Most of us struggle to develop good habits. We are rarely excited to visit a gym, opt for a salad, or brush our teeth. Why? Because it’s going to be years and years before those habits pay off. We’d rather eat a pizza or play a video game – those activities are rewarding right now. It’s the same deal with kids and education. Kids struggle to be excited about something that’s not going to pay off until much later in life. That’s why parents have to trick kids by turning education into a rewarding activity. Here is how you do that.
Praise is a great reward option, because it’s free and it’s very easy to implement. All you have to do is pay attention to how your kids are doing at school and let them know you are proud of their achievements. Be excited and appreciative whenever they bring up an interesting fact they’ve learned at school, praise them whenever they start doing homework of their own accord. Just don’t be fake and over the top excited – kids will sense it and your praise will lose its value. Give praise only when it’s due.
There are countless ways for you to go beyond classroom materials. Take your kids to the zoo, use google maps and google street view, watch live stream cameras from around the world, browse youtube videos and countless educational documentaries. So much of the world is now available at the push of a button that it doesn’t even matter if your kids don’t go to the best school or don’t have the most inspired teachers – whatever your kids are studying it’s probably already covered online in any number of highly engaging ways.
Make a schedule
The great thing about schedules is that they introduce a ritual. And the great thing about rituals is that no one questions them. If your kids don’t have a schedule, then every time you tell them to go do their homework there will be some resistance – your kids will bargain, plead to do it later, and otherwise show their annoyance. But if homework is at 7PM every day, then there are no questions of why and why now – it’s just the way it is. It’s not exactly a reward, but schedules do smooth things out.
Punishing your kids for poor grades puts them into a fixed mentality. They tend to take it personally and start to believe they are inherently bad at learning. Instead, your goal is to preserve your kid’s growth mentality – a belief that any result is possible if appropriate effort is applied. That’s why if you are not happy with your kid’s grades, you sit them down and you figure out why the grades are bad and what measures have to be taken to get better grades in the future. Be a team and approach educational setbacks with a can-do attitude.
Make it a game
Another way to get your kids addicted to learning is to delegate the whole thing to addiction professionals – gaming apps. In the last ten years, apps have evolved to manipulate our brains and keep us hostage for hours on end. And the great thing is that some of them are dedicated to education. Math, reading, critical thinking – you name it and some app out there’s got it. And Nicola app has got them all, plus, a gamified interface that allows your kids to raise and equip a cute character by completing learning targets.
It’s impossible to develop motivation in one day. This process takes time and effort. Show your child that learning can be enjoyable. Tell them that a person doesn’t stop learning something new throughout his life’s journey. Indeed, there are so many interesting things in our life! Remember that every child is talented — you have to unleash their potential.