How can I motivate my children to study during the school closures?

Ask Brian: The effort which students make today will stand to them over time

With the level of uncertainty concerning when schools will resume and whether there will be State exams, how can I motivate my children to continue to work on their school subjects?

Nobody could have imagined the world we now live in a few short weeks ago – and where it will all lead is still a mystery.

Speculating about what may or may not happen is pointless for both parents and students, as it only leads to mental and psychological exhaustion.

What we do know is this: students finishing off their second-level education this year will be assessed at some stage in a formal written exam based on the curriculum which they have been studying in their various subjects over the past two years.


The oral and some practicals may have been abandoned, but this cannot be repeated when it comes to the written papers as the CAO application process needs some criteria through which the allocation of places on every third-level programme are allocated in a fair and transparent way.


Students who are not facing transitions from second level to further and higher education face lesser challenges when they re-engage with the education system, but they have to be in a position to restart well when the time arrives to move back to class.

In life nothing ever stands still. We are either going backwards, losing skills or moving forward and acquiring them.

In an age-appropriate fashion, every parent should try to impress on their children that worrying about this is a waste of time and the only course of action is to continue to move forward with their education in a structured manner every day.

Most teachers are working hard from home where they have the IT facilities to provide their students with day-to-day support and guidance in their education.

Where IT issues in a teacher’s home or that of a student make that impossible, (remember: we are still only beginning to bring broadband to over 500,000 homes), all students have their school books to draw on in continuing to engage with their academic work on a daily basis.

Whereas in sport physical fitness is everything, mental fitness is key in education. As our brains develop we need to engage them constantly with new learning challenges. Parents need to impress on their children that continuing to learn daily is as essential a part of living as eating and sleeping, and cannot be abandoned just because the learning environment is radically different to what they have come to know through schooling.

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