With two middle schoolers working virtually I have found it extremely difficult for my kids to stay motivated. I know like me many parents feel overwhelmed, anxious, and uncertain they can do a great job keeping their child on task, motivated, and excited for what’s to come during these difficult times. There are a few easy tips to keeping yourself and your child motivated this fall and I’m excited to share them below in the hope that you can breathe a little easier and know that we are all doing our best in this new normal.
- Figure Out Their Personalities – One of the biggest ways you can keep your child motivated is by understanding their personality. While they may act for you at home, figuring out how they are at school could be something extremely different and it’s going to reflect when working on homework, projects, and endless hours of zoom meetings. Is your child one who needs a lot of structure and clear expectations? Are they a rule follower or do they immediately do it as they are told to earn the praise of their teacher or parent? Perhaps they question everything that is being asked of them. Make sure that they are seeing the bigger picture of what is being asked of them before they start firing off question after question. Lastly, your child can be the obligor who wants to please the other person but also works best in a team. If you know your child fits into one of these categories, this can help you plan or figure out ways to keep them motivated and on task while they work from home.
- Give Them Meaningful Work- If you are deciding to virtual school your child this fall you get the opportunity to give them work that you know is going to keep them motivated. This might mean that you might have to work a bit harder on other subjects that might take them more time but that is ok because you get to plan their schedule for the day. They also don’t have to do busywork either. However, if your child is going to learn virtually this fall, you still want to try and give them meaningful work to do to keep them engaged. This might take some creativity on your part such as exploring things outside or figuring out a different way to explain something to spark their interest. Use visuals or toys to help if you need to.
- Exercise – Another great way to keep your child motivated to do their work is by doing exercise or having a few breaks throughout the day to do this. Since parks are closed right now, one way to get your kids moving is to go outside, go for a hike a or and to take a walk!
- Change of Scenery – One of the last motivating tips is giving them a change of scenery or adding things that will keep them stimulated. For a change of scenery, don’t have them sit in a public area of your home like the kitchen but somewhere they can focus and not be disturbed like their bedroom with a desk or an area of your home that might be a bit quieter. If your child doesn’t want to sit in a chair, give them the option of sitting on a bouncing ball which can help them move a bit if they need to get some extra energy out.
The biggest motivating tip I can offer right now is to know that you are not alone in the process of homeschooling or virtual learning this year. We are all trying to do our best balancing our own work schedules, our child’s schedule, and everything in between. If you need to recharge or regroup, see if a family member can come over to help on days that you are feeling overwhelmed. Having someone else for a few days can be good for both of you.