With the Coronavirus still going around, many schools have adapted to online or hybrid learning during the first semester of the school year. We are now at the beginning of the new year semester, and many parents have noticed it becoming harder for them to get their students to focus and feel motivated to do school work. As a result, students' grades are slipping and raising concerns for parents worried about their children's education. Even in New York state, parents have confronted government officials demanding they reopen schools immediately. These complaints raise even more concerns because officials deem this to be too unsafe for all parties involved. So, parents are frustrated and have nowhere to turn. To help curb some of the stress you may feel during this time, we've come up with 10 simple ways to get children motivated for their online schooling.
Distant learning has become the norm for education due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Learning online is not a new concept, but it still comes with its own struggles. To this date, many children are still learning how to navigate the school's online system properly and are attending hybrid classes throughout the week. This notion is one of the more critical things to understand as parents. Organizational hurdles make students feel less connected to the material and lead to the lack of motivation kids need to do better. Make sure to take the time to talk with your child daily about how online school is going for them. Your active participation in their studies will motivate them to open up about what is going on and reveal what they like or dislike about the system. Many kids are learning how to adapt to the social distance rules that include not being able to be around peers and other family members physically. The worst part is they cannot be around their friends. A way to motivate your child for distance learning is allowing them to video chat or use other ways to communicate with friends and family. Despite what your instincts may tell you, having things like a chat program in place helps to give children an outlet to purge their negativity. It boosts morale and leads to higher productivity overall. Messenger Kids is a perfect app for younger children to allow them to communicate safely on the internet with one another. Facebook runs the Messenger Kids app, allowing kids to communicate with one another but with the parents who are entirely in control of who the child talks to on the app. You can also plan on discussing your child's progress with their teacher(s) to get the sense of how to maintain their motivation rolling in a distant classroom setting. Ask your child's teacher a set of the following questions to gain the knowledge and experience on how the child is doing in their class:
Is my child paying attention during lectures?Are they turning in assignments on time?Is my child reading and following all of the instructions given to them for their work?
These are just some of the questions you can ask your child's teacher to help make sure you're getting a sense of whether or not your child fully understands their work. Check out more of the following tips below to increase your child's motivation for school!
Another way to keep kids motivated to learn for online school is to maintain their routine as they usually would. Writing out their daily schedule will help keep your child motivated by visualizing what they are supposed to be doing for the day. Children are similar to adults most of the time; they want to know how the day will play out. A colorful chart (similar to a chore chart) is a great way to help children visualize what school expects of them for the day and helps them learn. Add gold stars or prizes when your child completes a task successfully to motivate them to do it again, if not better. For example, your child has just finished breakfast and is starting up the computer to attend class. You could assign two stars because they have completed their breakfast and are beginning their study. Once they have completed assignments or courses, give them a gold star, etc. Small incentives will encourage elementary children to do their tasks and, in return, reward them with something they like (i.e., gold stars, stickers, etc.). Any effort made should come with rewards; this will most likely get them to try again if they make a mistake. Stickers are more effective on younger children, but a points system with prizes exchanged for points helps motivate older students.
Learning activities are a great way to motivate children both in and out of school. Try things like playing a learning game, reading to one another, or exploring in the backyard. Motivate your child by playing games with them that encourages them to learn. For example, matching word games or even games like Hangman helps children read and recognize words automatically. Schedule some time where everyone reads a book and discusses what the material was about or what they like/disliked about the material. It helps if you also have the same book to read. Encouraging reading outside of class may develop healthy habits for your kids and build your child's reading comprehension skills and confidence.
For math, try games like Math Bingo. It's similar to regular bingo, but instead of numbers, you put addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problems on the bingo card. Then you would call out a number that is an answer to one of the problems on the card and have your child place their bingo marker on the corresponding problem. If you are looking to add more science activities, then look no further than your backyard! From learning about insects to charting the weather, there are all kinds of learning activities to discover in the backyard. You can go on a scavenger hunt to see how many different insects you find and chart. These are just some of the ideas you can use to teach your children and give them that motivational boost to get through this pandemic and learn vital skills.
Focus on your child's strengths when introducing new topics or lessons. It's always better to approach a challenging situation from a place of strength and is super important in building their self-esteem. Building self-esteem makes your child more resilient. Resilience is vital to help your child with learning how to bounce back from constructive criticism. Without it, your child might lack the motivation to continue with projects when receiving unpleasant or unexpected feedback. Let's face it, no one is perfect at everything, and we can't expect children to be either. We can only give them the tools to discover and better hone in on their abilities. For more creative kids, try to add fun crafts that incorporate lessons they need to learn. Kinesthetic learners work best with these type of lessons since it involves a hands-on approach. For a visual learner, provide lessons that are not only visually appealing but allow them to use colors, graphs, or bold words to absorb the information into their mind. Auditory learners process lessons better when they use repetition associated with sounds or music. Singing songs or adding music may drive home the topic for these learners. There are many ways to motivate different types of learners. Communicate with your child's teachers to see how they adapt their approach to your child's specific needs.
Encourage your child's opinion by allowing them to express their ideas openly without undermining them. For instance, once or twice a week will enable them to choose a decision you present to them. This choice can be as simple as choosing a side item for dinner. Of course, there are circumstances where you might not be able to go through with the idea. For example, a small child might say they want candy as a side with their dinner, but you deny their request for obvious reasons. Still, giving them a choice between having carrots and broccoli might be a better idea. To incorporate this idea into schoolwork motivation, try giving them the option (if possible) what subject they want to focus on first. Or discuss what they learned and let them express their opinion on how they felt or think about their lesson. Doing so allows you to check their understanding, and they develop the social skills they need.
