Looking for ways to boost your child to put in more effort for school?
“My child is capable but they don’t put in the effort!” Does this ring true for you, too?
Comments surrounding students unlocking their potential, putting in effort, and having a child achieve their best are ones we hear often.
It’s also where we come in to help.
Before diving into solutions, it’s crucial to understand why some children adopt the habit of doing the minimum required.
Why doesn’t my child care about their school work?
1. Lack of Motivation: Your child may not see the value or purpose in what they are doing, leading to a lack of motivation to excel.
2. Fear of Failure: The fear of failure can be paralyzing, causing some children to settle for mediocrity rather than risk falling short of expectations.
3. Lack of Confidence: Low self-esteem can prevent children from pushing themselves beyond their comfort zones.
4. Lack of Interest: When a subject or activity doesn’t align with their interests, children may not see the point of putting in extra effort.
Now that we understand why a child may not be achieving their best, let’s explore practical and unique solutions to address these issues and help your child reach their full potential.
10 tips to unlocking your child’s academic potential
1. Understand Their Perspective
Before diving into solutions, it’s essential to empathize with your child’s viewpoint. Some children might find academics boring or irrelevant to their interests and passions. By understanding their perspective, you can better tailor your approach to spark their interest.
“I hear you, (subject) may feel boring right now, why do you think it’s not keeping your attention?”
“Ya, I understand that (subject) may feel irrelevant right now. Have you considered that it’s connected like this…”
2. Explore Their Interests
One way to make academics more appealing is by connecting them to your child’s interests. If they love animals, for example, incorporate biology concepts by visiting a zoo or researching wildlife together. This approach helps them see the real-world applications of what they’re learning.
One of my favourite learning schemes was built around my student’s interest in skateboarding. He was adamant that Maths would never be something he’d need as a pro-skateboarder. So we built a skatepark on paper, and then used 3d shapes. We talked about building materials and compared different shops to find the best prices. We explored building materials to cover various ramps and even came up with a creative geometric painting pattern. All the while, we covered maths. His marks soared as he began to connect his interests to the curriculum expectations.
3. Set Realistic Expectations
While it’s natural to want the best for your child, it’s crucial to set realistic expectations. Not all children will excel in every subject, so focus on their strengths and provide additional support where needed. This reduces the pressure they may feel and makes learning more enjoyable.
As tutors, we begin every term with a strategic planning session that allows students to self-assess where they are, where they need to be, and if their efforts are in alignment with this.
4. Encourage Critical Thinking
Make academics more engaging by encouraging independent critical thinking. Ask open-ended questions and encourage them to explore different perspectives. Allowing students the freedom to explore various methods to reaching an outcome and seeing which aligns with them is a powerful activity. This not only enhances their understanding of the subject but also fosters a deeper interest in learning.
5. Create a Positive Learning Environment
Ensure your home is a conducive space for learning. Create a dedicated study area with minimal distractions. A quiet, organized, and comfortable space can significantly impact your child’s motivation to study.
6. Celebrate Achievements
Acknowledge and celebrate your child’s academic achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can boost their self-esteem and motivation. Consider rewards or incentives to make learning more appealing.
From ‘reactions’ to various types of a round of applause to little notes and certificates in the mail, we’re always finding ways to help our students feel celebrated along their learning journey for the work ethic put in.
7. Seek Professional Help
If your child’s disinterest in academics persists, consider seeking professional help. A tutor can provide personalized guidance and support, tailoring lessons to your child’s learning style and needs.
8. Foster a Growth Mindset
Teach your child the concept of a growth mindset, emphasizing that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort and learning. This can help them approach challenges with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.
Be sure to check out our other resources on growth mindset.
9. Connect Learning to Real-Life Goals
Help your child set academic goals that align with their long-term aspirations. Discuss their dreams and show them how education can pave the way to achieving those goals. When they see the connection between academics and their future, they may become more motivated.
This is helpful at all stages, from 11+ entrances to leavers exams and GCSE.
10. Lead by Example
Children often mimic their parents’ behavior. Use time around the dinner table to discuss what you’re learning, where you’re struggling and the skills your developing.
Final thoughts on how to help your child achieve their best
If your child doesn’t prioritize academics, it’s essential to approach the issue with patience, empathy, and creativity. Understand their perspective, make learning relevant to their interests, and provide a positive and supportive environment. Remember that every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. By tailoring your approach to your child’s needs and preferences, you can help them unlock their academic potential and develop a lifelong love for learning.
Have you met Vic?
English Language GCSE tutor
Experienced AQA examiner
Supporting students of the LGBT+ community
EdTech enthusiast; bringing learning to life!