Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

Easy Ways To Motivate Kids

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Motivation is the key to learning success. It is the “why” of learning, the incentive and inducement to move your kids to action. Children’s motivation often varies depending on the people involved, the setting, what the task is, and of course, what it involves. The real key to developing  your kids’  motivation is to find out what motivates them.  As a parent, you are most essential to the development of your children’s motivation. You can make a difference in their attitude toward learning at home and school, and encourage their interest and perseverance in the tasks they undertake. 

Here are some helpful hints to help develop your young ones’ motivation:

  • Provide a loving, accepting home environment.
  • Be concise in your guidance. Use as few words as possible.
  • Give positive feedback often.
  • Set a good example. Be interested and interesting on your own learning journey!
  • Build on your children’s strengths. Down play any challenges.
  • Parallel schoolwork with their outside of school interests. Use analogies when appropriate.
  • Help your young ones to set attainable goals.
  • Provide structure and organization to help them attain their goals.
  • Always offer 2-3 choices when asking them to begin a task.
  • Emphasize progress made along the way.
  • Reinforce behaviors that are desired. Downplay any negative attitudes.
  • Choose rewards with your kids that are congruent to their interests. If you don’t know wht motivates your kids,  just ask them. They will be sure to tell you.

You have the power  and strength within you to motivate your children. Remember, the past is were you learned the lesson. The future is where you apply it. Don’t give up in the middle! Your kids will be all the better for it. They may even thank you one of these days…..

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Effective Parent/Teacher Conferences


It is important for you to prepare for a meeting with your child’s teacher and help set the tone. Meeting time is limited, so go well prepared.


  • Talk to your child to find out if there is anything you should know.
  • Review your child’s progress: report cards, progress updates, homework, or work sent home for your review. Note any special talents, or areas of difficulty.
  • Consider family circumstances and routines that may be affecting your young one’s behavior.
  • Make a list of questions and concerns.
  • Get a baby sitter for younger siblings!


  • Tell the teacher what you want to know.
  • Give priority to areas of special concern.
  • Carefully, listen to what the teacher shares with you.
  • Find out what you can do to help your child meet the teacher’s expectations, and personal goals for him/her.
  • Thank the teacher for his/her concern, time, and effort on your child’s part.


  • Involve your youngster by sharing your parent/teacher discussion.
  • Offer to help your child to stay on track.
  • Volunteer in school or your child’s classroom.
  • Remind yourself that what happens after the conference is just as important as the meeting itself.
  • Keep in touch with your child’s teacher.
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End The Homework Nightmare In Five Easy Steps

Even in the most well-functioning families under ideal circumstances, homework can be one of the biggest contributors to a parent-child crisis. If you are like most parents, you feel a mixture of emotions about the homework challenge. Some of them are positive, but many of them are unpleasant. You can turn those negative feelings into positive ones by following the 5 Steps To End The Homework Nightmare.

1. Adapt the Home Physical Environment
Choose an appropriate place free of distractions (pets, video games, TV, friends, etc.).
Develop a routine. Set a regular homework time and stick to it.
Supply a homework survival kit (sharpened pencils, pens, markers, crayons, ruler, scissors, etc.).
Put up a “DO NOT DISTURB Sign – no kidding!!!! The visual cue emphasizes the seriousness and importance of the task at hand.

2. Identify Tasks That Your Child Can Do Independently
Choose the easiest assignment first. It will build confidence and set the tone for the homework session.
Use assoociation techniques. Address nonmastered skills by associating the material with something that is already known. (e.g. If you can spell book, spell cook. Just change the first letter. 2 thousand pounds = one ton. A compact car weighs about 2 thousand pounds.)
Set goals for homework completion. Use a clock or a timer to help kids develop a sense of timeliness for required tasks.

3. Give Direction And Guidance For More Difficult Tasks
Separate text from graphics. Start with the graphics. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Reverse roles. You become the student. The child becomes the teacher. When your child explains the concept and gives details to you, it is one of the best ways to fortify his learning.

4. Accept responses As Genuine Effort
We all don’t function on full capacity 24/7. Your kid, who appears to be lazy, may be just plain tired from a busy day at school. Poor handwriting may be the result of not having proper lines on the paper, or perhaps there’s not enough space for the answer, or the writing is too large for the space provided.
Express affirmation for diligence. If your young one is tired or frustrated by the length of the assignment, you could offer to read alternate paragraphs. Your child may also do the even numbered assignments in math or spelling, and you could help with the odd numbered ones. If you ever happen to use this approach, it is in the best for all concerned that you mention your child’s frustration level to the length of the assignment when doing homework with his teacher. Perhaps the skill needs to be modified or retaught.

5. Focus On The Goal Of The Assignment
Keep in mind the focus of the assignment. Do not let poor skills in reading, spelling, or math interfere with the intended goal of the lesson and homework assignment. By telling your child an unknown word or numeral, you are permitting your youngster to gain knowledge and locate an answer rather than teaching reading mechanics. In this way, you are fosterong a possible liking for social studies, math, or science rather than a dislike for reading.

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Finding The Perfect Preschool

Deciding on a preschool for your child is an important decision requiring a lot of thought and research. You want your child’s first experience in school to be a positive one filled with enthusiasm and happy memories. There are several factors to keep in mind as you make your decision. Among the first, should be the location of the school. Do you want something close to home or work? How far are you willing to drive?

Another consideration is the school’s reputation. Do you have any friends who send their children to the school or who know any of the staff? Talk to them while doing your research and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions.

Before calling the school, make a list of questions that are important to you, such as student to teacher ratio, the staff’s credentials, what types of activities the kids engage in, and what is the level of progression from year to year. Also, be sure to ask if the school is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a sign that the school is trustworthy and reliable.

Take a tour of the school and observe the class where your child will be attending. During the visit, notice how the teachers interact with the young ones in their charge, their demeanor toward each other, and their overall peronality.

Finally, note the students themselves. If they are happy in their surroundings and you feel comfortale, it just may be the perfect preschool for your precious child.

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