Steps to Motivate your Child to Complete his School Work this Holiday

Published on 6 December 2022 by Edu Aid | For Parents | For Tutors

Cute Asian Boy Doing Homework

MOE schools in Singapore are out for a well-deserved break. All primary, secondary and junior college students can finally enjoy some time off from the hustle and bustle of school life.

However, this does not mean they can completely relax and do nothing during the holiday. Parents should encourage their children to complete school holiday projects and catch up on their private tuition homework as much as possible. It’s clear that with no teachers monitoring and chasing students to submit their assignments, increased screen time, plus the year-end vacation season, there is a chance that barely any work would get completed.

This can be detrimental to the child’s learning progress, especially if they need to sit for a national examination (such as PSLE, O, or A levels) next year. Motivation is necessary to spur them on during the holiday, besides having regular home tuition sessions in Singapore!

Why is motivation important?

According to research published by Singapore’s MOE, students are less likely to value or invest effort in school when their motivation is driven by external reasons, for instance, rewards, punishments, or guilt.

The study was conducted among over 7000 secondary school students in Singapore. The findings were in line with international evidence- that students’ motivation directly affects their learning outcomes and long-term success in school. Self-driven students spent more time on homework and revision and achieved better grades.

It is essential to help students find the right motivation to perform better in school. If they are motivated for external reasons, their learning outcomes will likely be poorer.

So how can parents help to increase their children’s motivation to do school work during the holidays? Here are some tips:

Find out how your child feels about his homework.

It’s important to figure out how your child feels about homework to devise effective strategies to help him. Lack of motivation can arise from your child dreading or not feeling confident about his work. Try sitting down with your child and finding out how he feels about his homework.

Does your child find the assignment too much or too challenging? Do they dislike certain subjects and are reluctant to complete the work? Or is your child simply procrastinating due to the holidays? Try to be objective and don’t create a situation where the child feels like he’s being grilled.

If you still can’t identify any specific reason for your child’s lack of motivation after talking, it might be a good idea to consult his school or private tuition teacher.

Teach your child to prioritise holiday activities and schedule his time

It’s easy for students to get caught up in the holiday mood and want to do nothing but play all day.

Sit down with your child and help him plan out his holiday. This step includes creating a time management matrix and a table to categorise the different activities that are urgent and important, urgent but not necessary, not urgent but important, and not urgent and unnecessary.

This approach will help your child understand that some things are more crucial than others, and he should prioritise these activities. Next, let your child come up with their school holiday schedule, which should include time for homework, relaxation & recreation, reading, sports or other tasks he wishes to do. These are life-long skills that will prove to be helpful in the future.

Minimise distractions in your child’s study area

Distraction is not just a problem for adults; children also find it hard to concentrate when things around them catch their attention.

Most Singapore parents will set aside a dedicated space in their home for their children’s private tuition sessions or study time. Help your child create a conducive study environment by decluttering his study area and keeping only the essentials such as books, stationery and materials needed for homework.

Numerous studies, including one documented at SLATE, reveal that students tend to multitask, such as surfing social media, while completing their schoolwork. This makes their learning shallower and lacking in quality than if they had given their work full attention.

The research also reveals that students understand less of their schoolwork and have more difficulty transferring their learning to new contexts when they multitask. As such, it is essential to have device-free zones in the house during study periods, limit screen time and ensure good lighting to help minimise distractions.


If a child is not motivated to complete his homework, he is likely to produce poorer results. If your child attends private tuition in Singapore, consult the home tutor for strategies to motivate your child to excel in his studies. Dedicated one-to-one private tuition lessons are effective in increasing your child’s academic progress within a shorter time frame, making him feel more competent in a subject and motivated to do well in school.

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