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How to Help Kids Demonstrate Self-Motivation When It Comes to Online Learning

child demonstrating self motivation

It can be challenging for kids to transition from in-person schools to online courses. Sometimes they lose their drive to excel academically after the change in their environment and routine. Here’s how parents can help their children demonstrate self-motivation when it comes to online learning so they have the best chance to succeed.

1. Ask Them to Set Goals

Teachers help traditional students set goals throughout the year. They might hang sticker charts on the wall to celebrate passing grades or prize charts for major projects. Kids lose those sources of encouragement when they start learning from home, so consider helping your child set new goals.

A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Learning and Teaching found that second- through fifth-grade students who set goals had higher motivation and self-efficacy, along with improved reading comprehension. Concrete finish lines for academic performance will guide your child toward better grades.

2. Develop a Custom School Schedule

One of the best parts about enrolling in an online school is making a custom schedule according to how your child learns best. Although that might make you think of their courses and study environment, their timeline also includes when their school day starts and ends.

Researchers with the Australian Sleep Association published an article in 2018 about a study that concluded students in seventh through tenth grade experienced improved alertness and mental well-being by delaying the start of their school day by 45 minutes.

Students that have more energy can turn it into motivation. Adjust your child’s schedule by 30-45 minutes to see how well they do with a later start time. They may enjoy their school day more and succeed in their classes with the slight change.

3. Help Them Form Friendships

Experts with the Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies in Italy studied online students in 2020. They found that they lost motivation partly due to isolation eroding their mental health. Help your child meet new friends by messaging classmates, joining online study groups or signing up for community clubs. The new friendships will make them happier, reduce their isolation and result in more self-motivation when it comes to online learning.

4. Teach Them to Manage Their Stress

No matter your child’s age, online courses could cause more stress. They may need to adjust to learning without a teacher being in the room or practice tackling more challenging material. It can lead to increased apprehension, but kids can use a few anxiety relief tools to improve their stress levels, such as:

  • Taking timed, deep breaths

  • Reframing their perspective

  • Getting a long hug

Online learning also allows parents and kids more time to know each other better, resulting in more effective communication regarding schoolwork. Find ways to have fun outside of school to develop that aspect of your relationship with your child and teach them how to manage their stress.

5. Provide Tangible Rewards

Educational psychologists recommend external rewards to improve motivation based on individual effort, not the requirement to outperform their classmates. Parents sometimes forget about this aspect of school when their child starts learning from home.

In 2018, experts found that token economies garnered more student motivation than verbal encouragement in some cases. Those who received rewards for outperforming people in their class were less motivated because they learned to value their societal standing rather than their skills.

Tailor your child’s rewards based on their interests. If they pass a big test or complete a project on time, they could earn a new box of crayons or a pair of headphones for school. Seeing and holding the reward for their hard work encourages children to be more motivated throughout the school year.

Help Your Kids Demonstrate Self-Motivation

Some kids may struggle with self-motivation when it comes to online learning, but parents can use these tips to help them adjust to their new routine. Find out if they thrive with more opportunities to see friends, new rewards or stress management techniques, and you’ll see a noticeable difference in their academic performance.

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