Tips for Keeping Your Child Motivated in the Winter

Jan 25, 2021 | Newmarket

Knowing math makes life easier.


Because our entire world runs on math! It is used all the time in everyday life – cooking, baking, exercising, shopping, driving, sports, video games, computer applications, money management, time management, construction, manufacturing, fashion design, dance, music, nature, and more.

Mastering math is just like mastering other subjects. With consistent effort, studying and solid guidance and instruction, math concepts click into place.

Keeping kids engaged and motivated in math can be a challenge any time during the school year. But in the winter, math motivation sometimes needs an extra boost.

Here are 6 tips for keeping your child motivated this winter:

1. Check-in Daily with Your Child:  A daily check-in with your child sends a very positive message - school is important! It’s also a reminder to your child that you’re interested in what’s going on in their classes and that you are there to help in any capacity that you can. If you notice that your child seems less enthusiastic about math (and school) compared to earlier in the school year, start a conversion. Ask them meaningful questions, and most important, use your child's answers as a real starting point to boost their motivation.


2. Take a Break: Too much time spent time indoors during the chilly winter months can make kids (and parents) feel restless and unmotivated. You can fix this by working in some active playtime and exercise during the day. Step away from devices and screens during this time to give your child (and you) a real rest and chance to re-energize. Getting outdoors, even for a short walk to the mailbox or a walk around the neighbourhood, is a great opportunity benefit from both movement and fresh air.


3. Celebrate & Reward Accomplishments:  When hard work and effort provide results (big or small), celebrate them by doing something special. This ‘something special’ is not meant to be a huge costly undertaking either. Celebrating can be as simple as making them their favourite dessert or meal, ordering in dinner from a favourite local restaurant, renting a movie online or giving them extra TV or gaming time. Also, it’s important to be mindful about when you use these rewards and celebrations. The last thing you want to happen is for these to turn into weekly negotiations or bribery.


4. Champion Positive Reinforcement. Words matter! Give your child some well-deserved verbal praise and encouragement. For this to be effective, you need to be specific and avoid general statements. For example, “Nice work!” does not have the same impact or power as “That is a really creative solution you came up to solve that math problem!”.


5. Stop Telling Your Kids You’re Bad at Math:  Parents, when you tell your children this, you are not easing their concerns, making them feel better or setting them up for math success. You are actually spreading anxiety to your child, which can seriously hurt their grades. Research shows that people who have anxiety will perform below what they are capable of.


6. Make Your Home a Math-Friendly Home: Play math games like monopoly, quirkle, cribbage or puzzles. Involve your children in cooking and baking, which is the great way to explain and learn ratios and proportions. And having them help with budgeting, shopping (in person or online) and even ordering in food are great ways to naturally explore and learn math.


Do you have successful strategies for keeping your kids motivated? We’d love to hear about them! And If you’re family is feeling the math blues this winter, we’re experts in making math fun! Reach out to us at Mathnasium of Newmarket (your local math tutoring centre) for ideas and inspiration!