Highlight: Helping your child succeed

Is motivation important to your child’s success? Veteran educator Cynthia Ulrich Tobias says yes. She describes how parents and children can work together to help bring success in school—and at home.

Over the years, Cynthia has discovered that many of her students were not motivated to learn. This led her on a quest, as a parent and teacher, to figure out how she could help them develop a deeper level of motivation. The first thing Cynthia encourages parents to do as it relates to motivating children is to listen to them.

“If they come home and they’re frustrated with school; they don’t know how to do things or they’re frustrated with homework, one of the first things you can do is listen. You can empathize and say, ‘Wow that sounds really tough.’”

In addition to listening to our children, it’s important to work with them on creating effective studying habits. Cynthia suggests a few helpful questions to begin this process,

“’What do you think would help you here at home to get homework done?’

‘Maybe at a different time of day?’

‘Work with me here.'”

By experimenting with our children, we will be able to gain a better understanding of their strengths and help motivate them to become better learners. Cynthia reminds parents that during these experiments, we need to always have the bottom line.

“If they say, ‘Well I want to do it on the floor, with a T.V. in the background, I’m going to eat some chips, I want to have headphones on my head with some music, etc.’ Say, okay, I’m to give you two or three days to prove to me that works. If you can prove that it works, I’ll let you keep doing it, but otherwise it’s just an excuse.”

Parents and teachers both play an important role in supporting a child’s academic success. We can provide them with the foundation to make better decisions in school and in life.

Cynthia Ulrich Tobias has a successful background that includes over 30 years as an author and speaker, eight years of teaching public high school, and six years in law enforcement. She has written 13 books including  and .

The Way They Learn