Emphasize the Three A’s:
Attendance: Show your child that you think attendance is important. You go to work even if you don’t feel like it—your child should also go to school when they don’t feel like it.
Achievement: We all need goals. Help your child learn to set goals…and achieve them. When he/she reaches one goal, show that you are pleased—and then help him/her to set their sights even higher the next time.
Attitude: There is a famous quote from Jesse Jackson, “It’s your attitude and not your aptitude that determines your altitude.” In other words, even the brightest student can fail if they don’t work hard. Let your children know you expect them to try their best.
And These Three B’s:
Be positive: Low self-esteem may be keeping your child from reaching his/her potential. If you suspect this may be a problem, try to focus on the positive. Talk about “things you are working on” rather than “things you are bad at.”
Be consistent: Tell your child you expect him/her to study a certain amount of time each day. Don’t let your child put off homework until the late evening. Have him/her choose a time for homework…and then stick to it.
Be there for your child: Take time to talk and listen to your child. Plan some special time alone with each child each week. During these times alone, you can talk about your hopes and expectations for your child.
Expect Children to Develop Good Habits
Talk with your child about other habits you expect him/her to develop. A few possibilities include:
- Writing down homework assignments
- Remembering to bring needed materials home from school
- Remembering to take homework and other materials back to school
- Going to bed on time
- Getting up on time and being ready for school on time
- Making his/her bed and straightening up their room in the morning
Here are some ways you can encourage good habit formation:
- Don’t try everything at once. Remember the year you made the 15 New Year’s Resolutions? By Valentine’s Day, you had given up on all of them. Your children are the same. Choose only a few habits you’d like them to develop.
- Make sure your children are involved. After all, you are trying to change their habits. Let them know that positive habits can make their lives easier and more pleasant. Ask them to choose one or two things they’d like to work on first.
- Allow 21 days. Experts have discovered that if you repeat an action every day for 21 days, it is likely to become automatic. So, for the next 21 days, expect your children to act on their new habits. After that, they’ll find they do it without thinking about it.