We all struggle with motivation from time to time and children are no different. Your scholar may dive into BellXcel Remote with energy and focus. Other times, they may need a little extra encouragement. How can you motivate your scholar, and keep them motivated? Here are some tips to help you spark the fire and keep it burning.
Share your positive attitude. The most important thing you can do to motivate your scholar is to share your own positive attitude. Show that you are excited about the program—and about learning in general. Make sure your child knows that you’re confident of their success.
Pile on the praise. Praise is a huge motivator for people of all ages. When you praise your scholar’s work, you communicate that you are paying attention to the work they’re doing and noticing their successes. You’re also rewarding them for taking the emotional risk of tackling new challenges. Make it a habit to praise your child's work and their positive social behaviors often throughout the day.
Reinforce a growth mindset. Focus your praise on your scholar’s efforts instead of their talents or abilities. A comment like “You’re so good at math!” suggests that the scholar doesn’t need to work very hard to succeed, and it may make them worry about disappointing you if they struggle with the next assignment. On the other hand, “I’m proud of your hard work on this problem!” encourages the child to continue working hard, understanding that success in learning comes through effort.
Critique with caution. Sometimes you’ll want to give your scholar some constructive criticism. Balance it with lots of praise, and present it in a spirit of collaborating with them to achieve excellence. Instead of just pointing out errors, start with what they’ve done well and build on that to make the result even better. For example:
Also weigh the value of the criticism against the potential negative impact it could have. If the issue is a minor one, you might decide not to share it.
Set a goal for the day. Begin each day by having your scholar set a realistic goal for the day’s learning. This gives them a sense of ownership and control over their progress. At the end of the day, have them assess whether the goal was met. If it was, praise the effort! If not, praise the effort and then help them adjust the goal or make a plan to meet it at a later date.
Look for real-world relevance. No one likes to feel that the work they’re doing has no meaning in the real world. Help your child see how their academic work connects and applies to real life. For example, discuss how science learning helps you understand how things work in the natural world, in the kitchen, and in the technology you use every day. Talk about the books your scholar is reading and apply the ideas to people and situations in your life. Use math skills to count, calculate, and solve problems in the real world.
Engage your scholar’s passion. Your scholar is already motivated to explore the topics that interest them. Look for ways to connect their learning to the things they are passionate about. If this takes them off in a slightly different direction on a given day, that’s OK. Also talk to your BellXcel teacher about your scholar’s personal interests. The teacher may have ideas for tailoring assignments to foster those interests and tap into your child’s passion.
Provide some options. Your scholar’s learning days should be structured but flexible. Try to give them some choices about where, when, and how they complete their independent assignments. For example, they may be more comfortable sitting on the floor or on their bed instead of at a desk or table for reading or writing. Or, they may feel most productive late at night and need to sleep later in the morning. Help your scholar find the learning habits that work best for them.
Take breaks for fun and movement. Children, especially young children, cannot be productive for long stretches of time sitting still. (It’s not good for adults, either!) Schedule regular breaks when your scholar can get up, move around, and have some fun. You might take a walk around the block, dance to a favorite song or two, or do a quick exercise routine with stretches and jumping jacks.
Celebrate successes large and small. Take time to acknowledge and reward your scholar’s successes. Give frequent praise for the smaller ones. Display work that they’re proud of in prominent locations in your home. For more significant milestones, or for patterns of good behavior, consider other ways to reward your scholar. You might use a star chart to track examples of positive behavior and then treat your scholar to a take-out meal from a favorite restaurant when they reach a certain goal.
Keep in touch. If you know other families participating in BellXcel Remote, encourage your scholar to keep in touch with friends who are also in the program. Hearing about other scholars’ experiences—sharing what was cool and what was challenging in the day’s assignments—will help them feel less isolated and remind them that they are part of a learning community.
Expect ebbs and flows. No matter what you do, there will be days when your scholar is just not feeling motivated. This is totally normal. If your scholar needs to take an afternoon off, discuss how they can get the work done by the end of the week. Then start fresh in the morning.