Parenting Tips: How To Improve Student Motivation

Ways parents can increase their student's motivation through discussion of goals, unsuspected rewards and signs of parental approval.

Motivation is a great thing, IF you have it. Motivation that is lacking can be a huge downfall to an otherwise bright student. Parents "˜can' improve their child's motivation in ways that will encourage them without distracting them from their original goals.

A Happy Child

Not all the motivation in the universe will help a student who is otherwise not happy in their daily surroundings. This is not a directive to give your child anything and everything they ask for"¦actually, quite the opposite. Children treated with respect and love, usually give respect and love in return. Children raised with values and given guidance on a daily basis, again, learn to use their values wisely. A spoiled child, one who is given "˜things' without any reason other than they asked for it, or more likely, demanded it, do not gain any common sense of how life works; people work for rewards. Making clear here, rewards do not necessarily mean "˜things'! Ask your child what they consider a good outcome of different situations, so you, as the parent, can define in your mind, what your child considers motivational to completing tasks, including homework assignments, special projects, etc. You may be surprised to learn that your child has no clear definition of why they should put effort into their studies.


For instance, many parents' associate "˜motivation' with money, if their child passes a test, they will hand over cash as motivation for the next test. What the child learns in reality, is that if they "˜pass' they are instantly given gratification. Sounds like a workable motivational tool, right. What is wrong with this scenario is simple. That is not how life works. There will not always be someone there throughout your child's life to hand over cash every time "˜they' get it right.

Defining Rewards

Children need to understand that when grownups talk about rewards, they are not necessarily talking about the newest video game or a trip to an amusement park. Reward can simply be the satisfaction of completing a task. If a child has been motivated through physical rewards all through his school life and even before, they need to learn that this is not how life works. You can change how you give motivation, and how your child receives it, it just takes some "˜motivation' and sensibility on your part! Teaching a child that gratification comes from the result of the task done "˜is' the best motivational tool you can use.


As stated earlier, talking to your children to understand how they view rewards as motivation will give you a clear picture of where to start your discussion with them on how you can help them become more motivated in their studies. Talk with them on how an "˜A' that is achievable through study, is motivational by itself over a "˜C' that can simply be achieved from what the student has learned in class. Discuss what they are hoping to become when they reach adulthood. This may sound like common sense, but you may be surprised at how many parents never ask their children this most basic of questions. Once you have asked them this, ask them it again in a few months time. There answer may or may not have changed, but you will be showing your child that you not only are interested, but by asking them this simple question, you are stimulating their thoughts, to keep their goals in mind.

The Reward Breaker

Physical rewards "˜can' be used as motivation, but use them sparingly. If a child has struggled, but has clearly shown effort, a physical "˜unsuspected' reward can be given with positive results. A surprise dinner out to show your child that you appreciate all the hard work they put into passing a class they truly struggled in will show them that you noticed. This works in two ways; a physical reward is given, but it also demonstrates the best motivation any child can receive, their parent's approval.

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