Motivation For Students: 20 Steps To Motivate Your Child To Learn

motivation for students - child using colored pencil

Motivate your child to learn well by using strategic ways of motivation for students that have been used by teachers and tutors alike.

This article also includes helpful resources and tactics, such as: 

  • Suggested activities. 
  • Identifying and cultivating the kind of motivation your child needs
  • Teaching resources you can find online, such as sheets, charts, videos, modules, etc. 
  • Words of motivation for students that you can say to your child.

So, if you want to help your kid acquire the best motivation for learning despite boredom in online classes or school restrictions, make sure to read on and bookmark this post. 

Let’s get started! 

What is Student Motivation?

student motivation for everyday learning

Motivation for students impacts their desire to engage in the learning process—it also involves the goals or reasons that cause your child’s participation or non-participation in learning activities. Your children may be equally motivated to work on a task, but the origin of their motivation may vary. 

Let me explain further; universally, there are two types of student motivation for learning

Intrinsic Motivation


Intrinsic motivation for children happens when your kids find the lessons enjoyable, and they love the sense of accomplishment when the tasks are done. Basically, they are intrinsically motivated for the activity’s sake and the learning it permits. 

Extrinsic Motivation

extrinsic motivation for children is caused by an external factor such as a grandfather teaching the kid how to ride a bike

Students motivation for learning happens extrinsically when your children perform a task IN ORDER TO acquire a reward, praise, or simply avoid negative consequences. These external motivators usually come in as fancy stickers, grades, candy or ice cream rewards, parents’ opinions, and teachers’ approval. 

Now that we have reviewed these two types of motivation for learning, let’s talk about the different ways you can motivate your child to learn better, whether at school, home, or anywhere. 

1. Make reading a habit.

Reading is such a vital key to learning. In fact, studies show that reading to young children has a direct causal effect on their academic life regardless of their home environment or family background. So, developing an atmosphere of reading in the classroom, especially at home, is essential. 

If you want your children to develop a love for learning, instill in them the love for reading first. And, remember that more often than not, a child who struggles with reading also struggles with learning. 

Suggested activity: read to your children (or with them) at least 20 minutes every day. 

Resources: [BLOG POST] 10 books to help children to read and write

Words of motivation for students: 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”


2. Find what interests your child.

As a tutor, teacher, or parent who wants to boost the motivation for learning in kids, make sure not to focus entirely on what you are required to teach or what you want to teach. Instead, find what interested your child—what intrinsically motivates them to learn more. Discover what your students need or want. 

Are they interested in prehistoric animals? Animatronic dinosaurs will interest them! How about dragons and other animals, whether fictional or real? Animal puppets will surely catch their attention! 

Suggested activity: Expose your children to different educational experiences and pay close attention to the activities they choose. Then, to talk to them and ask them what they like most about the activity. Once you figure out their interests, make sure to incorporate such into each learning activity. 

Resources: [PDF] Child Interests Activity Checklist

Words of motivation for students:

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”


3. Cultivate your child’s learning styles.

A children’s motivation for learning is often driven by their learning preferences or styles. While some kids may have a primary learning style, others learn well while using a mix of several different learning styles. 

Now, remember that learning styles are unique to each child. So, there isn’t one right or wrong style. However, helping your kid discover his or her preferred learning style will also help you motivate your child to learn more and learn better. 

Here are the eight fundamental learning styles: 

    • Visual – spatial learners prefer visual presentations. 
    • Auditory – aural learners prefer listening to information. 
    • Verbal – linguistic learners enjoy wordplay and rhymes and talking about the lesson. 
    • Physical – tactile learners learn better when they interact with things physically. 
    • Logical – analytical learners often look for trends and patterns in what they learn. 
    • Social – these learners gain more insight with social interactions. 
    • Solitary – solo learners thrive better when they study alone.
    • Natural – nature learners do best when they interact with Mother Nature. 

