How to Support Your Child’s Learning at Home When They are Not Motivated

Nowadays, balancing life’s needs is as challenging as ever. Between financial commitments, social activities, home improvement projects and of course the wishes of children, keeping on top of everything might feel like a non-stop uphill battle. This can be especially true for youngsters who appear to have trouble motivating themselves. Not everybody is fortunate enough to find something they love doing right away, and this is as true for kids as it is for adults.

However, one thing that can massively assist parents in their quest to bring joy and happiness to their progeny’s lives is to achieve harmony in their own approach to work and life. There are a vast array of approaches and techniques, and each of these shall be discussed and summarised in further detail below.


5 Simple ways to support a child who is learning from home


  • Set aside specific times for learning

One of the primary challenges for any learner is feeling as though there is no end to the study day. This can be even more pronounced in a home setting where the child is not around their peers or friend network in person, so it is essential to find a clear and simple structure that shows how time can be effectively portioned up. Consider the following example timetable as an illustration:


8:00 – 9:00 Mathematics

9:00 – 10:00 English

10:00 – 10:15 Short break (drink/quick snack/stretching the legs)

10:15 – 11:15 Science

11:15 – 12:15 Second Language (such as French or Spanish)

12:15 – 13:45 Long break (lunch/device time/play outside)

13:45 – 14:45 Humanity (like Geography or History)

14:45 – 15:45 Arts (for instance Art or Drama)


Separating the day in this fashion can enable a solid chunk of learning to take place, while being realistic enough to offer a long lunch and keep the child busy for almost an entire work from home day. This of course can be negotiated, and each child’s learning style and circumstances should be factored in, but this provides a basic idea of the type of study day a child could be asked to do.


  • Provide direct input sessions, followed by independent learning periods.

For some subjects, an online tutorial or video might be available, for instance when trying to work through a mathematical problem, there could be an in-depth explanation in easy reach digitally. Alternatively, many schools do provide learning resources that the student is able to use themselves, such as a CD that can be played on the computer or laptop directly, or a link to an online platform or portal with teaching essentials ready to go.


However, this is not always the case, so a parent should be prepared to offer some direct input of their own, in particular if the child faces some challenges in learning that specific topic. One example could be that the student has difficulties with their fine or gross motor skills, leading to challenges in producing certain kinds of artistic techniques. 


At this point, the parent may find it prudent to act as a teacher at the beginning of the allocated time, showing their child how to perform a particular task and taking any questions that may arise at that point. A good guideline for this would be to set aside ten to fifteen minutes for direct instruction, followed by five to ten minutes of topic-related questions. This would leave the child with between 35 and 45 minutes to independently work on their task, before being redirected to the next lesson.


  • Set technology limits and parameters.

A major cause of concern for parents is not being able to control their children when it comes to their online activity. This is especially difficult when aiming to give their child autonomy in learning, and stepping away from their young ones while simultaneously trusting them to stay on task.


One solution is to set limits and parameters to unauthorised online usage. This could be done by simply shutting off the internet access during class times, although this may end up interfering with accessing online content like videos or quizzes that test knowledge.


Another option is to set a parental block on specific apps or websites during these hours, so that even if the child were to try and log on, they would be blocked from doing so. By then unlocking this access in break times, this could actually be a positive reinforcement to ensure that the child still has their social needs met in the day, but that those windows are narrowed into more manageable windows.


A third variant is to segment lessons into blocks where technology is not needed, for instance a PE session may actually require the child to go outside and do their exercise with no need for a technological study aid. This can be a great way of avoiding the more difficult conversations that may come up around internet control, as well as mixing up the potential monotony of the study day that may come from sitting in the same place for hours on end.


On that note, another alternative is to maybe consider using the outdoors as a learning space. For example, many Biology aspects might be discussed in the garden, or a whole host of creative Physics experiments are best performed al fresco.


  • Provide positive reinforcement for learning targets being met.

According to many psychologists, the number 1 demotivating factor for students is not being recognised when they do what they are supposed to. In fact, it is easy to see why this happens, because the quiet learners who simply get on with the task at hand can easily fade into the background, so it is essential that parents learn to praise all the good things that their child does educationally. 


This could be as simple as offering a choice of dessert for completing all tasks on time, or going out to watch the film of their choice at the cinema if they complete all of their work at or above a certain grade. Presentation can also be considered in this, as a well presented portfolio over a whole month could mean getting a ticket to the big match on the weekend.


  • Follow up on consequences for not meeting expectations.

By contrast, offering some kind of negative consequence for targets not being achieved is also a vital part of ensuring behavioural compliance. This is not to scare the child into submissive obedience, rather it is a reminder that as a growing child, they are responsible for the effort they put forth as much as they are entitled to acquire a growing number of rights.


