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7 ways: Motivating learning in young children 1

7 ways: Motivating learning in young children


Motivating children to learn is a very difficult thing to accomplish as a parent. It is often very easy for a child to succumb to the ease of asking others for help – who can resist a sweet innocent sad face that politely, ask for help. Or the child can fall into the trap that says “why should I care” school is not important, it does nothing for me now and why should I do all this hard work now when I don’t have to worry about it until I am old.

Motivating a child to learn is like finding the most intricate piece of a jigsaw puzzle, you know what the picture looks like, you have all these pieces before you – but you need that one single piece that will help you start and put it all together: a starting point as you will. Children are all different and they have individual mind sets – it’s not always a one size fits all kind of thing – so my 7 ways of motivating a child to learn will be generalized in order for you to best fit to your individual child.

1.       Purpose: you have to give a child a reason to learn. I am not talking about bribery, which would only create more trouble down the road. What I am talking about is an understanding ( from the child’s point of view ) for why it is necessary to learn and to have a desire to learn. This can be anything from future goals to current standings. The reason I choose the title: for children how to become rich successful & do well in school – is because what child doesn’t openly or secretly want to be rich when they grow up.  So the “how to become rich” is tied into the realization that without the desire to learn – one cannot be successful.
Purpose is a key factor in insuring your child not only learns but desires to learn. When they realize that they have a purpose, a goal, a desire in life – it is easier to translate that purpose into a desire to learn in order to achieve such goal.
I met a young boy in 2012 who was learning to play the guitar; he carried that thing with him as often as he could. He was only 9 yrs old and in fourth grade – but in school, in the school choir or talent show he made sure to play his guitar. At first to hear him play was a bit of a struggle, but just one year later at the local school talent show I watched him play a guitar solo that would put most grown men to shame. Out of the ten kids who played guitars that day – he actually played the guitar. Like I said – he would have put most grown men to shame. But why was his playing so above par to the rest of the kids? I made sure to asked him not when but why did he start playing the guitar and this was his response: I want to be as good as my dad.
The desire, the purpose, the goal is what drives this 9 yr. old to practice his guitar while others go out to play or to give up.  A child needs purpose to learn.

2.       Understanding: a child needs to understand that things do not happen without a cause. It is basically the old but true law of “cause and effect”. You can only get out of something what you put into it. You can only get good grades if you put the effort in to study. You cannot be successful in life if you do not first lay down the correct foundation.
Children are always faced with the idea of: why now can’t it wait until later? It’s an idea we all struggle with but they being so young and are not only told but believe that they have a life time of tomorrows – find it easy to leave things for later. Every parent has heard this phrase from their child: I’ll do it later.
Children need to understand that life is a series of actions, successions and reactions – that the smartest thing any person can do is, to take care of the important things now not later. The reason children leave homework for last is because fun and playing is more important to them. If we as a parent can get them to ‘understand’ that what is most important for them today and for the future is to do what is really important now – then fun can be had later.


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