Suggested activity (for each learning style): 

  1. Watch an educational movie with your children, such as a dinosaur movie for kids. 
  2. Speak out poems or words in rhymes with your child.
  3. Group discussion or class presentation 
  4. Exercise activities, basic sports, dancing, acting, drawing activities 
  5. Problem-solving activities
  6. Different team building activities, group games and discussions
  7. Journaling activities, writing essays, individual learning activities 
  8. Outdoor trips or classes outdoors, “hands-on” experiments 

Resources (for each learning style): 

  1. Visual aids, charts, photographs, tables, graphs
  2. Audiobooks, music instruments, poems
  3. Role play scripts, famous speeches 
  4. Ball, bicycle, drawing materials 
  5. Simple to complex math problems, puzzle pieces 
  6. Q and A items, game materials for groups 
  7. Reward items for individual accomplishments 
  8. Pictures of nature, a documentary about nature or planet earth 

Words of motivation for students:

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

kid learning through a tactile learning style

4. Ensure that the learning objectives are clear to your child.

Students can quickly lose motivation and even get frustrated to behave in class, perform a task, or finish an assignment if your objectives for the lessons are not defined clearly. Learning motivation for children and even older students involves making sure that they know what is expected of them so that they can stay motivated to learn and work. 

Suggested activity: Before each lesson, set clear objectives, expectations of students, and rules so that your kids won’t be confused, and they will have clear goals to work towards. 

Resources: [MODULE & SHEETS] Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback 

Words of motivation for students:

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."

learning motivation for children - goal setting

5. Keep the lessons fun and engaging for your kid.

Besides knowing your child’s interests and learning style, you can make the learning process engaging and fun by leveraging game-based learning—it is one of the most effective educational tools that allow the development of non-cognitive skills while paving the way for more in-depth learning. 

Most importantly, games boost the students’ motivation for learning as their minds experience pleasure and competitiveness while learning new things. 

Suggested activity: At least once a week, play board games with your children—ones that have an educational value. 

Resources: Chess board, Scrabble, Monopoly, Puzzle Pieces

Words of motivation for students:

“Even though you’re growing up, you should never stop having fun.”

children having fun as they learn new things

6. Remember the EVC model.

EVC stands for Expectancy – Value – Cost—this model will help you motivate your child to learn and predict your child’s behaviors towards achievement while in the learning process.

Expectancy defines your child’s expectation in succeeding when a task is assigned—this motivates the students as they feel empowered to meet and even exceed the learning objectives. 

Value defines how the students perceive the importance of engaging in the learning process or participating in a task—it brings meaning to what needs to be done because your kid understands why the tasks are valuable. 

Cost defines the hurdles that prevent the children’s capacity to succeed on a certain task in the learning process. While some kids expect to succeed, others might see obstacles which could decrease student motivation

Suggested activity: Before letting the student perform an academic activity, consider asking the following questions: 

  • Expectancy – Can my student do the task? 
  • Value – Does my student want to do the task? 
  • Cost – Are my students free of hurdles that prevent them from investing their resources, time, energy, attention to the task at hand? 

Resources: [MODULE] Free Learning Activities for Kids 

Words of motivation for students:

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

kid motivated to study

7. Keep encouraging your child and offering incentives.

Students thrive in positive reinforcement and approval from parents, teachers, and tutors alike. Your kids will become more motivated to learn if they feel that their work is valued and recognized. 

So, encourage your students to think freely and communicate openly, and make sure to praise them often and acknowledge their contributions. A “great work” or “job well done” can go a long way in motivating your child to learn

Also, offering your children small incentives can make the learning process more fun and motivating—think about incentives that can range from small to large, and don’t forget to give a special privilege to an exemplary student. 

Suggested activity: Conduct a recitation activity and make sure to utilize positive reinforcement and words of affirmation. 

Resources: 50 Things You Can Say To Encourage A Child

Words of motivation for students:

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”

student motivation for learning - offering incentives

8. Let your kid practice autonomy.

Autonomy can boost students’ motivation for learning—by giving them freedom of choice, you can tap better on their interests and allow them to perform well according to their learning styles. Practicing autonomy can include letting students have a voice in their seating arrangement, choosing their group members, or selecting a few choices in a list of homework. 

