lose their confidence and stop trying altogether. Parents can help children realize that if they were unsuccessful once, it doesn’t mean that they will always be unsuccessful. Help your child approach the challenge in another manner.
Not every child can be spontaneous at play. Some children need to have the basic tools to embark on their journey. Books are the best starting point for children to acquire knowledge: Read stories related to the activity to prepare them for what lies ahead. Books like The Deep End
by Rebecca Patterson or Froggy Learns to Swim
by Jonathan London are good reads before sending your child for his first swimming lesson.
To prepare your child to attempt a new activity, first help him connect the new task to previous positive experiences. Show how it relates to their world. For example: “Remember you enjoyed dancing to Wheels on the Bus? Mommy thinks you might also enjoy ballet. Would you like to give it a try?”
Giving children some freedom in crafting their learning can go a very long way. When customers sign up for my creative writing course, I usually request to speak with their children before confirming the enrollment. During this informal chitchat session, I will try to get a sense of the child’s interest in the class and highlight the activities that he would be going through. The child stamps his thumbprint on the registration form if he agrees to embark on the journey.
I hope these four aspects will help provide a starting point for your child to find his motivation. As always, please leave us a comment or get in touch with us if these tips work for you!
Written by Eugene Tay, founder of Brain & Butter and Monsters Under the Bed.
When Eugene was a young boy, he wanted to be an astronaut. When that didn't take off, he decided that he was going to be like Indiana Jones and explore the world as an archaeologist. Eventually, he figured out how he can do both. That's when he became a writer.
Co-Written by Grace Chai, mother of a newborn baby boy.
Grace is a new mom and currently undergoing intensive On-The-Job Training for her new role. Between pumping milk, changing diapers and taking selfies with her baby, Grace manages stress by writing about her motherhood experience for ParentTown.
[Note: The advice listed in this article is meant for the average child and not children with special needs.]