How to Motivate a Child to Study Without Forcing Them

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child studying

Has your child been loath to study and learn? Do you find it hard to motivate them to get started with their studies? Force is really not an option, as not only will that demotivate them but they may also just say a big no. Here’s How to Motivate a Child to Study Without Forcing Them:

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Tips to motivate your child to study

If you have been getting frustrated, remember that not every child is a natural learner. And yelling at your child in frustration to get them to study just won’t work. You have to find a way of motivating them. Here are some tips:

#1. Identify Why Your Child is Unwilling to Study

bored girl homework

Most of the time, the problem with children who are unwilling to learn or study has different roots. For instance, they might be too distracted by family dynamics, they might be bullied, or they might encounter difficulties concentrating on one subject.

Don’t get angry with them for that – ask them what’s wrong.

Try to find the cause of the problem, don’t stop at noticing the symptoms. Here are some good questions to ask:

  • Is everything at school all right?
  • What do you find tricky about this subject?
  • What could we do to make the learning more interesting?
  • What do you think about doing your homework by yourself?
  • How does it make you feel having finished that homework now?

Show empathy by asking how you can help.

#2. Help Them Set Goals

girl with mother

For some kids, the main problem is that they don’t really see the purpose of studying. They would rather play with their friends and hang out around the neighborhood than do a math problem. And who would blame them? It’s much more interesting hanging out than studying.

In this context, your role as a parent is to help them set goals. Ask them, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” Whatever their answer, whether it be “an astronaut!” or “a train driver”, you can give them compelling arguments on why studying is important for becoming whom they want to become.

#3. Make Study More Pleasant

Anxious Teen writing down worries

Studying is just so much easier if

  • your child is not hungry or thirsty
  • there’s a nice space to study in without distractions
  • they know you are around to help if needed
  • they have the tools they need – keep a drawer or jar with pencils, erasers and sharpener handy

You might also enjoy reading How to Keep Your Kids Focused With a Homework Station

#4. Help Them Study Smarter

helping with homework

If you see them struggle with their homework, help them be more efficient. Show them the shortcuts. School does not facilitate learning – quite the opposite, school makes learning even harder.

If they are stuck in the same learning routine, show them other ways of studying the same concepts. You could find interactive ways of learning, or design funny games. Don’t be afraid to be innovative!

You might also enjoy reading How to Help with Homework

#5. Give Them the Confidence They Need

mother and child

Show your children that you believe in them. If they get a lower grade on a certain test, don’t show disappointment or sadness. Tell them that next time, you’re sure they are going to do better. Be open-minded and help them instead of being cross at them. Kids need support, love, and a caring parent figure to comfort them.

If they show bad results constantly, it’s maybe time then to start a talk with them, and ask what’s wrong. Make sure to talk to their teacher too and work out a strategy together with their teacher to support their learning.

#6. Think About Your Own Attitude

girl doing homework

Are you putting too much pressure without realising? Always consider your attitude when dealing with your child. We live in an interesting, yet brutal society, that promotes talents and geniuses. Not every child is academically minded but every child has their own talents, some of those may be hidden at the moment but trust me, they will reveal themselves. Maybe they have an extremely developed emotional intelligence, or maybe they possess artistic and creative skills.

Watch your tone and language whenever you interact with them – leave them space to develop, and see what they are good at. If intense learning is not their thing, don’t force them.

#7. Celebrate Achievements

ice cream

No matter how small, recognising and celebrating your child’s achievements is good positive reinforcement to help with motivation to study and learn. That’s not to say we should praise mediocre performance, but just recognise when they have worked hard.

It doesn’t always have to be rewards for passing tests, although if they do well on a school test you might have some ice cream to celebrate. It’s good to recognise hard work put in, so e.g. finishing a project they have worked on might deserve a special treat – maybe they could pick the next family movie to watch together or they get to do no chores that day since they worked hard. Positive reinforcement is a good tool to motivate your child to study.

Motivating children to study by applying pressure on them is not smart. Give them the chance to express themselves properly, identify the causes of their problems, help them study smart and set goals, give them the necessary confidence, and reward them when they’re on the right path.

You might also enjoy reading 41 Revision Techniques to Help Kids Study Smarter

Over to you now. Do you have any tips for how to motivate a child to study? What worked for you? Share your experience in the comments below. 

How to Motivate a Child to Study Without Forcing Them



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