What Kids Need: Achievement Motivation

Without an adult role model encouraging kids to learn new things and make discoveries, they can quickly lose their drive to learn and do their best in school.  Teachers can promote this asset in kids’ lives by relating content and curricula to real-life situations and issues.  When they can connect the material to what is going on in our world, it becomes applicable to students.  In so many ways, such as getting to know students and their learning styles, can go a long way to helping them to discover what is important to them in learning opportunities.  Encouraging achievement to go just a notch or two above what they are currently doing can add a great deal to their drive.  So often parents mention to me that their child doesn’t seem to know where they are going, or what they want to do in life.  I relate to part of this difficulty to this encouragement and curiosity when kids are very young.  If it is nurtured and encouraged by teachers and parents, it will grow to a high level of engagement as they grow older.

Parents at home can also encourage this by reading the same book that the child is learning and discussing exciting passages.  By encouraging them to use their imagination and make discoveries, their desire to achieve is increased.  It is fun to brainstorm some questions about a particular subject, like life science, and then together search for the answers on the internet or at a library.  Through this process, you can teach kids about primary sources and how to avoid information that doesn’t lend itself to reliable information.  Encourage your child to do their best at school by keeping track of all their assignments.  Be involved with what they are studying in Math, Science, English, and Social Studies.  Know the information they are learning and look some of it up yourself so that you can discuss the topic with them at an intellectual level.

If your kids are apathetic about school or seem uninvolved, or even resist going to school, have regular discussions with them as to why.  Do they need additional support?  Can they read at grade level?  Do they feel safe?  Are they feeling bullied or harassed?  Speak with their teachers and find out how things are going regularly.  There should never be any surprised at student conferences, grading periods, or progress report times.  Each parent should be involved to the point that they are aware of what is going on in a detailed fashion with their child.  I was always amazed when a parent would tell me, the school administrator, that they had no idea he or she had missed that much class.  When I would ask them if they received the calls from the school, they would say yes, but there wasn’t any followup.  Get online and check on attendance, tardies, homework, grades and send teachers emails.  Staying in regular contact seems like a lot of work but it is the level of work that parents need to do in order to produce successful kids.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich