3 tips to motivate your children to learn
Every child is born curious about the world, but somewhere along the way, too many kids tend to lose the active thirst for knowledge we know could help propel them forward in life. Some of the reasons might be hormones and external influences that send the message that learning isn't "cool". For some kids, the way formal education is structured may be discouraging and holding them back.
But the bottom line is that there are steps you can take to inspire your kids to thirst for knowledge in and outside of the classroom. And make no mistake, you'll be doing them a huge favor.
1. Use the principles of gamification
Kids love games, all the more so as computer games become more complex and engaging. In fact, a lot of parents are probably trying to pry their kids away from games so they can learn. That could even be the reason you're reading this right now. But slow down... there is a lot that kids can learn from games and gamification.
Educational games can, of course, educate your kids directly, perhaps even more effectively than lectures and textbooks. Games engage more of a child's senses than simply reading or listening, often holding their attention far longer. That gives gaming massive potential for educating your kids in a meaningful way - it all depends on what games they play. Even routine schoolwork can be turned into a creative game to get your kids motivated.
2. Condition "fun" activities on completing "boring" ones
For some kids, however, in certain circumstances and at certain ages, games don't really cut it, especially if they're too simple. Children can be acutely aware of a game as a veiled attempt at getting them to conform and learn. They would rather play exciting games purely for their entertainment value.
The good news is that these particularly aware children are usually easy to reason with honestly. Tell them they can play games or do whatever else they should choose once they've completed more "boring" tasks that need to be done like homework or reading a chapter in a book. Just like insisting they eat their vegetables before dessert, even smartphone apps like ours, Dynamo, can condition their free time on their devices on a moment of educational value.
3. Highlight your children's strengths
Yes, some subjects simply have to be learned. Many children struggle with math, others with history or writing; maybe they're demotivated in these areas because they just don't come easy, but they have to tackle them anyway. However, being discouraged in one or two difficult subjects shouldn't be considered a valid reason for your children to give up on learning altogether.
That's why, even as you help them through the subject they struggle with, it's equally important to take whatever time is left to expand on the topics that they are interested in and enjoy. Every little bit counts and your children's interests may change over time, but encouraging them to pursue topics they are good at and enjoy is a form of positive reinforcement and a win for the impulse to learn.
You'll need a mixed bag of tools to keep your kids motivated, from using a bit of discipline to letting them tell you what keeps them interested and using that however you can. The important thing is not to give up. Set an example yourself by keeping your own mind fresh and excited to learn. Read that book you've always wanted to - watch a good documentary every once in a while instead of a movie. If your children can see the value that learning brings to a person's life with their own eyes, they'll hardly be able to ignore it.