The stretch between winter and spring breaks can feel years long. It’s not unusual at all for students’ motivation to dip during this time. We see this in tutoring every year, and we’ve learned how to reignite that spark! Often, it’s a combination of small, consistent actions that put kids back on track. The strategies below work best when customized to a student’s interests and strengths.
Sometimes a lack of motivation is due to a lack of routine. Setting certain tasks to autopilot will give your child the jumpstart they need.
Switching up the same old same old can re-energize your child’s attitude toward school. No grand gestures needed! How can you inject some novelty into these humdrum days?
When students feel stuck, motivation disappears. We help students recognize that and choose to find it by taking action—any action—to get started. Usually that first step leads to the next and the next, and before they know it they’re connecting the dots! You can see how this works with a writing assignment:
Taking a purposeful break is great for motivation, but kids aren’t taught how to do that. If your child is spinning their wheels on a math word problem, and they keep at it past the point of frustration, they’ll likely not figure out the answer; they may even give up on the rest of the assignment. However, if they take a break, their brain will keep chipping away at the problem in the background while they do something else. Then they can come back to the problem with fresh eyes and a better chance of cracking it!
Some people fear that celebrating along the way to a big goal will make kids think they’re done, and they’ll lose momentum. Quite the opposite. Marking milestones increases their motivation, and it feels good to have hard work recognized! When celebrating, give specific praise so that your child connects their choices and actions to positive results.
Reflecting on mistakes is just as important as celebrating the wins. Mistakes are portals into a whole new world of learning! Students who see mistakes as opportunities are self-aware learners, critical thinkers, and intellectual risk-takers. They also tend to take setbacks in stride and find joy in learning. Open-ended questions work especially well when it comes to embracing mistakes.
Sometimes (all the time?!) it’s easier for students to try out these strategies with someone who’s not their parent. If that’s the case for you, give us a call! We’d love to match your child with a tutor they trust and look forward to meeting with.