Ever wonder how teachers manage to keep classrooms of students engaged and motivated? Lynda Way, owner of the Pacific Preschool® & Kindergarten in California, offers “Teacher’s Tips” for motivating children which she suggests parents can use at home. These tips, found here, are summarized below, and we’ve added our comments as well.
1. Give Positive Feedback: Look for opportunities throughout the day to offer your sons positive feedback, and resist the temptation to just stay focused on what they could be doing better.
2.Set High Expectations (We love this one). Way explains, “Kids learn to regulate their behavior and set goals for themselves based on the expectations that the adults in their life have for them.” We need to let our sons know that we expect them to do their best, and strive for excellence. We can convey these expectations without putting too much pressure on our sons by focusing on their effort more than on any particular outcome. We don’t want to stress them out, but we do want them to aim high and feel the satisfaction of achieving their goals.
3. Customize Content. Way suggests that parents make sure that we tailor activities to each child, as “[t]he activity or incentive that is just right for one child may not be right for all of your children”. GCP would add that we should also try to make sure that each child is only exposed to age appropriate content especially with respect to the music, films and social media they are allowed to listen to and watch. This is a really tough one, since the younger children often get swept up in their older siblings activities, which can be convenient for parents. Check out Commonsensemedia.org for guidance (and media reviews) if you are not sure whether the youngest should tag along.
4.Implement a Reward Chart. A visit to any elementary school classroom demonstrates the power of a reward chart. Who among us wasn’t proud to get those hard-earned stars put next to our names? Try a reward chart at home to help your son learn to work towards getting things that he wants.
5.Take an Interest. This seems obvious, but in this day and age with so many devices competing for your attention many parents may forget that being distracted can look a lot like being disinterested to a child. Make sure you spend time with your son discovering and paying attention to his passions. Asks Way, “If your child is looking through some new library books, are you watching TV or are you engaging in the books with them?”
GCP parents, take careful note of these Teacher’s Tips. Incorporate them into your life with your sons. They will really appreciate it.