The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

November 7, 2012

Light the motivation fire

By Marianne Bright for the SNAP

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 — How many times have you heard these words: “She is capable of getting good grades; she just does not apply herself?” And how many times have you wondered what you can do to spark the motivation that will fuel your child’s lifelong success?

First, remember that parents are a child’s greatest influence. You are your child’s primary role model. Studies have shown that parents’ actions and words have more effect on a child’s life than any musician, movie star or sports figure.

Second, you are not alone. Many children are not motivated to earn good grades in school. You can make a difference.

This column and the one to follow will offer tips to help you support your child’s desire to learn and do well. These actions can help remove distractions, identify what motivates your child and instill a positive attitude about schoolwork and learning.

The following are some ideas about what you can do as a parent:

Meet with your child’s teacher or guidance counselor to understand long- and short-term academic assignments. Discuss any concerns and ask for suggestions.

Be a role model. Stress the importance of academic success. Parallel it to your career successes and failures so your child can see the effect education has had on your own life.

Protect your child’s homework time and space. Make sure there is a quiet environment in which to study. Bedrooms hold too many distractions and the television should be off-limits during study time.

When your child performs poorly due to lack of effort, make sure there are negative consequences. Take away something of value, such as phone privileges or video games.

If you suspect your child might have a learning disability (these can go undetected), talk with your child’s teacher or guidance counselor. Testing can reveal Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), dyslexia and other learning differences.

Consider a supplemental education provider. A trained and certified tutor can provide a customized program designed to meet your child’s specific needs.

In the next column, we will present some tips regarding some activities that you and your child can do together.