How to motivate your child for school? –

How to motivate your child for school?

Posted by Pénélope Venskus on

How to motivate your child for school?

First of all, it is good to know that there are several components to academic motivation and that it is dynamic over time. It is therefore likely that your child's motivation varies according to the different stages of his life, the environment and the people around him. We are going to summarize here what it is possible to do in adequacy with the academic motivation in the family environment, aspect on which we have the most impact. Moreover, family background is one of the most important factors to consider when addressing the issue of academic motivation.

Make an initial analysis of the situation

Analyzing your child's situation to better understand it is part of the key solution. School failures can be caused by several elements: a need for attention, too much pressure, a difficult family situation, a disruptive event, etc. Nevertheless, you have to focus on what you can change as a parent. The motivation of the child is part of it.

What has worked before?

You must first focus on the child's strengths and check with him how he proceeded when he achieved his goals in the past. Ask him questions such as: how did you manage to pass in the previous exam? How did you revise to get this grade? It is also important to validate how the child felt when he succeeded, and then to build on this feeling afterwards.

Be a role model

As a parent, it would be a good idea to set an example and allow our child to observe us in learning situations. When our child sees us investing ourselves, we then become a model for him.

Encourage perseverance, effort and mastery of a subject

According to a 2012 CEP study, certain behaviors can affect a child's motivation. To encourage intelligence, talent and achievement is to encourage factors over which the child has no control. Conversely, valuing effort, perseverance and mastery of a subject are aspects on which the child has the means to intervene and change things.

Promote autonomy

Promoting your child's autonomy allows him to be intrinsically motivated, to take charge of his learning and his success (CEP 2012). Conversely, the repeated use of rewards and punishments (extrinsic motivation) in connection with school results can lead to the child's discouragement (Grolnick, Friendly, Belles 2009).

Define aims

You should set high but realistic goals for your child. Realistic means that they are adjusted to his abilities. If he is old enough to take part, involve him in setting goals. Furthermore, children and adolescents have a way of functioning that adapts better to short-term plans.  It is therefore preferable to target a goal such as his next oral presentation or his next physics exam.

Self-confidence and self-knowledge 

Self-confidence necessarily influences academic success. Indeed, it has been proven that the student who has a better self-esteem succeeds more easily in school. Obviously, it is not this self-esteem or his self-knowledge that will help him understand a text, write it or solve a problem. However, there is indeed a relationship between the efforts he devotes to learning and his perseverance when he encounters difficulties (Bourgeois 2006). So how do you improve your child's self-esteem? It is a work in several stages. Start by enrolling him in an extracurricular activity that interests him. The important thing is that he feels valued by this activity. No need to sign him up for hockey if he wants to play the violin!

Get involved

The link between parental involvement and academic success is clearly established. Studies have shown a clear link between parental involvement and intrinsic child motivation. Even if parents are unable to help their child in a particular subject or with an ability to develop skills, they can still play a crucial role in encouraging the child, in relation to his skills ( Gottfried, Flemig & Gottfried 1994). Indeed, children who have a positive attitude related to school often results from the involvement of parents.


Finally, if you have already tested our strategies and it still does not work, do not hesitate to take the services of a tutor at Mon Tuteur . According to CRTREQ 2014, several studies suggest that mentoring improves:

  • Academic performance;
  • The perception of their ability at school;
  • The relationship with their parent;
  • The behaviour.


    Bourgeois E. (2006). “The motivation to learn”. In E.Bourgeois & G. Chapelle (eds.), Learn and teach . Paris: PUF, p. 229-246.

    Self-knowledge, self-esteem and academic motivation, B. Galand, & E. Bourgeois (EDS), 27-39, 2006

    CENTER ON EDUCATION POLICY (2012). What Roles Do Parent Involvement, Family Background, and Culture Play in Student Motivation?, Washington.

    Gottfried, AE, Fleming, JS, & Gottfried, AW (1994). Role of parental motivational practices in children's academic intrinsic motivation and achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86(1), 104-113.

    Grolnick, WS, Friendly, RW, & Bellas, VM (2009). Parenting and children's motivation at school. In KR Wenzel & A. Wigfield (Eds.), Educational psychology handbook series. Handbook of motivation at school (pp. 279–300). Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

    Share this post

    ← Older Post Newer Post →

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.