Focus on what your child is capable of instead of what other kids their age are doing

Truth: Some children are just more motivated than others, and it shows – in the classroom and on the sports field.

That’s not to say that children who lack motivation are not as clever… because many of them are smart as a whip.

But, for various reasons, these children struggle to reach their full potential. They tend to daydream in class, fall behind on homework, forget to hand in projects, and under-perform in tests and exams.

How do you motivate these children – and keep them motivated – throughout the new term?

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Hint: It has less to do with nagging or begging and more to do with routine, positive reinforcement and healthy stress levels!

Dave Swart, principal of Burgundy Estate-based school Riverside College, shares his tips on how parents can keep their children motivated throughout the new term:

  1. Set realistic expectations: Focus on what your child is capable of instead of what other kids their age are doing. Set tasks and goals that challenge them but are still manageable and realistic.
  2. Develop routines and structure: A weekly routine plays a crucial role in developing motivation in your children. For example, you can ensure that your child completes their homework every weeknight by blocking out time each evening for them to work on assignments and tasks.
  3. Make the task relevant to your child: They are more likely to care about their homework if the assigned tasks are relevant to their goals and interests. Think about what motivates your child, about their goals and dreams. Explain how working hard will help them achieve their future goals. This will encourage them to focus and study harder.
  4. Help your child manage their stress levels: Stress is a serious motivation killer. Help them identify stress triggers and ways to keep calm when they are feeling overwhelmed. Mindfulness techniques can help with this.
  5. Use positive reinforcement: Your approval means the world to your child. When you see them working hard to succeed, be generous with your hugs, praise and high fives. A little positivity goes a long way towards improving a child’s attitude towards school and homework.