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9 Ways Singaporean Parents Can Use To Motivate A Reluctant Learner

To your dismay, you have discovered that your kid doesn’t want to learn. She has no motivation whatsoever. Your wheedling and bribing haven’t worked. So you have turned to threatening and punishing. She still doesn’t want to study, doesn’t like school, and isn’t motivated. There are many good tutors in Singapore, so you hire a tutor to give tuition sessions at home. Still no luck.

Don’t start blaming yourself just yet. There are many reasons why your child may not be interested in learning. The truth is, this happens at some point in every kid’s life. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad parent. It’s not entirely laziness that is the issue. Other issues may be in play.

Why It Is Difficult to Motivate Your Reluctant Learner

First of all, children in Singapore may be reluctant to learn because the parents are obsessed with academic excellence. It is no secret that parents in Singapore want your kids to be the best.

You go to extremes just to make sure that your child is the best in their class. After school, they come home to four hours of tuition. Your children will not be interested in learning this way. They become anxious about not measuring up.

A lack of understanding on both sides makes for an unmotivated learner. Your child doesn’t understand why she has to study. You don’t understand why your child doesn’t want to learn.

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When your kids lack confidence in their abilities, they lose interest. Thinking they can’t do something makes them not want to do it.

When your child can’t remember her lessons, she may lose interest in studying.

These are very serious issues but don’t lose all hope. You can help your child become interested in learning again.

Motivate your reluctant kid by following any of these 9 tips.

1. Don’t Pack Them Off to School Just Yet

Life in Singapore is so busy these days. To combat this, educational institutions have cropped up where you can drop off your kids and go to work with peace of mind. These include daycare, kindergarten, preschool, playgroup and the list goes on.

However, you shouldn’t send your child off to school when she is not ready. Starting them too early can make them lose interest in learning. So, if you are sending them to school, let it be a place where they can have lots of fun playing. Children learn a lot through play and other play-based activities.

2. Change is the Only Constant

Sticking to a rigid study schedule can get boring. It doesn’t matter if all the women in your family became geniuses learning something a particular way. If it doesn’t seem to work for your kid, change it immediately.

Some of you change things up by hiring a tutor for your child. Home tuition mixes things up for them, giving them a different learning perspective than that in school. Change your study methods as your child develops. If it works, keep it. If it doesn’t work, throw it out.

3. Every Child is Unique

As already mentioned, what worked for you might not work for your child. Your child is different from you and from any other child out there. You need to figure out what is right for your child and go with that.

Don’t compare your child’s learning abilities to her friends’. Every child learns differently. There is a plethora of information available. Talk to education professionals. Find out what works for your child. Create the right environment for your child to learn.

4. Take Baby Steps

Don’t take all your goals and aims and outline them for your child. Take baby steps with them. Set one goal at a time, so that they can accomplish them and see immediate rewards.

Help them identify their strengths and skills. Let them know these things, as it helps with confidence-building and their future life.

5. A Little Bit of Trickery Doesn’t Hurt

Children can be frustratingly unpredictable. Today, your kid is attentive and highly motivated. Tomorrow, she is listless and just not in the mood for anything. If you push too much, you will have a screaming, crying kid on your hands.

Use some trickery for these instances. If your child doesn’t want to study adverbs and adjectives, for instance, you can trick them into doing it. Promise them their favourite ice cream for dessert. Offer them their favourite meal for dinner, as long as they carry out the task.

6. There are Always Second Chances

Don’t insist on perfection. Yes, parents in Singapore want their children to excel. That doesn’t mean your children are finished if they fail!

Your children need to know that making mistakes is okay and that they can learn from them. They shouldn’t fear your harsh words. They should want to improve themselves based on the constructive words you say to them. Teach them never to give up, but to keep trying till they succeed.

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7. Let Them Have a Say

Motivated children are children who are seen and heard. They won’t be dependent on you forever. Let them make decisions for themselves, like what to wear to school or what topping they want for dessert. Let them decide what subject they want to study for the day. And when you let them choose, you should also respect their decisions.

8. Losing Interest is not the Same as Disobedience

Children don’t handle failure well. They tend to react to it in ways you will see as disobedience. Don’t take it that way.

Rather, try to find out what their problem is, and address it together. You need to remain a kind and approachable person for your child to be able to open up to you. It will be difficult for you as a parent to condone this behaviour. Try not to lose patience with them.

9. Get Help if it is a Learning Disability

Don’t get overly anxious about your child’s lack of motivation. Watch your child. Get reports from her tutor or teacher in school. If tuition isn’t making much of a difference, then you can explore the option of learning disabilities.

Know that your child has to be at least 7 years old before you can conclude on a diagnosis. A behavioural therapist can tell you for sure if it is a learning disability. If it is, get professional help for your child, and prepare yourself and your child to work with the disability.

If you are looking for more articles to help your child to learn better, here are some suggestions:

How You Can Tell Whether Your Child Needs Private Tutoring

An Inner Look At Why Your Child Is Irregular with Homework and How to Overcome It


Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.