Children change their minds more quickly than grown-ups. One moment, they have an urge to play, another moment, they want to eat something specific. What’s the key to keep them motivated for school without repelling them from certain subjects? At Akshaya Patra, an NGO in India, we have first-hand experience of coping with this during the Mid-day Meal Programme run in schools in collaboration with the government. Here’s what we have tried and tested over the years. We are happy to share this little piece of wisdom with parents who often struggle to send their kids to school.
Fun enforcement or no enforcement
Make sure that you learn to bite your tongue when children refrain from going to school. While it’s good to hear their reasons, you must also be able to tell when a child is only playing you. Count the things your child loves about school. It could be friends or a games period or a drawing class. If you really know what your kid is interested in, you will know what to say when sending them off to school. For instance, reward your children when they agree to go to school without tantrums. At Akshaya Patra, we encourage children to come to school so they have nutritious meals. Our sponsors who often donate for education in India find it fascinating how our volunteers and staff keep the children always excited for mid-day meals in schools.
Children have a forgiving heart and so they won’t hold a grudge that you sent them to school without their will. Most likely, they will not even remember it. So make sure you develop a habit of praising your child for any big or small achievement in class. Always be a proud parent and get your kids interested in extra-curricular activities.
Plan sumptuous lunch
We have seen mothers who would cook sumptuous and nutritious lunch as a motivating factor for the children to eat during school. Akshaya Patra’s Mid-day Meal Programme in schools ensures that the lunch served is full of vegetables, proteins, dairy, grains, oils and nutrients. Just the whole excitement of opening the lunch box during school often gets children excited about school.
Assure help in homework
Often children find school dreary and a burden due to the homework. They often feel overwhelmed and scared. Always be the parent who makes homework a team activity. Ensure you are always around to guide, instruct and help the child as he or she sits down for homework. That would assure the child of an ever-present help and would motivate them to look forward to school.
Akshaya Patra is an NGO in India that has been running Mid-Day Meals Programme in schools since 2000. One of our biggest lessons during this programme over the years has been that children need motivation at every step in their lives. As for the Mid-Day Meal Programme, the organisation is working towards building a sustainable network of kitchens to reach five million children by 2020. If you are someone who is considering donating for education in India, you are welcome to join our mission.