Even when our children seem unmotivated we can create an interest in them to learn. It takes time, commitment and possibly even re-evaluating your goals.
Consider these 5 things:
- Model – a child needs to be in an environment of learning – you create that environment. I am not talking about creating a school room, but rather atmosphere. Think about creating a party atmosphere – you decorate with balloons, turn up the up-beat music, cook fun food but if you, the hostess don’t want to be there, you are just too sad then no one around you is going to have fun. Same with learning – we can fill our house with books, computers, building materials, art materials but if we, the facilitator, aren’t excited about learning no-one else is going to be either. So start with yourself – start reading, start discovering, start creating and let the spark come alive in you so you can be a model to your child.
- Expectations – are they real, are they communicated? If the child is older do they play a part in setting goals? Are expectations/goals SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, set timeline
- Relationship – Is our heart with their heart? When they are interested in something (probably not what you are interested in) do you stop what you are doing and spend time with them? Do you listen to them telling you “boring” information? Do you encourage them with books, magazines, cd’s on their interest? Do you listen to their questions, encourage their discoveries and help them find answers to the things they are interested in? As we involve ourselves with this aspect of our children’s lives we are telling them that learning is valuable.
- Success and Failures – How we handle their successes and failures will have a direct affect on their willingness to continue. Do we give praise when they are successful? That sounds like the right thing to do but when we praise their actions we subtly confirm that it is what they do that gives them value. Alternatively we need to give praise for the character that enabled them to achieve. Did they persevere? Were they thorough? Were they loyal? Giving praise for character elevates who they are.
- Curiosity and Creativity – Do we encourage curiosity and creativity? We can kill curiosity very quickly by not being interested and by directing their curiosity down our way of thinking (we predetermine what is valuable to learn and what is just a childish hobby – this is not helpful thinking!) We need to give our children plenty of time to discover, explore and come to their realizations. The biggest dampner on creativity is the threat from mum not to make a mess! We need to give our children plenty of free time so they can explore all their senses, explore the world and delight in it.