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How to Increase a Child’s Learning Motivation

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Kathy Kenny Ylaya Ngo · Updated Dec 11, 2020

How to Increase a Child’s Learning Motivation

Every parent looks forward to the day their child starts school. Visions of their kid excelling in class and coming home with a star stamped on their hands fill their dreams. What happens then if the child is not motivated to learn? How to motivate a child to learn becomes the question that consumes parents. 

How to Motivate a Child with the 7 Learning Styles 

According to educator Neil Fleming, there are seven learning styles, and each child learns in his own different way. These learning styles are: 

  • Visual or Spatial 
  • Verbal or Linguistic 
  • Aural or Auditory-Musical
  • Physical or Kinesthetic
  • Logical or Mathematical 
  • Social or Interpersonal 
  • Solitary or Intrapersonal 

Some children learn with just one style while others may be a combination of two or even more learning styles. Finding out how your child learns is key to increasing your child’s learning motivation. For example, a child who is Physical/Kinetic can learn to count faster if you let him do jumping jacks while yelling “one, two, three…” with every jump.

A Social/Interpersonal child will enjoy learning activities with his peers while a Solitary/Intrapersonal child will appreciate online lessons alone. When you are able to figure out how your kid learns, you can find the right activity or program to keep them motivated to learn. This is the first key to finding an effective way to increase a child’s learning motivation. 

How to Motivate a Child to Learn

1. Listen, Don’t Judge

Kids who are not motivated to learn may receive a lot of judgment from parents, teachers, other parents, or even their peers. They may hear things like “lazy,” “absent-minded,” or even “stupid.” Hearing these statements will not motivate a child to do better. Parents must learn how to talk to a child who may believe he is not smart enough, and to listen and not judge whatever the child tells them. Judging will simply hinder any attempts to increase a child’s learning motivation. 

When you are able to encourage healthy communication and come up with a solution together, the child will feel that you are there for them, cheering them on, and this will motivate a child to learn.

2. Celebrate Small Wins

When your child accomplishes something new, celebrate it. Tell him he did a good job. Remind him of what he was unable to do before and now that he has achieved it, tell him that you are proud of what he’s done. Children love validation. It helps in your quest to increase a child’s learning motivation.   

This should not be confused with the rewards-and-punishment system. Never punish them for failing when they tried because kids will learn to fear failure. This is not good because they will stop trying because they wouldn’t want to fail. 

3. Develop Healthy Study Habits 

Teach your child to have healthy study habits. Designate an appropriate study area for your child in your home to keep distractions at a minimum. Show him the value of study breaks and develop a study plan together to minimize stress.  

When kids understand that there is a certain way that they can follow to be able to study successfully according to their learning style, it becomes less of a task for them and more of a learning period that they can enjoy daily.

4. Read More, Scroll Less 

When kids see adults reading, they become curious about books. Books are not just a great source of information, they are also what fires up your child’s imagination. What they learn from books stimulates their curiosity and encourages them to learn more about different things. 

Encourage your kids to love reading. This is the fastest way to increase a child’s motivation to learn. A child who reads loves learning new things. 

Lessen screen time and make reading time a part of your family bonding. This can be done in the afternoon after you’ve had a healthy lunch or before bedtime when one or both parents can read to their child or guide their child in choosing their reading material. 

5. Form a Support System 

When a child is not motivated to learn, sometimes a parent is the last person they want to hear encouragement from because they fear to hear the disappointment of their parents. Instead of adding pressure, you can find a mentor in the form of an older student, sibling, or teacher that the child feels comfortable with. Ask them for help in motivating your child to study or learn new things. 

6. Study Hard, Play Harder 

One reason that kids might not be motivated to learn is that they think it takes time away from their playtime. In addition to showing them the value of studying hard, you can also show them that what they learn can make them enjoy play better.

For example, learning the laws of physics can make them better at sports, learning math can make them enjoy cooking even more, and learning history can make them appreciate video games of battles. By being able to play better, they will learn to enjoy study time more. Make sure as well that they are properly nourished. Kids learn better when their stomach is not empty.

This is how to increase a child’s motivation more effectively. When you teach them the value of both worlds, they will see the importance of both learning and playing. 

7. Be Your Child’s Cheerleader

 Sometimes, our good intentions tend to annoy our kids. We want to push them to do better but not pressure them. Remember that you need to be a cheerleader, guiding and encouraging from the sidelines but not a helicopter hovering above them, guarding every move. The constant hover will have the opposite effect, making them less motivated to learn. 

There are many ways to help kids on how to increase learning motivation. What matters is that you, as a parent, find out what works and what doesn’t work for your child and then decide together the plan of action. When kids make this decision with you, they are more likely to try better because they know you are both pushing for what’s best for them.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Kathy Kenny Ylaya Ngo · Updated Dec 11, 2020

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