Let's be honest, sometimes it's downright hard to get kids to want to do homework or to learn and try new things. Going to school or getting extra help from an online tutor can turn into an all out battle. At one point or another, we've all experienced that feeling. Kids would much rather be playing video games, watching television or playing. However, all is not lost. Education is important, and there are several things you can do to help your kids get excited to learn.
Let's not sugar coat it. We will call it what it is. If there is a reward attached to finishing a problem or completing all homework, it's a bribe. Bribes don't have to be elaborate. Almost anything will do. Give them an extra piece of candy when they answer a math problem. Give them a ten-minute dance break when they've just read four chapters for history class. Candy, fun activities, extra video game time, extra playtime or a chance to stay up a little later are all good rewards for stubborn kids.
2. Read Everyday
Reading is one of the most important ways to get a student excited about learning. Books are full of information and adventures. A student can learn even if it's a fictional book. Daring sword fights and far off places will teach your child about characters and places and ideas beyond what they learn in school. If you have a student in elementary school who is struggling with learning, take the time to read them a bedtime story, or better yet, have them read one to you. A good strong reader won't feel like it's a burden to read that chapter for history. Although science texts are filled with technical jargon, it's easier for a good reader to understand if they have learned to understand the context around it. Reading is crucial to learning, and a good reader will be more willing to learn.
3. Remove Distractions
Students have the attention span of a gnat. Their minds are going to be wandering to the sticky goo on their fingers or the hottie in math class. It won't matter what age, any subject is going to be tough to concentrate on. If you put added distractions in a learning environment, like television and video games, your child's concentration levels are going to be completely gone. Make sure you give them a solid environment – an office, desk or kitchen table – where they can focus only on homework and learning.
4. Find Interesting Subjects
Everybody is different. We all have different likes and dislikes. If children are learning about things that really pique their interest, they are going to be a lot more excited about learning. When a student actually wants to learn or explore a topic, the educational process goes a lot smoother. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what a student likes or dislikes. Find out what gets them going and run with it.
5. Music and Games
Educational songs that rhyme and teach math are great to stir up a desire to learn. There are several people out there who know all 50 states and capitals because of the Animaniacs song. There are tons of websites that feature educational games. Games and music are a great way to keep a student's interest and focus. They will have fun while still learning.
6. Learn Beyond School
School work is important, but learning something new is always exciting. Teach your child how to bake cookies. Baking involves math and fractions, so your child can be learning a little math, too. Or help them learn how to ride a skateboard. Learning new and different skills can increase a student's desire to learn more.
7. Set Goals
It's important to set goals when studying. They can be broad, long-term goals or very specific short-term goals. Having something to work for and gaining a sense of accomplishment is a great motivator for a student to want to learn. To-do lists are another great way to track productivity and keep spirits high.
8. Extracurricular Activities
Get your kids involved in recreation soccer leagues. Let them play T-ball. Sign them up for piano or music lessons. Look for science adventure clubs in your community and sign your kids up. Extracurricular activities are an excellent way for children to take a break from the monotonous and boring rituals of school. Taking a break will often rejuvenate kids and get them ready to go back on the grind. Activities outside of school get the blood pumping and give them something to look forward too.
9. Show the Relevance
"I'm never going to use this in real life." We've all said it, and we've heard it a thousand times over. Looking back, we were right. There are a lot of things we learned in school that we've never used in grown-up life. Don't tell your children they are going to need this when they grow up. Show them what they are learning is relevant to their lives now. This will make the information stick and not just go in one ear and out the other.
10. Compliment Your Child
Who doesn't love a good compliment? A simple and sincere "That's great!" or "Good job!" can go a long way. Give your student something to be proud of and acknowledge the fact that you are proud of them. Making kids proud of what they do is going to make them strive for that same feeling again. Give them hope and power to accomplish and continue doing great things.
These are just a few simple things you can do to encourage your kids to study and enjoy learning. These simple techniques will help your kids learn, and you won't have to tell them that's what you want them to do. With things like games, compliments, bribes and a sense of accomplishment, your kids will be seeking out knowledge in no time at all.