You may not be motivated to fill out your income tax forms. But if you think you'll get a refund, the task becomes a lot more appealing.

Motivation affects your child the same way. A child who comes to school motivated to learn will tackle tough jobs. And even if she doesn't get the answer right on the first try, she'll keep at it until she does.

Studies show that a realistic attitude about time affects a child's motivation. Unmotivated students tend to live in the present. They ask, "Why are we learning this? When are we going to use it?"

Motivated students know that present actions can affect their future. They are willing to work hard now for success later.

Here are some ways you can help your child develop a realistic attitude about time:

  • Give your child an allowance. It should be large enough to cover some regular small treats, but small enough to encourage saving for anything special.
  • Start a family savings program for a special goal. Does your family want a Nintendo game? Set aside a small amount every week. Ask kids to chip in some of their allowance.
  • Talk about a long-range goal of yours. Perhaps you want to finish your high school degree. Maybe you want to quit smoking. Perhaps you'd like to lose some weight. Whatever your goal, set a plan for achieving it. And talk with your child about how you're doing.

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