Charter Moms Chats: Inga Cotton, Founder and Executive Director of San Antonio Charter Moms, shares her thoughts and answers your questions.

Our kids are home with us, and they have packets or online learning to work on for hours each day. How do we keep them motivated?

First, Inga wants to suggest some resources that helped her family. When her son was a preschooler, a counselor recommended the audio book version of “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Another often-recommended book is “Parenting with Love and Logic” by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. Children will learn if we treat them with kindness, but let them experience the natural consequences of their choices.

There are some practical things you can do to make it easier for your kids to get their work done at home. Keep a regular schedule of work times, and be sure to take breaks for physical activity. Have a consistent place to work, even if it’s a multipurpose space like a kitchen table. (She has been recording these videos from her dinner table.) Turn off distractions like TV, music, and social media.

In many ways, motivation works the same for kids as it does for adults. Sometimes we need extrinsic motivation: a coach telling us to get it done. Success takes hard work, and sometimes you just have to put in the time to get good at something. But real success depends on intrinsic motivation: finding your passion and doing what you love. If your kids have a special interest—dinosaurs, cooking, etc.—then find educational ways to to explore that interest.

Our education patterns are so disrupted right now, but maybe some good can come of it, if it leads us to have conversations with our kids about what really stirs their hearts.

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