Indeed, this could actually be a motivating factor for many learners, who may well feel that they need to be held accountable for their levels of performance, and having their devices taken away from them for even a day might just be sufficient grounds for many of them to up their game.


All of these, when used in combination with one another, can really serve to offer a whole host of motivating approaches to ensure the best possible effort from their child in their studies. After doing this for a while, it may even be possible for the parent to step away and focus on the economic well-being of the household, and provide another form of support to their child and household as a whole.


3 great options for working from home

One great way to achieve a balance between financial and emotional support is to consider working from home as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Another would be to consider taking on a role in data entry positions, or some other form of administrative role which can be fully performed remotely. Thirdly, a role as some form of consultant or adviser might be another niche which a stay-at-home parent could consider as a way of monetising their skills and expertise in stay-at-home activities.


Below are some of the many benefits of taking on each of these vocations, as well as some useful hints and tips on how to take the lessons learned in this career and apply them to one’s own offspring. Hopefully, this guide will provide a whole host of advantages in both the professional and personal spheres, for any parent dealing with life’s day-to-day concerns. 


What does a TEFL teacher need to get started?

Honestly, the main thing that any new TEFL teacher needs to know before getting started is that a bona fide certification is pretty much a must. One of the main reasons is that the essential teaching English online salary on your own rates vary depending on the level of prior acumen acquired by the teacher.


In other words, getting such a qualification before starting can ensure that the starting pay is usually a bit higher than for a candidate who does not go to the trouble of getting one. On top of that, several online recruiters only consider applicants with a reliable course to support their submission, viewing this as a huge bonus for learners and online platforms alike. Last but not least, these programs are a goldmine of useful content pertaining to all things TEFL, from how to prepare a lesson effectively, all the way through to the differences between formative and summative assessment methods. 


Of course, one of the most obvious ways in which skills learned as a TEFL teacher can be migrated to one’s own kids is if the TEFL lessons are taught to children directly. Fortunately, there are a whole host of opportunities to assist young learners of English, and in the online setting this has only grown in recent years.


For one thing, youngsters tend to ask a whole lot of questions, and this curiosity is actually a good thing. It definitely helps students to deal with any anxieties or worries that they might have about the English language, and the fact that kids wish to be listened to is actually pretty universal.


How can a data entry position help when working with one’s own children?

On the surface, data entry jobs tend to be relatively repetitive and routine, which actually could bring a few benefits to the table. One of those is that gaining mastery over such monotonous tasks may take less time than more complex roles, thus leaving more mental energy free to help a child who is not feeling motivated.


For example, a kid who might be feeling as though doing endless spelling drills is pointless could see that the repetitive nature of doing a task well is an access point to future employment, in fields as diverse as the car industry to several other factory positions. Also, for those juveniles interested in sports, the reality is that most sports professionals practice very similar drills on a daily basis, becoming experts in their capacities over a hugely extended period of time.


Another plus point of data entry or other administrative work is that most of the tasks are semi-urgent at best. This is because the assignments are provided and known well in advance, meaning a parent can structure their work day more flexibly around their child’s needs. 


For instance, if the child is an early bird, then the parent might be able to decide to help them with their schoolwork at that time of the day when they are most productive, allowing them to rest and regain energy when they have done all their work. On the other hand, a child with a shorter attention span may well need a parent to intervene and provide new input on a more frequent basis, and a lot of administrative tasks can be saved and picked up at a later point, making it easier for the parent to attend to such a child’s needs.


How could a parent become a consultant or advisor while staying at home?

Finally, one last option is to take the experience of working with a child and make that something which is shared with other parents who may be having difficulties too. One of the best reasons for this is the idea that most people prefer to receive advice from those with whom they can see there is a point of common ground.


In the case of parents giving advice to other parents, it is much more reassuring to know that they are not alone, and that these issues are faced by others. Thus, it makes a lot of sense to consider using social media and modern technology to offer advice and consultancy to other parents who could require that extra bit of assistance with their own kids.


These can come in the form of video calls, emails, or phone calls, all of which can be done at home. Additionally, these parents would definitely be understanding if an emergency arose in the home, where the child required some extra attention, so that would make scheduling and keeping appointments that bit easier.


Financially, this kind of support would be invaluable to the parents who needed it, so it would probably also be a viable choice for those parents who wished to explore this further. Plus, it is highly likely that word of mouth would spread the good word about an effective consultant, and shining a light on the challenges some parents face with their children may indeed reveal some interesting and effective techniques to help in their own situation domestically.


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Hi, I’m Anna, a travel loving wife to Tristan and Mother to 6 year old twins Poppy and Tabitha, their 3 year old sister Matilda, and together we are Twins and Travels.

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