Are you struggling to get your teen to study for their final exams, finish their assignments, write that essay… or even get them out the door to school every day? It’s quite normal for kids to lose motivation towards the end of the year. If you want to help them finish the year feeling strong, here are some handy tips to get them motivated.
Ahh, Term 4… It’s that time of the year when students start to think about the BIG things.
For those in the earlier years of high school, it’s an essential time for subject selections, setting the tone for the rest of their high school experience. For Year 12 students, it means crunch time to do their best for their exams and assessments just before they transition to the next stage of their lives. And let’s face it, with the approaching sweet summer break and festive holidays, others are just looking ahead to get school over with.
Whether your child is getting ready for graduation or excited about their social life after the hectic school year, it’s easy for them to get overwhelmed with Term 4 and feel demotivated about pushing through the year’s final stretch.
What is motivation?
The thing is, people often think that motivation is an emotion. Teenagers often say, “I’m sorry, I’m not feeling it today” or even “I don’t feel motivated at all”. But motivation is actually a lot more objective and tangible than most people think. The word “motivation” originates from the reason or thing that “moves us” to take an action.
Working with thousands of students, I discovered that it was less of an emotion — more a myriad of blurring anxiety, resentment, anger, frustration, overwhelm, sadness, apathy, fear of missing out, and so many other things. That’s what teenagers were actually feeling but didn’t have any capacity to articulate.
That’s why teaching young people how to build motivation as a PROCESS and not as an emotion is important. Cultivating and sustaining effective levels of consistent motivation is a life-long skill. We teach them about the drains and amplifiers of motivation and how to rewire the circuits, so they don’t have periodic blackouts or run on emergency power.
How to build your child’s motivation
Developing your child’s motivation as early as possible will give them more chances to succeed. The younger they acquire and develop these skills, the more reliable and stronger they’ll be for the challenges that come.
As parents, you play a significant role in anticipating their needs and monitoring their resources to ensure that their inner fire and motivation keep burning.
1. Make your child feel in control
We want them to have a say in their academic journey. When children feel a sense of control over their learning, they’re more likely to be engaged and motivated.
2. Set goals and choose subjects of interest
Knowing your child’s aspirations goes a long way regarding future success. What are their dreams and passions? Motivation follows naturally when they feel a personal connection to what they’re learning.
3. Connect academics to real-world relevance
Bridging the gap between theoretical concepts and real-life examples helps children see the value of their studies. Whether it’s algebra or history, you want your child to connect between academic topics and everyday life to spark their curiosity and motivation.
4. Talk about their future
Engage in open conversations about possible career paths. Show your teen how various subjects are stepping stones to their future profession. Discuss the importance of these subjects in those career paths.
5. Use tailored learning resources
Each child has a unique learning profile. Some may thrive with visual aids, while others excel in hands-on activities. Tailored learning resources mean using a personalised strategy for your child’s style and specific needs. When the learning experience matches their style, motivation soars!
6. Balance autonomy with guidance
While student autonomy is crucial, guidance from parents and education strategists is equally essential. Even if your child doesn’t admit it, they need someone to support them and point them in the right direction.
It’s essential to take note that teenagers are not built the same. Your child experiences learning differently and faces unique challenges that drain their motivation for school. Aside from these six tips, the biggest game-changer is adapting a personalised learning strategy for your child’s academic journey.
Knowing and having a personalised study program matched to your unique learning profile is a bit like having the right shoes for a triathlon — if there’s a mismatch, then it becomes harder for your child to maintain study focus and motivation throughout the term and retain the information they need to do well in exams. Wearing the wrong shoes or studying using the wrong techniques can irritate and cause friction, and in some cases, long-lasting injury or damage. So just as shoes do not match all feet, your child’s unique learning profile needs to be at the centre of their study regimen, and their learning experience should most definitely not be considered one-size-fits-all.
It all starts with YOU, their parents and their ultimate support squad. At Kalibrate-Ed, my team of passionate education strategists and I are here to help you ignite your child’s spark so they can give their 100% and achieve their best results up until the end!
More tips for parents of teenagers
- 8 tips to slash your child’s exam stress by 80%
- Podcast: How to help your daughter bloom, with Katie Parker from Bloomfully
- Mum-Approved: Why LTrent’s Safer Drivers Course is the right choice for your teen
- Youth Hubs for Teens around Sydney’s North Shore
- Podcast: Tips for raising teens, with Madeleine Steel from EPIC