It happened! I had been expecting it. I’m actually surprised it didn’t happen before now! I get it…it’s darker in the morning…it’s a Monday…it’s raining…the planets aren’t properly aligned to make for optimal waking up conditions!
My kids slept through their alarms today and were “alarmed” by me saying, “Hey, it’s 8:00 AM! You’re going to miss the bus!” But did they hit snooze too many times because they are tired from a weekend of texting their friends and doing craft projects? Or might we be running headlong into the early signs of ‘Unmotivated Mondays’?
If you are noticing days when your child doesn’t seem bright-eyed and bushy tailed at the breakfast table, maybe motivation is waning in your household as well.
As a parent, how you react and deal with the issue can either help or hurt the situation. There are three very common mistakes that parents make when they are in this predicament:
1) Chalking it up to laziness: Many parents struggle to understand why their child isn’t doing well in school and some of the behavior that goes along with it might look a lot like laziness, but it’s probably due to something else.
a) Kids that struggle to pay attention at school may also struggle when it comes to homework and organization. Get involved and help your child get organized. Plan ahead, schedule time for studying and for play, or consider hiring a tutor. The #1 tool for organization – a dry-erase board!
b) The problems they’re having in school might be an indication of an underlying learning problem. If they’ve struggled with reading and writing and seem to have issues with procrastination and work avoidance, it may be a sign that they have a learning issue.
c) Be cautious about the pressure that you put on your child to be successful in school. That’s not to say that school success is not important, but putting a lot of pressure on them will not help them succeed. Let them know that you support them in doing their personal best, and that can be defined differently for every kid.
2) Paying them off: Giving monetary rewards for good grades may be a tempting way to get them motivated, but by doing this, you’re putting more value on the final product (the grade) than you are in the process (learning the material). You are in essence sending the message that the grades matter, but the learning doesn’t. Instead, reward effort by noticing times when your child is working hard and demonstrating persistence on a task.
3) Punishing: Punishing bad grades is also a tempting option – taking away the cell phone or removing screen time privileges. Although technology can get in the way of learning, encourage your child to use their devices to put in some study time. Positive consequences for good study behavior will keep your child motivated at school and prevent creating a world full of restrictions at home.
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