What Should I Do if My Kids Are Too Lazy to Study?
Are kids who aren't very motivated to do school work lazy kids? Find out how you can help your child struggling in school.
Being unmotivated and procrastinating with study time is a common problem I hear from parents. But fret not, there are definitely many ways to tackle this problem!
Offer beneficial distractions
You might think “beneficial” and “distraction” do not go together. It’s time to change that outdated mindset, because under the right circumstances, distractions can boost your child’s learning curve.
It is useful to identify what your child likes to do outside of school time, whether it be sports or games like Pokemon Go. Rather than blanket such things as negative, why not think of them as a potential motivator for your child to continue studying?
Based on personal experience, I used to love to go to the nearby park just to walk and enjoy the greenery. My parents let me exchange three hours of study time (inclusive of short breaks, of course!) with an hour of play time. Such a pattern would maintain a source of motivation for your child, because if they do not put in study time, their leisure time suffers too.
What type of learner is your child? Take the time to find out!
Many parents lament that they are too pressured to spend the time to find out what types of learning works best for their child. Our advice is to start this discovering process early and focus on it from there.
Children vary widely in their modes of absorption. While every child is subjected to the usual classroom style teaching, parents can make a lot of difference if they vary their teaching at home. You know your child best, and if they are more receptive to visual and audio stimulation, you might want to translate the content of classroom teaching into these modes.
Do not get the wrong idea: it does not take a whole lot of your time. Based on my tuition experience, a time-saving way would be to look at the wordy version of their syllabus and do an offhand “translation” into whichever mode they understand best.
Start with the subjects/topics your child likes best
This is one of the easiest ways to get your child to study. Regrettably, not many parents seem receptive towards this idea, but we are here to change it!
Many parents would face the dilemma of their child being very strong in one or a few subjects at the expense of the other. Fret not, this is very normal. While you try to tackle this problem, keep in mind that this may not be a bad sign. It is likely a sign of what areas your child will perform in later on.
But focusing on the now, it is a good idea to start with the topics they like best, for example, the MCQ section in science papers. Let them spend more time on the subjects they prefer before alternating with the weaker subjects. In this case, a 2-hour: 1-hour ratio is ideal, but of course make sure the child is comfortable with whichever ratio you allocate.
Slowly lengthen the time spent on weaker subjects as the days go by, and you are bound to see improvement! I see my students struggling with subjects like physics or maths. If they are really weak in those subjects, choosing a good physics tutor can really make that subject more enjoyable for the student.
Go back to being a child for a day, or maybe longer
Instead of looking at their laziness with regard to academics from an adult point of view as we all do, why not try going back to your childhood days for a moment? Why are kids too lazy to study? Perhaps lazy is the wrong word. Unwilling might be more suitable to describe their situation. If kids spend a lot of time on things they are interested in, laziness would not be an apt descriptor, wouldn’t it?
Perhaps they do not want to practice math because they do not see how it is relevant to their future aspirations. If this is the case, parents can use creative ways to make them understand the rules of the game at this stage. Bring them to the park and pretend to displace your water bottle to make them practise probability, as such an example shows how you can make what they read in textbooks be applicable to real-life situations.
Make them understand that while it is good to have aspirations and be mature enough to know that subjects like Math actually turn out to be largely irrelevant to working life, it is also equally important to give your best in the task at hand whether you like it or not, because this shows discipline. Not liking certain subjects is a very normal sign. As parents, instead of criticising it, why not praise them for knowing what they like?
Math for me was a subject which I disliked (hated is more like it) but I got A for all my national exams from primary to tertiary level. This was only because I recognised it as an indicator of discipline and my ability to do what is required, not just what I want. If they do not understand why they need to study mathematics, even the best maths tutor in Singapore would probably not help matters.
A piece of advice to parents
My advice to parents would be not to make your child like subjects they do not because that is futile. Use the idea of responsibility, and teach them that you cannot be so wilful as to only perform in what you are passionate about because eventually, there will be many things that require your attention that you cannot possibly all like. As long as they have the fortune to do something they like, they should have the grace to make some compromise for a little something they might not like so much.
To all parents out there, there are countless ways to help your child, one of which is not to use the word “lazy” because it has negative connotations about morals which I am sure no child likes to hear. Start with crediting what they are good at before adjusting to what they need help in. This takes time but will work wonders!