What to do with Children who do not want to learn

Many parents say that they would like their children to love more, be more curious about their studies, initiate their own chores and do not consider compulsory or punitive. Some even come to parent counseling and guidance on learning-related issues.

What leads to low motivation for children to learn?

There are various reasons for low motivation for studying. It is important to distinguish between children who have been curious and motivated by learning, and it has passed, and children who have always had low motivation for the subject, and children with learning difficulties and learning disabilities.

In general, motivation to learn is driven by the child’s internal characteristics and is also influenced by environmental influences. Children differ in their motivation for progress and learning and the level of motivation is a trait that is both innate and influenced by what the child receives from the environment.

Sometimes parents define that a child has no motivation and that is inaccurate, because the child has no motivation for what they want him to learn (e.g., arithmetic or science), but he has motivation for other things he sees as important and loving (eg: painting, sports, languages).

In this article, I will review some of the key factors that influence motivation to learn, and ways to motivate children to learn and increase their curiosity.

The factors that influence the desire to learn:

  1. Parental model:

A model of self-taught parents, who work in learning that combines learning, and learning that is intertwined with their lifestyle, will increase the chance of a child’s natural motivation to study. Parents who are not self-taught, but learning is important to them and raising their children deliberately for learning and with educational promotional messages, will positively influence the desire to learn as part of the child’s natural desire to please his or her environment and as part of internalizing family values. Keep in mind, however, that some children will have the opposite effect in their case, and around adolescence (or sometimes before), will try to rebel with the family values ​​that emphasize learning, and work out their own independent path where learning is not so important.

  1. Child’s emotional inquiries:

Children who are not emotionally free will have difficulty learning and their motivation for learning will be low. For example: children who are anxious, children who are dealing with family difficulties, children who are sad or depressed. Studies show that in order to learn, emotional inquiries are needed and when a child engages in incessant thoughts about things that bother him, it will be difficult to concentrate and absorb educational content.

  1. High level of conflict between the child and his / her parents regarding learning:

When the learning issue becomes a conflictual issue at home, and there is a lot of pressure from the parents, quarrels between parents and children, a lot of preoccupation, and punishment – sometimes the child’s “anti” response, which refuses to learn to convey to his parents a message through something he knows is very important to them. So I’m not going to teach and be a bad student to punish you for what hurts you the most. “)

  4. Learning Disabilities and Other Difficulties:

When a child has learning difficulties of various kinds, it often impedes motivation to learn that the child needs to raise a lot of energy and resources for learning. There are other difficulties that must be ruled out when a child has low motivation for learning and has difficulty such as: hearing problems, vision problems, and attention deficit disorder.

And on the practical level – how, as parents, can we encourage learning in the children, and raise the intrinsic motivation and curiosity to learn?

  1. Remember that experiential learning always works better with children. If there is a particular learning topic you want to like about the child, try to access it through a game with the child, a walk in nature, watching an interesting movie on the subject, or meeting someone to tell the child firsthand. The language in which children speak is an experiential and sensory language, and children enjoy learning more “outside the room” and in an informal atmosphere. Create a pleasant atmosphere around the school and avoid a competitive and stressful atmosphere as much as possible. Give the child many reinforcements for the things he loves and loves, even if they are not educational or do not seem particularly important to you.
  2. Consider not everything you can influence as parents. Learning motivation is a very internal and emotional matter and you will sometimes have to accept your child as it is. There are children whose field of study is less attractive to them, and they have no curiosity for learning and literacy. There are children who are more connected to the field of sports or the arts, or children whose social field is a priority, and where they will show their curiosity and creativity, rather than formal studies. Remember that children are different from one another and that children can be educated to take responsibility and do their duties, but they cannot be forced to love learning. Sometimes it is precisely the child’s acceptance and acknowledgment that they do not like learning can make it easier for the child to take responsibility for learning more reasonably. Remember that success in life is linked to many other factors besides study success such as: emotional stability, resilience and ability to cope with situations, good human relations, proper reading of the social map, communication skills, exceptional skills in non-academic fields and more.
  3. Avoid many conflicts around learning. Sometimes it is best to use an outside party (private tutor or tutor) to do homework and help the child in a school setting, when there are many parent-child conflicts around the school. Remember that the relationship with the child, the child’s trust in you, and maintaining a positive self-image in the child are more important than his or her grades at school. Sometimes we have to give the child the responsibility for learning and coping with the results when he takes no responsibility. It is important to strengthen the child on the areas in which he / she is good, and to strengthen them when he / she is not studying. It is important that the field of study (when not doing well) does not “color” the entire relationship between us and the child, and will spoil the experience and appreciation for the positive things the child does.

There is no doubt that the basis for learning and taking responsibility is ultimately emotional. The child’s emotional state greatly influences many areas of the child’s life, including the field of study. When children feel safe, protected, when their environment is stable and they receive appreciation and appreciation for who they are, they are more curious about the world, their senses open and ready to absorb new things
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