Best answers from a school and developmental psychologist, preschool teacher and mom
Academic Motivation Tips
Encourage using school skills in real life – If your child is learning about money, have them be the banker for the family. Have them count and pay for things and count change back every time. Talk about how important it is to learn what they are learning in the classroom as a follow-up.
Help them fully explore their interests – If your child is interested in dinosaurs, take them to the dinosaur museum, regularly check out dinosaur books and videos at the library and find good dinosaur sites online.
Share your own continuing education with them – Let them know what you are reading, share it with them when you take a class or learn a new skill. Highlight the importance of always being open to learning.
Use descriptive and avoid evaluative praise – Descriptive praise focuses on a child’s effort, process, progress and details rather than their outcomes. Descriptive praise helps to build intrinsic motivation for the task you are praising. I have a youtube video that reviews this specifically: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn2Ddh16xIY.
Be involved in their education – Meet the teacher, attend school events and parent nights, check their homework, know their progress, voluteer in the classroom or take on tasks at home to benefit teachers.
Read to them everyday – This is sited by the Department of Education as the number one way to build later successful readers. Being a good reader goes a long way towards academic motivation.
With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.
View all posts by Dr. Rene Hackney