If your child is continuously misplacing homework assignments, encourage them to set up designated areas for every subject's homework. If they have all of their projects in one binder or notebook, get them divider tabs or binder meant to hold multiple subjects in one. The Five Star binders come with built-in dividers that separate subjects and homework automatically. These binders also provide slip-proof protection for loose papers to ensure they stay in place. To organize your child's workspace at home, divide each subject into piles, and once the assignment is complete, paper clip it all together. It's another way to make sure their homework stays safely tucked away and ready for the next school day. Check with your child's teacher to see how good they are doing about turning in assignments. They could be using the excuse that they lost their homework and are simply not putting in the effort to do it.
If you have a "lazy" student, consider the following suggestions to motivate them to take the initiative. First, try to understand why they are uninterested in their school work. Usually, students are labeled as "lazy" when they do not understand the work or if the content does not offer them a challenge. Students may become frustrated and feel emotions like embarrassment or shame if they need to ask for help. The act of asking for help can spearhead a lack of motivation and effort on their part. Recall back to encouraging your child daily to open up about their life. If they feel like their opinions don't matter, they'll be less likely to voice their concerns over how challenging their schoolwork is. Cultivating good communication is key to avoiding lazy behavior. It's good to offer them support regardless of the progress made by providing positive feedback. Sometimes a child's venting may seem extreme, but avoid arguing with them if you can. They may feel they have no control over their performance outcomes at school and desire to gain some elsewhere. If your child feels this way, they may resort to pushing your buttons.
Understand their frustration, help them cope with it, and develop strategies to give them more of an advantage. If your child is still not showing progress in their grades or schoolwork, the next step is to take away or limit activities they enjoy doing. Video games, curfew, television, phone, etc., are all items that count as rewards. Once their grades improve, they can have an hour of recreational activities during the school week. Then if they continue to improve, add another or take something away if they do not. Avoid focusing too much on punishments by celebrating their small victories and all efforts they continue to make. You want to show them that you value their actions, and are willing to work with them, positively motivating them to keep trying.
Reach out to other family members to help motivate your child by praising their efforts. When children hear praise from others for their accomplishments, it boosts their confidence. Positive feedback loops from the whole family build motivational momentum, allowing them to focus more on grades and continue pursuing their goals. Get their grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or a family friend involved; have them comment on how well your child is doing in school. The important thing you want them to focus on is acknowledging your child's progress regardless of how small it may be. Have them say something similar to, "Wow! I am so proud of you for moving that D up to C! Keep focusing on your schoolwork, and you'll have an A in no time!" When you show them other people value the efforts they've made, they will start to feel good about themselves and continue setting and achieving their goals.
I don't have to tell you that parenting is hard work, and sometimes setting an example for children isn't as easy as others make it out to be. A blog post with tips certainly won't make you a better parent, after all. But this is where behaviors begin. Children learn by watching their parents process difficult or stressful situations. If you are easily frustrated and react harshly, then most likely, so will your children. If you notice this within yourself, set some personal goals to improve your own behavior. Your children mimic you.
Even though every person is different in how they process negative situations, we must cultivate positive stress-relief outlets for ourselves and our children. You see, adults need structure just as much as children do to avoid stressing over everyday occurrences. Develop a plan that motivates you to do the things you need to do while your child is learning online. Show them that you can stay on task, and they'll follow suit. Make your home into a well-oiled machine. Use this as an opportunity to let them know that adults are always learning new things; that learning never entirely goes away as we become adults. We may know and understand this, but children may not, so we must provide them a good example.
Taking a break from working on homework might be a good idea to get you and your child's mind back on the right track. Take a walk, play a game, or even redecorate your child's space. Do any task that takes the mind away from stress, just long enough to allow your mind to process it fully. Go for a walk around the neighborhood, but be mindful of your state's social distance guidelines and wear masks. Get some exercise, clear your mind, breathe in some fresh air, and get some sunshine. It works well for stress-relief.
Everyone has their preferred ways to escape. Nurture those activities within reason. For example, consider playing video games for an hour as a way to digest mentally. Do this with your child, so you can bond with them while regulating their playtime.
You can help your child develop their organizational skills by encouraging them to set up and organize their workspace. We tend to associate specific activities with a particular space we use. Have you ever noticed that it is much easier to get work done while at your designated office space than when sitting on your couch?
Why is that?
You see, we attribute working with the office chair, the desk, the cup of pens, and that stack of papers with the coffee stain on the top. On the other hand, sitting on your couch brings a more relaxed vibe with it, doesn't it?
So let's create our workspaces at home without spending a ton of money on new furniture pieces. Find a comfortable seat that your child can sit in for a lengthy period and have them choose a Miracle Sofa chair cover for it. If you have a younger child, help them put it on their chair, and tell them that they've now transformed it into their special learning chair. For teens and young adults, tell them that they'll have an easier time focusing on their work by intentionally creating a workspace.
MiracleSofa chair covers are super easy to put on and remove and come in tons of different colors and design options. What's more, you'll extend the life of your furniture by having a cover installed. It's a win-win!
Motivating children to pay attention to online school is not an easy feat. There are so many distractions and comforts at home that many students struggle with right now. It can be exhausting as a parent to motivate themselves, let alone make their children eager to learn. In the end, we all need support from other people to keep us motivated in our everyday lives, whether we are students or not. We hope that these tips help you and your students during these crazy times.