Here are some ways to help keep your child engaged with what’s going on in math class and in school overall during the winter:
• Have daily check-in conversations with your child. A daily check-in sends the message that school is important. It also reminds your child that you’re interested in what’s going on in class and are there to help! If your child seems less enthusiastic about math and school compared to earlier in the school year, ask meaningful questions and use your child's answers as a starting point to provide inspiration and enhance motivation.
• Champion positive reinforcement. Give your child some well-deserved praise and celebrate accomplishments! It is important to remember to be specific—statements such as “Nicely done! That’s a really creative solution you came up with for that word problem!” or “I can tell you put a lot of thought into this!” are more meaningful reinforcements than a simple “Good job!”
• Celebrate successes and include applicable rewards when warranted. Share success by taking the family out to dinner after your child completes a particularly difficult test or assignment. Smaller accomplishments can be rewarded with bonus TV or game time on weekends. Be mindful about when to use these strategies so they do not turn into weekly negotiations and remain special celebrations for your child's outstanding work and accomplishments.
• Always incorporate an active and healthy schoolwork / play balance. Too much time indoors as temperatures plummet can make kids feel restless and unmotivated—work in some active playtime and make sure your child gets enough exercise. Finally, mixing learning and fun is always a great idea—play some math games together or organize active and fun playdates with your kids friends.
We would love to hear some of your successful strategies for keeping your kids motivated!