Suggested activity: List several activities you can do for the day and let your children choose a few according to their interests (e.g., list 10 science experiment options and let your child pick 5). 

Resources: [MODULE] Developing Responsible and Autonomous Learners: A Key to Motivating Students

Words of motivation for students

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

kid learning on his own, practicing autonomy

9. Change the scenery once in a while.

While the classroom or study room is an excellent place for learning, sitting at a desk every day can make the learning process a bit uninteresting for some learners. So, make sure to jazz it up a bit by allowing your students to learn outside of their classroom or study room. 

If possible, take your kids to field trips and amusement parks, conduct experiments in the garden, or go to the library for research. 

Suggested activity: Depending on the current lesson, schedule a field trip activity at least once a month. 

Resources: [BLOG POST] 49 Fun & Educational Field Trip Ideas 

Words of motivation for students:

“Knowing Is Not Enough; We Must Apply. Wishing Is Not Enough; We Must Do.”

a child learning more in a dinosaur theme park

10. Give your children responsibility and allow them to work together as students.

Assigning tasks to your kids, such as classroom jobs is a great avenue to build camaraderie which boosts the students motivation for learning. Contrary to adults’ belief, young students find classroom responsibilities as a privilege instead of a burden. So, most of them will work hard and make sure that their classmates are also meeting your expectations. 

Also, allow your children to work together and take turns in leading the activities assigned to them as a group. 

Suggested activity: Create a plan that will grant responsibility to the kids, such as household chores, classroom activities, and group projects. 

Resources: [CHARTS] Free Printable Weekly Chore Charts

Words of motivation for students:

"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."

students motivation for learning - responsibility and teamwork

11. Set high but attainable goals for the kids

Learning motivation for children also requires pushing them to do more than the bare minimum. If you don’t, your students won’t also seek to push themselves on their own. So, set high but attainable goals because children love challenges and will most likely work better to meet high expectations so long as they are convinced that the goals set are within their reach. 

Suggested activity: Goal setting with your kids. 

Resources: [ARTICLE] Goal Setting for Students, Kids, and Teens 

Words of motivation for students:

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

a parent helping her child set high but attainable goals

12. Make sure to provide constructive feedback and give lots of room for improvement.

Children who are struggling in class may find motivation for learning scarce, and they often become frustrated. If this happens, it’s vital that you, as the parent, teacher, or tutor, provides constructive feedback that will help them effectively progress in the learning process. 

Teach the kids where they went wrong and what they can do to improve next time, and make sure that you give them lots of room for improvement. 

Suggested activity: Once a week, conduct a mini-coaching session with your child so that you are up-to-date on where he or she is, not just academically, but also emotionally and intellectually.  

Resources: [BLOG POST] 20 Ways To Provide Effective Feedback For Learning

Words of motivation for students

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

a mother providing feedback to her son

13. Leverage role models

Learning motivation for children includes seeking role models who will help them see the relevance of each subject matter. A study shows that students find a teacher as their role model who makes them more interested in learning science. 

Now, remember that role models can vary from one child to another due to differences in age, social circles, and gender. 

Suggested activity: Once in a while, explain to your child what a role model is and ask them who they look up to as a role model and incorporate that person to his or her learning process. 

Resources: [BLOG POST] Introducing Kids To Positive Role Models

Words of motivation for students

“Pick your role models wisely.”

a mother being a role model to her children

14. Take advantage of peer models

Using peer models can also be an excellent motivation for learning. Children learn when they see their peers succeed at a task—peers can also be their co-students or anyone who the child identifies with, and are usually drawn from groups according to age, gender, clothing styles, ethnicity, achievement level, and interests. 

Suggested activity: Ask your kids who their peers are and what they like about them, and let the children discover the positive attributes of their peers that they can use in their achievement. 

