Do your children lack motivation in everything they do especially at school? Nowadays, most of them can seem preoccupied by technology, indifferent to homework, or some might be harbouring feelings of unease due to COVID. This can lead to lower grades, continued disengagement, and a decline in mental, emotional, and social health. Whatever their reluctance, there are ways parents can step in to help guide their children in cultivating a more serious relationship with their education and motivate them to take a greater interest in their studies.
According to the National Education Association, parents, grandparents, caregivers, friends, neighbourhood advocates: we all have a role to play in supporting student learning in the classroom and beyond.
We can start by fostering a positive morning routine with our kids that can facilitate connection as well as compliance. Starting with gratitude can have a big impact on how they show up and partake at school. Research shows that simply stating three things you’re grateful for when you first wake up can help bolster your energy, spirits and motivation for the entire day. Snuggling, taking deep breaths together, and practising affirmations are also great ways to begin your day on solid footing.
Being in the moment and paying attention to what’s important to your child helps them feel seen, heard, and loved, it’s important too. This takes conscious effort but the payoff in healthier relationships, higher self-esteem, and a happier outlook is worth it. The understanding that at every moment we are modeling for our children how to move forward helps us rise to the occasion and be the best version of ourselves, too. We can’t expect something from our children that we can’t first produce within ourselves.
Supporting your kids at school
In addition to focusing on integral parts of the day and making sure basic needs are met, how can midlife mums keep their children engaged in the learning process? There are various ways for parents to help their kids be more successful in school.
- Take an active interest in your child’s homework/projects
Be curious. When your child comes home from school, make time to sit with them to discuss homework or projects. Engage them in conversation about school so you can keep up-to-date and know the questions to ask.
- Give your children the proper tools they need
You might need to invest in a better laptop or programs that will aid them in achieving success in their assignments. After remote learning, many kids are experiencing a lapse in their academic success, so consider providing a tutor if you see they’re struggling.
- Teach them better habits
Try to institute an early bedtime routine so they will feel refreshed in the morning. Have them set their alarm 30 minutes earlier so they have time for an energizing breakfast to start the day in a healthy, positive way. At the end of the night, have them wind down without technology. Let them watch you put your technology in a designated place away from your bedroom as you head off for sleep.
- Emotionally check-in
Maintain open communication. Let them know that you are there to talk or just listen and be a sounding board. When you ask, ‘How are you?’ and receive a ho-hum response, ask a second time. “How are you, really?” This will let your kids know you truly care and have the time to spend with them if they need it.
- Be aware of your expectations
Don’t put pressure on them to be a star student. Ask them to do their best and to come to you if they need help, such as breaking down their assignments into smaller parts.
- Provide them with positive affirmations
Help them turn negative thoughts and comments into positive ones. Write or type these phrases out and hang them in places where they can be noticed. Create your own affirmations and post them next to your child’s to show that you do them, too.
- Find their interest
Have a meaningful conversation about what they enjoy about school. Ask what subjects they like and what they don’t like and help them focus on the positives. Be curious and look for common ground. You will recognize it because they will suddenly get animated and their energy level and enthusiasm will rise.
- Define success for your kids
The focal points can be interaction, best efforts, and kindness rather than grades. It is essential that parents do everything in their power to bolster their children’s self-esteem and the best way is to be involved and show interest. Make sure you and your child agree on what success looks like. It might be trying your hardest, being on time, or raising your hand in class. Most parents are right to prioritize their children’s happiness over academic success.
Every child is different, so see what works best for your family. What’s most important is for you to support your child in taking a greater interest in learning. Remind your child of your family’s definition of success and the importance of trying our best and being kind. Being present and prioritizing time to connect and be involved in their education and lives will cultivate a bond that will support them throughout their academic career and their entire life.