Motivate your child to learn at home

Schools are open again, but many children who show Covid symptoms or test positive are losing out as they stay at home to self-isolate. Check out our expert tips for parents on keeping kids motivated to learn.


Under Government guidelines, all schools must provide remote education to support those who are staying at home. Yet The Office for National Statistics found that most British children struggled to learn from home during the first lockdown, with three-quarters of parents giving a lack of motivation as the reason why. Essential Living have worked with counsellor Kerry Quigley* on a handy guide for parents to help keep children motivated while learning from home.

Start and stick to a routine

A routine is extremely important, as it gives structure to the day and is mentally beneficial. A recent study found that children feel safer and more secure when their lives have a predictable routine. Having a routine can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing, no matter what your age.

Kerry Quigley says: ‘Children learn better in a structured routine. Where possible maintain a consistent sleep pattern, mealtimes and regular breaks. This will help to support your child’s concentration and energy levels.’

Your routine should be similar to a normal school day, including going outdoors, different types of skills learning and regular breaks. See A School Day: Routine at Home for some ideas.

If your child's school uploads tasks for them to complete every day, ensure they know what they have to do and that they have the equipment to complete them.

Create a rewards-based system

A rewards system is a great motivational tool used by teachers to encourage children to do something they may not enjoy by rewarding them for hard work and good behaviour.

Not only does it motivate but also helps improve behaviour. Deducting points for bad behaviour can be a good alternative to some other forms of punishment, like being sent to the naughty step which interrupts your routine and distracts workflow. Kerry Quigley comments: ‘It is important to remember to praise and reward their achievements. This will build upon your child’s self-esteem and encourage independence.’

Unsure where to start? Here is a tutorial example with parental tips for creating a rewards system for your child: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQqGUCguWyY&feature=emb_logo

Children can benefit from sticker charts and it’s a good idea to get them involved with creating and keeping the chart up to date. Encourage children to decorate a piece of paper themselves to use as their own personal rewards chart. Let them choose different coloured stickers and give them a target to achieve each day. Giving daily targets will help to boost self-confidence and motivate them to reach their goal.

For older children, try offering other types of incentives such as an extra hour of television or a small gift for their efforts.

Introduce cooking

We often focus on one learning area like maths or science, forgetting that we can choose activities that incorporate several learning concepts, such as cooking. Children take pride in seeing something they have helped to create and there is a multitude of learning opportunities in preparing and cooking food.

Choose a recipe every day, including different ingredients like flour or eggs. Use scales and ask them to weigh out different measurements. This will help them to understand concepts such as weights and fractions.

Other skills kids can learn through cooking include:

• Hygiene skills issues, such as the importance of washing hands.

• Reading labels for nutritional information.

• The importance of a balanced diet and the different food groups.

• Basic safety skills such as preventing burns from hot pans and the stove.

Here are some family-friendly recipes for kids to help you get started:

Encourage your children to stay connected

During the first lockdown, many parents became increasingly concerned that not attending school or social events would hold back their child's development at such an early age. If you are worried about your child, take steps to help them stay connected.

To help provide normality, allow them to interact online with peers. Schedule regular calls with a member of the family, such as a grandparent, to discuss what they are doing and learning. Knowing they will be speaking with someone from the outside world can give them the boost they might need.

‘Empathising with your child’s feelings will help them to feel heard and understood, and also support a positive relationship between the two of you,’ advises Kerry Quigley.

*Kerry Quigley has been a counsellor for over 17 years and is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

For any more advice or guidance from Counsellor Quigley, you can contact her through the Glister Counselling website: https://glister.uk.com/contact...

Visit www.essentialliving.co.uk


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