Young children are naturally curious; they love to explore and discover. If their exploration brings pleasure or success, they want to learn more. During these early years, your support and guidance can foster in your child a positive attitude towards learning that lasts a lifetime.
As Kumon is primarily a home-based method of study, knowing how to develop your child’s attitude towards learning is key. To assist you, the following tips are adapted from an article titled Motivating Learning in Young Children by Martha Carlton, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Southern Illinois University, and the findings from Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.
- Establish the reasons for study
Children may believe they are doing Kumon for their parents, or for a reward. While this belief may have short-term benefits, it does not provide a healthy approach towards future learning. Ideally, a child will want to learn due to self-motivation. Self-motivated children are more likely to learn and retain information. One step towards nurturing self-motivation is to help the child understand that Kumon is for them; it will help make their school work easier and assists them in achieving future goals.
- Strategies for self-motivation
To encourage your child’s self-motivation, try the following strategies:
- Avoid use of excessive rewards. These provide the child with extrinsic motivation.
- Praise your child based on their persistence and effort, as opposed to their talent or skill. For example, say, ‘Wow, that’s a good score. You must have worked really hard’. This will help your child develop a mindset where they understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort and persistence.
- Rather than stating that you think they have done a good job, ask your child what they think of their work.
- Encourage your child to see mistakes as learning opportunities.
- Motivation cycles
As your child progresses, Kumon will extend your child with advanced problems beyond their comfort zone. Even the most motivated students occasionally find their work difficult or are be reluctant to study. During these times, remind your child how much they have improved, and acknowledge the effort they have put into their studies.
- Supporting your child
For many children, the motivation to learn with Kumon is not instant, as it can take time to see and feel the benefits for themselves. A child may notice the benefits within a few weeks, while some may take more than a year. Supporting your child as they are developing self-motivation may include setting aside a Kumon time and place at home, showing interest in what they are doing, and encouraging their efforts.
If you would like any further advice on how you may be able to further support your child at home, please contact your Kumon centre.