A parent recently asked for advice on how to motivate her son to do better in school. He is in 6th grade and scores well on standardized tests, but his schoolwork and grades don't reflect his abilities. These three ideas can help him get the most out of his school experience:
1. Enlist the teacher's help. She may have ideas for helping him get organized and monitoring his progress. When your son is aware that you and his teacher have agreed on a system, such as the teacher checking on the completion of assignments at school and you checking on the completion of homework, it may help him fulfill his commitments.
2. Set up a schedule. Be sure that he structures his day so that school is a top priority. He needs to learn that all schoolwork must be completed before he can do other important things like hang out with friends or participate in hobbies and activities (and certainly before he watches TV or plays computer games). Let him take charge by keeping a simple personal planner. A sample schedule:
- 7:00 a.m. Get ready for school
- 8:30 a.m. School
- 3:30 p.m. Exercise/sports
- 5:00 p.m. Homework
- 6:30 p.m. Dinner
- 7:00 p.m. More homework if needed
- 8:00 p.m. Reading and R&R
- 9:00 p.m. Bedtime
3. Talk about long-term goals and aspirations. It isn't too early to discuss college and careers. Let him think about what he would like to do and where he would like to go to college. Then you can research his interests on the Internet.
It isn't easy to keep at it, but your son is lucky that you are so involved. It takes time, but your efforts, and his, will pay off.