Keeping your teen motivated to learn during lockdown has been a challenge for most parents this year. In our July parent survey, 53% told us that their teen had become less motivated to learn since the start of lockdown – and with exams cancelled and months at home, we don’t blame them either! With schools starting back in September though, staying motivated will make the academic challenges ahead much more enjoyable. But if the last thing your teen wants to do is study, incentivising them without nagging (or bribery) might be easier said than done. Keep reading for our four top tips to make your teen motivated to learn before schools start back.
1. Boost their confidence
If a teen has academic confidence, they’re much more likely to apply themselves and enjoy learning as a result. Whatever their grades, celebrating when they do well and reminding them of what they’re good at can go a long way in keeping them motivated to continue trying their best.
2. Help them learn from mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes sometimes – whether in Maths or in life – but the way kids respond to slipping up can have a huge impact on how well they learn and achieve. If they get a low score on a test, forget to complete a piece of work or struggle more with a particular subject, try helping them work out why they did it and what they can do to improve next time. Rather than getting worked up by failures, treating them as opportunities to learn rather than signals that they’re bad at something will help them keep a positive mindset and feel motivated to keep trying.
3. Give them (some) control
Although teens need boundaries sometimes (or a lot), giving them a sense of responsibility for their learning will help them develop a positive relationship with their studies. If they feel trusted, they’re much more likely to take pride in learning independently, rather than doing something just because they’ve been made to. Over the Summer holidays especially, try having a chat with your teen about what subjects they should focus on, what books they’d benefit from reading, and how much time they should study each week before letting them get on with it. Some kids need more encouragement than others, and younger teens might need more of a helping hand, but encouraging them to develop an independent approach to learning will help them take pride in their studies as a result.
4. Set achievable goals
What counts as an achievement is different for lots of teens, and setting goals they feel they can meet will incentivise them to give it their best. And while grades are one big way to measure academic success, there are lots of mini-goals they can set along the way to keep them motivated. If your teen has a disorganised streak, for example, then aiming to make a study timetable and stick to it over a week at first can give them something to feel proud of in the near future. Or if they find one subject especially difficult, making a goal to improve at one particular question style, or get a better understanding of one topic, can make a daunting subject seem doable.
Finding what motivates your teen might be a case of trial and error, but once you find what works it can make the challenges of the coming academic year feel completely within reach. If you’d like help from an expert, our online tutors help teens focus on problem areas while doubling as academic coaches and mentors. If it’s confidence your teen needs to focus on, the tutor can plan lessons around that, or if organisation is where they struggle, they’ll equip them with tools to tackle that too. Have a browse for a tutor who matches your teens needs, or book a call with one of our Tutor Experts who will help you find what you’re looking for.