Introduction Have you ever said anything like this to your child? "I know you're in the middle of building your block castle, but you'll just have to leave it for now and finish when we get back from the store." Or: "Will you please get off the Internet so someone else in this house can use the phone? I don't care if you haven't read everything there is on the Web about polar bears." If comments like these sound familiar, it means you've seen your child intensely absorbed in work that demands brainpower. It means you've witnessed self-motivation up close and your child shows signs of loving learning. Perhaps, however, your home sounds more like this one: MOM: Jason, please get to your homework. (A half-hour passes.) DAD: Jason, have you started yet? It looks to me like all you're doing is staring into space. (Fifteen minutes later. ) MOM (voice rising): Jason, stop fiddling around right now. It's almost bedtime and you've barely started your homework! If you want to go to the basketball game Saturday, you better start studying, and I mean now! (Jason slams his bedroom door angrily and plays a Rage Against the Machine CD at maximum volume. Mom sinks to the couch, demoralized. Dad turns on Jeopardy.) MOM (wailing): How long can this go on? I hate fighting every night. DAD: Me too. I'm starting to dread coming home. Every child is born with a desire to learn. Indeed, most children enter kindergarten excited about learning to read and write, and eager to know about the world around them. Yet by the time they reach middle school (and often before), many of our children are like Jason. They look on learning as drudgery, not the exciting opportunity that propelled them when they were little. The idea that learning can be fun all but disappears -- as illustrated by a boy who thanked me for my gift of Tom Sawyer, then added, "I'll read it later. I already did my book report for this semester." f0So if you've noticed a lack of motivation in your child, you're not alone: research has shown that American children's love of learning declines steadily from third through ninth, grade. It doesn't have to be that way. Over the past thirty years, psychologists have conducted hundreds of studies that show what makes children want to learn. Their research tells us how to raise a child who is interested in academic work and even finds pleasure and joy in learning. It shows us how to raise children who seek intellectual challenges, and who plow on confidently even when the going gets tough. I am going to show you how to raise just such an enthusiastic, lifelong learner, but first we have to move beyond some ideas that research has shown are, misguided. For the past several decades, parents have been told that the best way to encourage kids to learn is to puff up their self-esteem by piling on rewards and praise. Grades and prizes have been considered the most effective tools for motivating children to study. But psychologists have shown that raising eager learners is not simply a matter of making children "feel good." Indeed, the research I am going to share with you reveals how such a strategy can do damage. What we have learned, instead, is that we need to raise children who feel competent, autonomous, and secure in their relationships to others. Kids will be self-motivated to learn when they feel capable and skilled, and confident of becoming more so; when they have some choice and control over their learning; and when they feel loved, supported, and respected by their parents. Children who love learning also believe that intelligence isn't fixed and inborn, but that they can get smarter by working hard. I will show you how to nurture in your child these four essential components of loving learning. We will also examine why children learn so well through play, and how to encouragStipek, Deborah J. is the author of 'Motivated Minds Raising Children to Love Learning' with ISBN 9780805063950 and ISBN 0805063951.