Children aren’t motivated by something just because you are. What you believe is important, may not seem as important to your child. It can be frustrating because you believe you know what is best for him, but you can’t seem to get him to want to care about excelling as much as you care about him excelling. There are many potential issues that can result in a child being unmotivated.
Boredom — It’s possible your child is simply bored. His teachers aren’t challenging him enough, or he’s not interested at all in the topic enough to care. If your child is otherwise bright, consider having him tested to find out if he already knows the material and is just bored with it. He may need a higher level of learning than the current school or classroom can provide him. Boredom often looks like lack of motivation, make sure you know which you’re dealing with.
Learning Disability — Sometimes what looks like a lack of motivation is a learning disability. There are many learning disabilities that manifest in various ways and the only way to know for sure is to ask the school to test your child. If you ask for an individual education plan for your child they have to test them and find out what is going on. If they won’t, you can take your child to a learning center such as Sylvan Learning Center for the same type of testing.
Lack of Consequences — Sometimes a child is not motivated because there are no consequences to him for not being motivated. They simply do not care about that particular subject to excel. If there are no issues with learning disabilities or anything else like that then try tying excellence to that particular subject with freedom in another area. Many children who love video games can be very motivated to get a good grade on a spelling test, or a history test if they know the reward is a couple of hours of uninterrupted play. Notice the positive spin. Earn a good grade, get 2 hours on your game.
Offer Praise — When a child does something you want them to do, even if it’s not to the level you would wish, find a way to offer praise. Praise always goes a lot farther than discipline and negative consequences. When you catch your child doing what you perceive as a good thing, then you praise them and let them know how proud you are, even if it’s just a pat on the head or a hug, you’ll motivate them a lot more than you can imagine.
Big Picture Thinking — Parents have experience of years behind them that enables them to see the big picture. A child might not see why he has to do well in history when all he wants to do is read science fiction and become an astrophysicist. When you connect the two together for them, and explain how our system of education works, they will become more motivated if they know that investing time in a topic they don’t enjoy will pay off with more time doing what they do enjoy.
The important thing to remember is that finding what a child is really interested in is the key to motivation. People are motivated by what they deem important, not what you deem is important for them. Determine whether or not you’re pushing your child to excel in what they want to do, not what you want them to do.