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How To Keep Your Child Motivated When Studying: 11 Tips For Parents


As children get older, more responsibility is placed on them to complete their homework and stay on top of their assignments. While some students have the motivation to complete their work on time, other students struggle to get started.

Although it’s important for parents to take an active role in ensuring their child completes homework, it’s also important to not force your child to do it—there’s a big difference between forcing and motivating.

Encouraging your child to find motivation in a positive way is important for building habits that last. Forcing your child to do work can make him or her resent study time, making self-motivation much more difficult to achieve.

So what can you do when your child has no motivation to study? Check out these tips to help your child find the drive to get homework done.

How To Stay Motivated To Study

1. Find Out What’s Stopping Your Child

Your child may be unmotivated to study for a number of reasons. Finding the root of the problem will help you and your child develop a plan to overcome the barriers that are preventing him or her from completing homework.

Some reasons for lack of motivation may be:

  • Poor understanding of the material
  • Work that isn’t challenging enough
  • Work that isn’t suited to his or her learning style
  • Anxiety about school
  • Low self-confidence

2. Make Study Time Easier

Make study time as easy as possible for your child by providing him or her with everything needed to get work done:

  • Quiet space: Find a quiet, distraction-free space for your child to study.
  • Food and drink: If your child is hungry, it can be hard to focus on work. Give your child a light snack before a study session and plenty of water to ensure he or she can remain focused.
  • The right tools: Make sure pencils, an eraser, a calculator, and other important tools are easily accessible so time isn’t wasted trying to find them.

Making sure your child has everything he or she needs means less resistance and fewer excuses.

3. Create A Study Plan Together

Children do well with structure—having a solid study plan in place will help keep your child on track. Sit down with your child and create a plan for completing homework each night. Including your child in the process will help keep him or her engaged (and more willing to adhere to the plan!)

Your plan should include:

  • When homework is to be done each day
  • How much time should be spent on homework
  • How often to take breaks and for how long
  • What tasks should be prioritized (i.e. assignments that are due the soonest)

4. Create A Reward System

Build a reward system with your child so he or she has something to look forward to once study time is complete—the key to staying motivated when studying. The rewards can be as simple as watching TV once homework is done or collecting ‘points’ after each study session to use for something special.

5. Limit Stress

If your child is stressed, he or she might find it difficult to study, or even find the motivation to get started in the first place. Help your child relieve stress by spending time with him or her and encouraging conversations about thoughts and feelings.

Make sure your child has enough time each evening to de-stress. Discuss activities to do during study breaks or after homework is complete that can help lower stress, such as:

  • Going for a walk
  • Listening to music
  • Colouring

6. Focus On Learning Instead Of Performance

Instead of focusing primarily on grades, celebrate milestones related to learning—both big and small.

This might be when your child successfully solves a tricky math problem, or when he or she finishes writing the first draft of an essay. When switching the focus to learning, your child can find more enjoyment in accomplishing work, helping boost motivation.

7. Encourage Your Child To Set Small Goals

Encourage your child to set small, achievable study goals based on what needs to be accomplished. Setting goals gives your child clear directions for what needs to be done, and boosts confidence when he or she accomplishes these goals.

Some examples of studying goals include:

  • Read one chapter of the assigned reading
  • Review notes for twenty minutes
  • Complete 5 practice questions from the textbook

8. Try Different Techniques

There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution for studying—every student has a slightly different way of learning. If your child is studying with a method that doesn’t match his or her learning style, he or she might get frustrated because grasping the material becomes much more difficult. Try different studying techniques to see what works best for your child.

9. Take Proper Study Breaks

Although it can be tempting to try and get all homework done in one go, the brain can lose focus without breaks (especially for younger students). Dividing study time into manageable chunks is important for keeping your child’s mind fresh and engaged. Encourage your child to take proper study breaks during a study session.
Keep these tips in mind for a productive study break:

  • Use a timer to remind your child when it’s time to take a break
  • Take breaks after about 30 minutes of work
  • Keep breaks between 5-10 minutes long

10. Encourage Exercise

Pent-up energy leads to frustration and makes studying even more difficult. Regular exercise improves overall well-being and reduces stress, making homework much easier to accomplish.

Make sure your child is getting plenty of physical activity each day before studying. Even a quick walk around the block during a study break is a great way to allow your child to get blood flowing to the brain and helps avoid frustration and burnout.

11. Provide Support For Your Child

Keep open communication with your child, and offer support when needed. This might include making arrangements to talk with your child’s teacher, getting your child some extra help, or just lending an ear when your child is feeling overwhelmed. Knowing that support is available will help your child develop the confidence to tackle any problems that might arise.

Help Your Child Find The Motivation He Or She Needs

Avoid the dreaded homework battle and use the tips above to help your child develop good study habits. While as a parent it’s important to make sure your child’s homework is completed, it’s important to not force your child to do it. Instead, focus on making study time a positive experience so your child can build self-motivation to get it completed on time.

If your child is struggling in a certain area or getting stuck on a certain subject, Oxford Learning is here to help! Contact us today to find out how we can help your child achieve success in school and beyond.

For more help with motivation and focus, check out these other resources:
How To Study At Home (Without Getting Distracted)
5 Factors That Impact Your Child’s Focus (& How To Recognize Them)

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