How to Motivate Kids to Learn

Children in a school slump? Find out why it might be happening, and discover how to motivate kids to want to learn – and become lifelong learners.

Plenty of parents lament that their children aren’t motivated to do well in school. Some even brand kids as lazy. This usually is not true. However, as children get older, their passion for learning often does seem to shrink.

What’s going on?

It happens for some because they’ve failed repeatedly at school tasks and no longer see any sense in trying. And it happens for many young teens because of the distractions of biological changes, emotional concerns, and social and peer pressures.

Plus, some unmotivated kids may never have learned that school success takes time and effort. The loss of motivation can also be fueled by insufficient support in a new school or by an increased workload and expectations to which students haven’t yet adjusted.

Teachers’ role

Of course, part of this job belongs to your children’s teachers. Kids are more motivated to learn in classes where the work is challenging yet achievable – and where they see how the skills that they are learning can be applied outside of school. And many schools motivate their students by having an atmosphere that stresses learning.

How parents can help

Yet mom and dad also play an important role in developing, maintaining, and rekindling their children’s motivation to learn. Here are eight ways you can help your own kids get geared up to learn again:

  • Be a good role model. Let your children see that you put forth your best effort in completing work and meeting obligations.
  • Show your kids that you are interested in their schoolwork.
  • Help your children succeed in school by contacting teachers whenever your kids encounter any difficulties in learning to find out how they can be helped.
  • Offer sincere praise to your children based on their effort and improvement at school.
  • Find tasks in and out of school that your kids can succeed in to build an “I can do it” attitude.
  • Use rewards infrequently to encourage your children’s motivation to do school tasks.
  • Find your kids’ strengths and build upon them.
  • Teach your children how to set goals and to work hard to achieve them.

The importance of children valuing learning for its own sake really can start at home – and can stick with them for a lifetime. Keeping these mantras in mind can help you re-spark that fire!

Did you find this advice helpful? What might you add that has worked for your child?

This post was originally published in 2010 and has been updated for 2016.


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