Motivating kids to do schoolwork and have good behavior?

How do you motivate your children to try hard on school work? The public school has so many good grade incentives , plus the motivation of working alongside peers. It seems sometimes it is really hard to motivate my children to do school work at home. I 've thought about grading their work and giving prizes. Also maybe behavior charts/good grade charts . Any suggestions on motivating children to try very hard on school work? Thanks!

I hope some others will chime in here. Some days I feel that I’m more motivated to learn than my kids.

My daughter is 5 and we are doing K4 right now. Somewhere I picked up a pad of incentive charts that have 25 spaces for stickers. She gets to put a sticker on her chart when she has given a remarkably good answer or has done something quite well. When the chart is filled up she gets to choose a special place to go to: donut shop, cupcake store, ice cream place, frozen yogurt place or something like that. I told her early on that she may not ask for a sticker because she won’t get one if she does. So, she still gets lots of verbal praise and high fives and hugs, etc. and every so often I’ll say, “Wow! You get a sticker for that!” Even if we’re not doing school and she shows some great thought about something, I’ll tell her that she gets a sticker for that.

praise, incentives…“do a good job today and get XYZ” time outs for attitude adjustments, a review of a character trait lesson.

Lots of praise and encouragement, mention accomplishments and also good attitudes to dad that night (I like to give an encouraging report as often as possible). But also…it’s kind of just what we expect here. I don’t throw tantrums when I have to do the dishes–I expect my kids to do chores with a good attitude whether they like the chore or not, and that’s where I train attitude. Then, when they are grounded there, I train with school work.

Model a good attitude. If I complain a lot–my kids likely will too. I’m not one who would keep up with an elaborate system of rewards (and honestly, when I saw that through AWANA with their “store,” I’m not sure it really accomplished the goal all that well anyway.) But I would occasionally do incentives like play dates, outings/park days, going for ice cream (I promised my kids ice cream for memorizing the prepositions in Easy Grammar in a week one year!) etc… A couple of times I taped a dollar bill in the back of my kids’ math books–back when a dollar bill meant a big deal to them, LOL!

If kids are struggling with attitude in school–don’t just assume it’s a character issue. Look at the curriculum (is it a poor match, is it making “jumps” your child isn’t ready for yet, does your child have some learning struggles etc…). I think it’s easy to assume kids are lazy or have bad attitudes when something else is going on instead…so I’ve learned to be watchful and prayerful in that regard.

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Depending on their ages, most definitely give incentives and praises. I am going to set somerules for homeschool, just as there is in public school. I want my children to know that yes I am mom, but I am also their teacher and because of that they need to be treated slightly different in and out of school hours. I know that as a mom I am more apt to let my children slide on things, that a teacher would not allow because they need to keep the listening skills of all the other students at close to 100% so that they can learn. I hope this helps

I will be starting homeschool with my kids next year so I am just in the planning staged now. I wonder whether preparing for homeschool gatherings where scholars share presentations/projects would be an incentive. I bet it would!

We will begin homeschooling in the fall, but we will not be using behavior charts of any kind. One of the reasons why is that my oldest child’s teacher currently uses a behavior system that involves moving clips up and down on a color chart and it severely stresses him out. He is special needs and also has anxiety and he gets so incredibly stressed out over making sure his clip stays on a “good” color that he often melts down, which results in (you guessed it!) having to move his clip down. It also stresses him out that a friend or classmate might have to move their clip so he gets bossy and stressed out telling people not to do things so they won’t have to move their clips. My middle child’s class also uses the same color/clip system and he consistently stays on the same starting color, which upsets him. He is a great kid and does his work quickly and well, but he is quiet, so he flies under the teacher’s radar and his clip never gets moved up. This has upset him at times over the year, wondering why he is doing everything asked of him but not getting to move the clip up.

So all of that to explain why we won’t be using a behavior chart/reward system, lol! What we will be doing is asking the kids to meet the same expectations we have always had - speaking with love, having a positive attitude, and loving well. In addition to that, we will ask them to complete their work in a timely manner and we will explain how our three expectations translate to having school at home. That having been said, I’m not completely against implementing some type of behavior or reward system down the road if it seems needed, so I am looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say!

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For us I think the best remedy to this issue has been looking and working on the heart level. I speak to them of what the Lord expects from us, but I also just read good character-building books for children that encourage a desire within them to do well. Also, if we’re having a hard time, if they’re not doing as well as they should while working on school papers or whatever, I stop everything and have a talk with them. Praying with them about the issue, right on the spot, also helps soften their hearts. If it does not soften right away, I know there is some hardness in there the Lord has to work on, so I pray for that child specifically in that area.
Anyway, this is just what I have found. :slight_smile: