motivationCan You Motivate Your Child?

If I could bottle and sell MOTIVATION, I would be a millionaire!  No, make that a billionaire!  Probably 50% of the students we tutor have problems with being self-motivated and the parents look to me for answers.  I certainly don’t have all the answers but I did raise three children that are now all college graduates and so here are some tips that I think might help.


  1.  Clearly set goals – Goal setting is a strategy that will help your child throughout life.  Have them make a list of short-term goals (get at least an 80% on math test this Friday) and at least one long-term goal (get into Notre Dame).  The goals should be reachable but still require effort.
  2. Acknowledge accomplishments – When your child accomplishes a goal, let them know how proud you are of them.  Celebrate the small goals with something small (a cupcake, extra time with video games, a night not doing dishes, etc.) and when they reach a higher goal celebrate with something big!
  3. Make things competitive – It seems like we have turned into a world that everyone gets a medal or ribbon for just showing up.  That’s not how life works in the big city!  You can encourage healthy competition by cheering on your student at a spelling bee or a sport.  Always make sure to make the competition about the strengths of your child rather than the weaknesses of the opponent.
  4. Encourage, encourage, encourage…. – Letting your child know that you believe in them is huge!  Tell them how great they are doing when they are doing great.  Help them cope with any doubts or fears they may have.
  5. Take an interest – Talk to your child about their interests and also share with them your interests.  By listening to them you will find out things you might never have known if you hadn’t asked and show them that you care.
  6. Develop a passion – Talk to your children and help them develop a passion for things in life that matter to them.  It may take a few tries to find out what it is but keep urging them along until they discover it.
  7. Stay positive – Keep a positive and optimistic outlook for your children.  If they see fear or doubt in your eyes they may lose self-confidence.  Showing a positive approach to an upcoming test, etc. may help lighten their self-doubt and breed confidence.
  8. Peer pressure – Sometimes, a little peer pressure is not a bad thing depending upon which way they are pushing.  If your child is trying to keep up with sports or grades, that can be a good thing.  If they are trying to keep up with the latest jeans or drinking to be cool and fit in, that is not a good thing.
  9. Make a plan – To reach goals, you need a plan.  Help your child (if they need it) to map out a strategy for reaching their goals (like studying every night for a week for a final).
  10. Get the excited – Get your children excited about their goals and ambitions.  Be excited for them!  Hopefully, they will catch the positive energy and they will continue their hard work and be happy with their efforts.