Parents are always looking for a better way to assist with the education of their children. To motivate children, parents must first be motivated to help their children learn. The strategies provided in this article are a good beginning to ensure that children successfully navigate the education system.
1. Reading– Parents should start reading to their children at a very early age. Reading should be encouraged at all times. Children should have a library card and visit book stores on a regular schedule. Parents can have children memorize a poem or a small speech to help keep their minds sharp and ready for reading.
2. Math-Children should be taught at a young age that math is a very important subject. Parents should verbally ask math questions (mental math) with their children whenever possible. Questions can be addition, subtraction, or multiple computations. Answers should be also verbal. Start with small math problems. Children should also be allowed to participate in real-life math problems such as: buying articles or food at a store on their own, weighing fruits and vegetables at the market, and measuring things in the kitchen.
3. Homework– A homework schedule should be developed for children, including what time to do homework each day, how much time should be dedicated to homework each day, and were in the house to do homework. Also, if the school doesn’t provide a homework assignment on any given day the parent should develop homework assignments. Reading is always appropriate for homework.
4. Home Organization– Parents should organize their homes for success by creating a special room with educational tools available such as a computer, printer, books, pens, paper, dictionary, newspapers, and magazines. Besides, the house should have bookshelves throughout the house with lots of books. The house should also be organized with educational posters, pictures, certificates, and awards in the appropriate rooms.
5. Parental Involvement-Parents should be involved with their children’s activities throughout their educational careers. Attending parent-teacher conferences, talking to children about their school work, checking school assignments with them, enrolling them into educational programs after school, and during summer months, reading to and with them and providing lots of encouragement is a must for all parents.
6. Career Exposure -Whenever possible, children should be exposed to people working in different jobs. For example, having children talk with doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals about what they do on their jobs is a good beginning. Encourage children to read about various careers. Shadowing friends on their jobs is another excellent way to help children focus their minds and direct their attention to thinking about their future.
7. Allowance– Parents should give children an allowance on a weekly or biweekly schedule if children complete all home responsibilities. Responsibilities should include doing homework every day, studying, completing all assignments at school, and reading regularly. Parents should also have other home responsibilities for their children.
8. Time Management– Parents should work with their children to develop a schedule for success. The schedule should include everything from what time to get up in the morning, to what time to go to bed, to what time to eat, what time to do homework, what time to go to practice, what time to do chores around the house and the schedule should be written down. Giving children some kind of planner with a big calendar would help them write it down and help them become better organized.
9. Encouragement– When children earn good grades, parents should give them positive strokes and explain to them how important it is to keep good grades. Also, when students bring home their report cards, they could be placed on the refrigerator door so the entire family can see the accomplishments and make additional encouraging statements. This can also be done with tests and quizzes. Praise your children whenever they do well on any assignment at school and display the finished assignment throughout the house.
10. Educational Trips– Educational trips to museums, zoos, and plays are a good way to expose children to cultural activities. Parents should spend time with children discussing what was observed on trips. Family trips out of town could be scheduled for popular museums to give children deeper insights.
11. Musical Instrument– All children should learn how to play a musical instrument. Learning to play the piano is very popular, but learning to play any instrument can help children improve their concentration, self-esteem, and confidence. It can also advance student achievement by improving dexterity in hands, improve reading skills, reinforcing memorization skills, and developing better social skills through interaction with others.
12. Educational Programs-Enroll children into educational programs after school and during the summer months. Programs should have some educational value as well as being interesting to the participant. Children will improve their social skills and student achievement at the same time.
13. Join Church-Attending church and Sunday school can help improve a student achievement level by studying the Bible, giving speeches, learning how to be dedicated, learning good values, having faith, and learning how to respect life, etc.:
14. Self Esteem– Develop positive self-esteem by having children begin the day brushing their teeth and looking in the mirror to make positive statements about themselves, their day, or their dreams. He/she could make positive statements such as I am an outstanding student, or I am the best athlete on the team, or I will earn an A on my test. Also, has he/she to counteract any negative statements with positive statements.
15. Reward– Rewards for children can be a motivator for success. When children are successful at school, parents should provide small rewards of appreciation. Parents could cook their child’s favorite meal, take them out to a restaurant, allow them to stay up later, or play video games a little longer. Parents should decide what they believe is appropriate. Don’t overdo it.
16. Be an Example– Parents should demonstrate how education is important in their home by reading the newspaper or books around their children. Taking children with them when they go to purchase books at the book store is a good example. Parents displaying their degrees or awards in their homes is important to the family.
17. Demonstrate Love– Love should always be a part of the decisions that parents make concerning their children. Parents should always understand that improving their child’s education is very important, but love is what will help children to accomplish their goals. Hugging children to show appreciation and love is important.
18. Goals-The setting of goals should start at an early age. Parents should start asking children what their interests in life are at a young age. The favorite question of some parents is: what do you want to do when you grow up? Parents can influence children’s goals by talking to them about what their best subjects. Have children to develop short term goals, such as I will earn two A’s on my next report card. With that goal have them write a plan on how they will reach that goal. The same thing can be done with long term goals. Celebrate when children reach goals.
19. Extra-Curricular Activities– Being a part of activities and sports outside of the regular school day is a good way to keep children sharp and alert for their academic workload. Children should be a part of some activity that keeps their interest and keeps them motivated. They should also understand that academics are first and if their grades are not at a high level, all activities will stop.
20. High Expectations – If children know from day one that their parents expect good grades in school, chances are their grades will be good. Parents should always tell children what they expect, but be realistic when making these expectations. The expectations should be attainable and a bit above what the child thinks of himself or herself, and through encouragement and consistency, great things can happen! When expectations are developed, support to make the expected outcome should also be presented. For example; If parents expect the child to learn how to play the piano in six months, they must provide a piano teacher, piano, and a time to practice the piano.
Parents probably have the greatest influence on the success or failure of their children. Parents who get involved and seek positive strategies are ensuring a successful life for their family. The strategies listed above are a sample of the many ways parents can utilize to motivate their children for success at school and in life.