Motivating Children and Students

motivating children and students

Motivating children and kids to do what they should:

School is beginning and many of us wonder how to motivate our children and students to either do better in school, complete assignments on time, do homework without nudging etc. You get the picture.

The gist of motivation is that everyone gets inspired differently. You need to find out what it takes to get each child or adult motivated. For some children it can be a kind word yet others need some more.

Understanding Motivation:

To get people to do things they generally do not want to do can be tough. Many of us turn to rewards, bribery or punishment however that undermines our goal to get children to things on their own without us telling them to do so. That is because children will learn to do something based on the reward. In addition, the reward must  always be available and at times it can get redundant and children will feel it is not worth the work for the reward anymore.

Such as, if you are giving a jelly each time they complete their homework, they can decide the effort involved in completing their homework is not worth the jelly or they are sick and tired of jellies! In addition, you must always have a jelly on hand to get them to do their homework. Is that worth it?

Thus the best way to motivate them is to give them the inner satisfaction for a completed job. Of course, it is simple to say that yet much harder to get the children and students there. However once they have the opportunity to taste  the feeling of satisfaction, it will supersede the want for any physical reward, and will keep them motivated to go for some more of that feeling.

How can you give your child the feeling of inner satisfaction?

  1. Use your words– compliment, praise the effort the child put in. Say “I noticed you are trying really hard.” That will get them to try even harder. ” Wow, you just cleaned up your room..”. When a child feels they are being acknowledged and supported they feel a want to please.
  2. Understand where the child is coming from– If a child does not want to do their homework, ask yourself why. Is it because they do not understand the work or is it because they need some time for themselves to relax after a day at school. Once you understand and show some empathy, strategize with the child to see what you can do to make it easier to get the task completed.  “What will help you do your homework better?” Child can say they need a quiet space to work and then figure out where to set up the child in a space that meets their requirements to do their homework.
  3. Give Feedback– when a child does something let them know how they did. “Look  you finished your job early so now you have extra time to play.” Let them see for themselves the pros and cons of either doing or not doing their job on time. When you see a child did something positive – catch them doing something right, praise and acknowledge them. It is never too late to give positive feedback. ” Yesterday you made me so proud when you cleaned up the toys without me telling you to do so.”
Children want to please

Students and children alike want to please their parents and caregivers. When they see that their actions cause satisfaction for themselves and for those whom they love they would be more willing to continue doing the action that caused it.

 

Know that as a parent or educator you are capable for helping kids reach for the stars. Be careful to model proper behavior, motivation and watch your words!

” Use your words kindly and often, for you will see the fruits of your labor rather quickly.”

 

Review before you start anew! Review the Lesson!

review a lesson

 

Don’t start Teaching without this!

Why it is important to review a lesson:

School is starting however are your students or children really prepared? Before you can embark on new lessons, subjects and teachings, reviewing the old stuff has advantages.

Many lessons depend on previous knowledge, therefore before you begin teaching make sure the children have the fundamentals to understand and follow what you will begin teaching. In addition, reviewing old lessons will help the brain to fire up and begin working after a long lazy summer.

Of course, it is best to review shortly after a lesson was taught, however that unfortunately does not always happen. Therefore, try to summarize and review previous lessons taught before delving into new material.

Best ways to Review last years lessons with your Child or Students:
  1. Take a look at the work your child brought home before summer vacation, was there any summer homework? Any sheets that you can use as a review?
  2. If you are a teacher reach out to your students’ previous teacher and ask for the last few worksheets the students received. Use those to kick-start your lesson and your students brains.

Once the lesson was taught let us take a look at a great ways to review the lesson:

 

Reviewing the lesson:

  • K-W-L chart- this stands for what you Know, what you Want to know, and what you Learned. Before you begin the lesson, assess children on what they already know. Then ask the children what they would like to know and learn about the subject you are learning. After the lesson is complete let the children share what they learned throughout the lesson. I keep the chart handy and always refer back to it as the lesson proceeds. Once the lesson is complete I like to hang it up for reference.
  • Book Review- books are a great way to review a lesson and help children remember what was taught through a story line. Many children remember stories more than they remember lessons. If you can find an appropriate book to cement the lesson that is a great addition. This works especially well for pre-schoool. Most of my lessons actually revolve around books. However for older grades you can find books too that would make the lesson all the clearer.
  • Image Imagination- let the children draw an image in their minds eye with eyes closed as you review the lesson. This will help them retrieve information when they imagine the image they used to describe the lesson.
  • Write it down- writing down the lesson is a great way to review it. For younger children you can use pictures.

Good luck on the reviewing, and remember reviewing is the first step to remembering!