Resources: [BLOG POST] 10 Things To Teach Your Child About Choosing Friends 

Words of motivation for students:

“Be careful of the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.”

motivate your child to learn by picking role model friends

15. Encourage your kid to exercise.

Exercise activities help boost learning motivation for children by releasing pent-up energy that usually leads to a loss in focus when studying thereby making the child frustrated. Teach your kid that regular exercise or play time outside under the sun improves overall well-being. 

Suggested activity: Each day, allow your child to have plenty of physical activities before he or she gets on her desk to study—a quick walk around the block or some interactive fitness video games. 

Resources: [VIDEO] 10 Fun Daily Exercise For Kids To Do At Home

Words of motivation for students:  

‘Action is the foundational key to all success.’

child exercising on a trampoline outside the house

16. Create a study plan with your child.

Student motivation for learning demands structure. So, a concrete and strategic study plan is necessary to ensure that your child is on track. Involve your child when creating a study plan so that you can make sure that he or she taps on his or her interest and learning styles. Also, this is a great practice of building learning autonomy. 

Suggested activity: Once a week, sit down with your kids and create a study plan for homework, exams, and other subjects your children may find a little bit difficult. 

Resources: [PDF] Study Timetable Template

Words of motivation for students:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done”

parent and child creating a study plan together

17. Allow an easy study time and environment.

Besides giving proper study time breaks, you can motivate your child to learn and study more by providing him or her with everything necessary to get the job done well, such as a quiet space, food and drink, the right tools (i.e., a calculator, papers, eraser, pencils, etc.)

Suggested activity: Every day, check on your children and ask them if they are comfortable with the space you provided for them to study and if they need anything else to help them focus or learn better. 

Resources: [IMAGES] 60+ Study Room Ideas for Kids

Words of motivation for students:

“Motivation is what sets you in motion, habit is what keeps you going”

motivation for learning - a good study environment

18. Build a reward system that will excite your child.

Reward systems are a huge help in the students motivation for learning. Besides offering incentives which can be given anytime, reward systems are a structure that your child can look forward to or get excited about after completing challenging school work or homework. 

Suggested activity: Once study time is complete, allow your kids to play video games or watch TV or collect points that they can use for something special. 

Resources: [PRINTABLES] Reward System for Kids

Words of motivation for students:

“‎Determination, effort, and practice are rewarded with success.”

nts and kid playing video games together as part of their study-reward system

19. Help your kid cope up with stress through encouraging conversations about thoughts and emotions.

Stress is inevitable, especially in formal education that nowadays are going online. Motivate your child to learn by helping him or her limit stress. Stressed children find it difficult to find the motivation and focus on studying or learning anything. Talk with your kids and ask them about their thoughts and emotions, not just towards their academic life but their life in general. 

Suggested activity: Each night, allow your child to de-stress and talk about possible activities to do during study breaks or after study time, such as listening to music, playing some board games, coloring a book, or going for a short walk with the dog.  

Resources: [ARTICLE] How to Help children and teens manage their stress 

Words of motivation for students:

“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.”

parent and child talking after a stressful day at class

20. Track your child’s progress.

Motivation for learning requires tracking progress because, often, children find it difficult to track their progress or see how far they have come, especially when they encounter difficult subjects. Progress tracking can be used by teachers, parents, and even students so that each one can visually perceive how much the kid is learning, whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.  

Suggested activity: Every week or after each month, sit with your child and discuss their progress on learning—talk about areas that need improvement, and, most importantly, recognize their strengths. 

Resources: [VIDEO] How to Create a Progress Tracker With Google Forms and Google Sheets Pivot Tables

Words of motivation for students:

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”

Did You Find These Student Motivation Steps Helpful?

If you find these steps to motivate your child to learn very useful, don’t forget to bookmark this page so that you can access it readily, anytime (we’ll update this post as much as we can). Also, feel free to share it with your family and friends—help them boost their kids’ motivation for learning! 

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