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Motivating Your Child

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The expectation you have for your child sets the stage for success!  Expect them to succeed and communicate this through positive reinforcement, and their chances for success greatly improve.  Expect them to come up short, and they will - no one wants this for their child. When your child is having difficulty with a subject, you don't want them to say "I can't" - we all have unique and different abilities but we have to exhibit knowledge in many different subjects in school.  If a particular subject isn't one that comes easily, this is when setting goals and hard work makes the difference.

Set high expectations for your child but within reason of course - as a parent or caregiver you know your child's unique strengths and weaknesses so be sure to base your expectations around those - we want to motivate and encourage! 

Here are some tips that will help you motivate your child to succeed in school:


1)  Talk to your child about what THEY think they do well and where they struggle - talk about realistic goals for the future starting with the strengths.  Then discuss the areas where they feel they struggle - share your observations and talk about how important and challenging it is to deal with areas of difficulty in school, but how rewarding it is to overcome these!  The process is just as important as the outcome here - you are teaching your child strategies for solving problems and overcoming obstacles that will extend far into the future!

2)  Write the goals down - start with one goal for an area of strength and one for an area of weakness.  Set up a time frame - a realistic one -  for achieving the goal.  As a parent/caregiver, reach out to our child's teacher and get them involved as well!  Goals can be oriented towards specific subjects in school (math, reading, science, etc.) or can even be related to activity and fitness.  Develop a plan for how the goal will be achieved and be sure to look for appropriate resouces to help your child (web based, teacher, local college for tutors, etc.)  

3)  Set a regular schedule, time and dates,  for measuring progress and/or achievement of the goal and commit to helping your child.  This one is important - keep your promise and follow up as planned!  Stay positive as your child works to achieve these first goals!  Write the schedule on the goal sheet and follow through!progress!

3)  Monitor and encourage progress - rather than simply saying "Good job" or "Way to Go" consider something more meaningful that will encourage the child to continue to work hard.  Say "I am really proud of you and I can tell how hard you are working - you should really feel good about this work!" or "You are really getting these math concepts and that's something to be very proud of - I can tell how hard you are working and it's really paying off!".  If your child falls short, still encourage by letting them know that even though they may be disappointed, you know that they are working hard on the goal and know that they will get to where they need to be very soon!  This would be a good time to identify areas of difficulty and work with your child to find more resources to help - listen to your child and come up with a strategy together.  Encourage, encourage, encourage! Encouragement equals motivation every time!

4)  When the child achieves the goal(s), reward with a certificate, a trip to a museum - something that continues the learning - make it fun and something that continues to encourage the child on their path to being self-motivated!


One other important aspect of motivating your child is to make sure the environment at home supports the teacher, the school and learning!  Make learning a part of everyday life in your home and make it fun.  Be aware of what your child is learning in school and reinforce studies at home by talking about topics, taking related field trips, even watching educational shows on television or videos on Youtube together.  Attend PTA, school activities, parent-teacher conferences - let your child know that education is important and you believe in their future

Want to get your child's sites set on graduating or even going to college?  Get the the iProm!se "Future Graduate" or "Whoo's Going to College" tee - pair it with the iProm!se bracelet and the free iProm!se contract and your child is on their way toward being self-motivated to succeed in school!

Want a great book on this topic?  Check out "Homework:  A Parent's Guide to Helping Out Without Freaking Out! by Neil McNerney, available on Amazon in paperback.  


Neil McNerney (Author)

Pamela Thompson
MBA, PHD and College Professor
I Promise Project LLC Founder

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