- Make learning fun through game-based learning
Game-based learning is not a new concept. It’s been around for a long time. Game-based learning can be very advantageous for many reasons. Using games as an education tool not only provides opportunities for deeper learning and development of non-cognitive skills, it helps motivate children to want to learn. When a child is actively engaged with a game, their mind experiences the pleasure of learning a new system. This is true regardless of whether the game is considered “entertainment” (e.g., video game) or “serious” (e.g., military
simulator). Games that are entertaining provide the added benefit of motivating children to want to engage in the learning process and want to learn more.
Game-based learning is also an effective motivation for team-based learning – which can be particularly beneficial for children in a classroom setting. Students typically try harder at games than they do in courses. Games are more engaging. There is also the competitive aspect to playing games. Students are trying to compete or win, on behalf of themselves or their team. They may strive to perform at a higher level in an effort to earn more points for their team or because they want the opportunity to play.
Game-based learning is a great way for parents and teachers to introduce new ideas, grammar, concepts, and knowledge in a way that motivates children to learn.
- Focus on what he’s learning, not his performance
Instead of asking your child how he did on his math test as soon as he gets home from school, have him teach you what he learned in math today. Focus on what your child is learning, as opposed to how he is performing. While performance is important, focusing on his learning experience will (1) communicate to your child that actual learning is more important than test grades, (2) results are not the most important thing, (3) you’re more
concerned about him than you are about his performance and (4) by focusing on his learning experience that day you’ll provide him the opportunity to put into his own words his lesson and solidify what he’s learned.
- Help your child stay organized
Helping your child organize his papers, books and assignments will go a long way to helping him feel motivated to learn. Disorganization is typical among young school age children, but it can also lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed. Overwhelmed children spend more time and effort being frustrated and worried than they do learning. Be patient, but consistent, in helping your child organize his school supplies and assignments. This will help him feel in control, less overwhelmed and more motivated to learn.
- Recognize and celebrate achievements
No matter how small they may be, it’s important to recognize and celebrate your child’s achievements. This is especially important for elementary age school children who require constant positive reinforcement to keep them motivated to learn and challenge themselves to do better. We’re not suggesting that you praise mediocrity, but that you offer recognition and celebrate your child’s achievements. Finishing a difficult project deserves a special treat; doing well on a math test could call for a trip to get ice cream. Always use positive reinforcement as your tool to motivate learning with your child.
- Focus on strengths
Focusing on strengths can be difficult when there is so much your child struggles academically. Notwithstanding, focusing on your child’s strengths is vital to healthy emotional and academic development and progress. Focusing on your child’s strengths is another form of positive reinforcement that will motivate him to keep learning. Conversely, focusing on your child’s weaknesses does nothing but cause discouragement, distress and a lack of desire to learn. Did Johnny fail his math test? Well then, in addition to getting him a little extra help with his math, make sure to congratulate him for how well he’s doing in science class.
- Make every day a learning day
Turning every day into a learning day may sound like a bit much, but it really isn’t, if you go about it the right way. Whenever possible, encourage your child to explore the world around him, ask questions and make connections. Help him categorize, classify and thinking critically of what he sees and experiences. Turning every day into a learning day will help your child develop the internal motivation to learn in the classroom, at home or wherever he may be.