"How to Get Your Child Motivated to Study" is a great question. As a father of four (two are now in college and two are in high and middle school), I've been blessed with kids who want to learn.
The key, in my opinion, is that the parents need to be excited about education themselves. That is, when the child sees the parent reading a book or solving a problem or learning something new -- and when the parent demonstrates a genuine enthusiasm for such learning -- then the child picks up on that enthusiasm.
You can't tell a child that he or she needs to study simply to get good grades. That's not enough of a motivation. The child needs to see that you are imbued with a love for education, a lifelong quest for learning.
For example, a few years ago I decided I wanted to learn Chinese. I began studying it, and soon my kids became interested in the Chinese language as well. My kids see me reading books, writing books and stories, trying to learn to play new songs on the piano, etc.
As an aside, I should mention that the television set in our house is OFF unless we are sitting down together to watch something educational.
Short answer to me is that only the child can motivate themself to study. We can only facilitate. I believe that if you can identify the internal motivator your child naturally possesses, then you can help them to draw a connection between schoolwork and that motivator.
Example 1: My son is driven by success. He gets good grades, he comes home and brags to us, and we make over him like he is a rock star. Cycle repeats itself.
Example 2: My daughter is always seeking undivided attention (probably because she is third out of four children). She could really care less about what her grades are. I try as often as possible to sit at the table next to her with whatever paper or computer work I have, and we "do homework" together.
I have not had any success with motivating my children with removal of priveleges, such as recess or cell phones. The only exceptions were when I had to remove something (such as TV) that created a distraction during study-time.
I think your question is one of those million dollar questions parents ask everyday. I hear it from client's parents weekly. I think the method of instilling motivation in the child really depends on the child him/herself and their personality. I have some kids that respond well to someone sitting with them and encouraging them as they do their homework and being there to help them if they have problems; I have others who need to be alone to concentrate and stay motivated.
Some younger kids respond well to reward systems. Reward systems can be as simple as a chart with giving the kid a star for each day they complete their homework/reading on time. And then, at the end of the week they get a small reward like an ice cream, toy from the dollar store or something special they do not have access to on a daily basis. I agree with both of the other posters with having the television off. Have the most minimal number of distractions as possible.
For older children I've found it's a little harder to motivate them. If you push them too much they go the opposite direction and don't study at all; if you don't encourage them then they think the work isn't important and that you don't care about their success. You really have to gauge the child on an individual level to determine how to motivate them effectively. Find something the child is interested in and use that somehow to motivate them. For example, if they enjoy baseball games or hockey games, work with them on developing a reward involving one of the local games for whatever goal you set together. You could set daily goals, weekly goals, per test goals, or quarter goals. The possibilities are infinite when it comes to what you can develop together with your child to instill motivation in them.
For teens I think I'd talk with them about what their plans are after they get out of school. Discuss with them how important having a decent grade point average is if they want to do anything that involves college (or furthering their education some other way). Remember to leave the choice up to the teen so they feel they are in control. This will empower them and will increase their chances of actually studying.
Tough one, our oldest son hated school and no matter what we tried, we could not get him to do his school work. We ended-up, pulling him out in his junior year and he took his GED and got a job. Today, he is as smart as can be, has a great job as a head foreman for a commercial general contracting company. Our daughters son hated school, but he loves golf. In order for him to play on the golf team, he has to keep up his grades. He is going to college. So, after all this, sometimes you just can't force someone to do something, they need a good incentive to want to do it. Keep your child as active as you can in activities and I always believed in, do not take away something that is good for your child as a consequence.
You share with them the importance of education. You reward them for getting good grades.
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