How to prep for a new school year

Prep for a new school year:

Summer is almost over and that means that a new school year is almost upon us- yikes! That thought, I hope is allowing some butterflies in, yet is laced with anticipation and excitement.

We should look forward to new beginnings, however that is not the case with many of us, why? There are numerous reasons ranging from feeling unprepared, nervousness, worry, sad to see the freedom of summer go etc. However were we to capture those feeling and deal with each one, we can make the start of the school year a new beginning in more  ways than one.

In order to make the school year a smooth start and transition for all, we have to prepare for it. Would we go on a vacation without any plans and expect to be relaxed and enjoy? So too, we should not enter the year without any prior planning.

How to be fully prepared and relaxed for the start of the school year:

  1. Find out what emotion you are experiencing and understand where that is coming from. Once you understand that will you be able to address that emotion and take it to the next level. example: you are nervous 
  2. Address the feeling-now that you understand that you are nervous ask yourself why you are feeling that emotion. example: now that you know you are nervous, ask yourself why? It might be that is coming from stress that you would not have enough time to prepare for the school year.
  3. Deal with the feeling-What can you to help you minimize that emotion? 

Many times it is the discovering the feeling, sorting and addressing the emotion that makes you feel validated and able to move on to the next step to ensure that you do not experience the negative emotion again.

Now that you know what you are feeling and why, how can you make that go away? Ask yourself what would make you feel better?

Many times preparation is the key to your answer. Should you prepare beforehand and not wait until the last minute, everything is ready for the school year to start can minimize the sinking in your stomach feeling.

Easy tips to ensure a successful start to the school year:

  • take the quiet time during the summer to reflect on your past school year, what worked what didn’t and what needs tweaking and allow that to be your focus
  • take time for yourself- was there a professional development you wanted to attend or something you want to learn more about to give you additional tools and make you feel better prepared?
  • write a to do list in order of importance and cross off an important task and and enjoyable task everyday
  • try not to leave anything for the last minute, prepare your mailings, your signs, name tags you name it, start early when you do not feel so rushed.

Although these are great tips they may not work for anyone. You must know yourself to help yourself. If you are nervous that you will have a difficult class always ask yourself what is there that you can do that will make you feel better and calmer. You cannot ask yourself this the day before school is about to begin, ask yourself the last day of the prior school year. Preparation is key to a smooth beginning. If attending behavior management classes will make you feel better armed then do so. If having all your copies neatly stacked up will make you feel less worried then get it done.

How to prepare yourself as a parent for the first day of school for your child:

As a parent you may also feel various emotions at the start of the school year. The answer is the same, address and deal with the emotion. Are you worried that your child will not be in the same class as her best friend? Ask yourself what can you do to make yourself feel better about it and do something about it! Perhaps your child is not that concerned and therefore you do not need to be. Discuss it and address it. Do not wake up last minute!

Did your child have a difficult year last year and you are afraid for that to repeat? Ask yourself what you can do about it and address the situation.

Always remember- “Being nervous won’t help you, addressing the emotion would.”

How do you deal with the first days of school?

 

Exercise for kids:

Exercise for Kids:

Getting kids moving is important. It is a great way to build muscle, endurance and flexibility. there are many different exercises that you can do, start off with one and get moving.

Why is exercise important for children?

Exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight while building muscles. In addition, exercise helps improve motor coordination and helps to develop motor skills.

Regular physical activity and movement helps ward off chronic disease.

There are different types of exercises that are children can do.

Running, biking, walking, swimming are all great exercise, however if you want to chin up and work out when the weather is not the greatest, try these.  Join your students or children on the floor and get going!

exercise for kids

Great exercise for kids at home or in school:

  1. Push Ups

    Keep hands straight as you try to lift your body off the ground. this tightens your abs. You can try this with straight or bent knees. Bent knees might be simpler.

  2. Squats

    Bend your knees as if you are sitting down. Keep your feet and shoulders apart. Keep your hands out or on your hips.

  3.  Planking:

Put your elbows on the floor while keeping your back straight and on the tip of your toes. Try to do it as long as possible.

4. Crunches

Pretend you are doing sit ups. Do not sit up all the way, while on your back just bend your knees and sit up half ways.

5.  Lunges:

Stand straight then take one step forward. Bend both knees until they are at about a 90 degree angle.

6.  Burpees:

Burpees are tough, however they help you exercise many different parts of your body. There is an easier way to do it as well as a harder way.

This is a basic sequence of exercise:

  1. go into squat position
  2. drop your hands to the ground in front of you
  3. move or jump legs back to form a plank position
  4. jump or move legs forward again
  5. move back to squat position
  6. stand up or jump up

 There are many great exercises out there to do with your children, this list can help you get started. Sometimes the best exercise is to let the children choose what they prefer and work from there building their muscle and endurance.