How to Inspire Kids
One way to inspire kids to want to perform at their optimal level is to talk about careers. School counselors have found this very successful when trying to get kids motivated in their schoolwork.
Why is this? Kids often feel disconnected from schoolwork. They are overwhelmed with so much “busy work" that they feel it is unnecessary, boring or just plain pointless.
It is up to teachers, counselors and others in a child’s life to help her reconnect. How do we use careers to inspire kids to do their best?
Teachers should connect the learning to a real world situation whenever possible. This is not something you can control as a parent, although you can ask teachers or administrators to do so. Since they are often not open to such suggestions from parents, it may be up to you to do so if schools fail in this area.
How do you connect a learning experience with real world situations? Using history as an example, let’s say your child is studying a unit on American presidents, but your child finds it boring or uninteresting. Ask your child to perform an internet search for something several presidents had in common, such as their philosophies, culture or economic status.
There are also many movies and films depicting many of the historical moments of the country’s history, such as “13 Days," which depicts the chain of events that occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Movies sometimes increase interest and motivate students to learn more about a topic due to the heightened interest level when viewed in dramatic film as opposed to reading a history book.
Another idea is to start a discussion with your child on the importance of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Talking about how close we came to a nuclear war with Russia might inspire kids to look into a career in politics or government, as well as help them understand the importance of people making the right decisions in a crisis.
The factor that often inspires kids more than any other is tying the subject matter into careers. In the above example, you could remind your child that history is important to know in any work situation, such as the history of the company they might work for, examining the policies of a particular career or other historical applications.
Knowing what career area your child is most interested in and finding ways to tie that into their schoolwork is essential. If a child expresses an interest in being a veterinarian, for example, remind him of the skills a veterinarian must have, such as a strong background in math and science. This is sometimes enough to motivate students to do better in related subjects.