Q:

I thought all young children were eager to learn. However, my first-grader is just not interested in school. Is there any way to motivate my young son? -- Unmotivated

A:

You definitely need to be your son's motivational coach. When it comes to learning to read and write at this level, school as well as home activities need to be fun or at least enjoyable. Otherwise, it is possible to dampen or even kill children's desire to learn.

What is happening at your son's school? You might want to go and observe. Are the classroom activities drudgery instead of delight because of too many worksheets and uninspired teaching? Or is your son becoming disinterested in school because he can't keep up with his classmates?

While you are not likely to change what the teacher is doing, you can take his school activities and turn them into fun at home. You can play games such as Memory and Go Fish with the words he is learning to read. You can also make learning to add fun by using counters and devising simple number games.

The more success your child has in school, the more likely he will be motivated to do his best in school. So talk with the teacher now to discover if your son is slow to catch onto reading or learning the basic math facts. If so, do find out how you and the teacher can help him catch up to the rest of the class.