After 21 years of working with students, I’ve discovered that the most effective ones don’t usually obsess over big, long-term goals like the ones many of us set at the start of a new year. Instead, they focus on the simple daily habits they know will generate the results they want.
Daily habits are much easier to stick to than abstract goals—and they’re more likely to get you to that big finish line anyway! Here are 3 habits of highly effective students that your child can begin to practice any day of the year.
Habit #1: Effective Students Study Strategically
While most students resort to reading over class notes when it’s time to study, successful students take a more strategic approach. More specifically, they move beyond information review to information retrieval. This means taking the time and focused effort required to recall information without looking at the answer on the study guide.
Students can practice information retrieval by creating and taking practice tests, working slowly through a stack of flashcards (without rushing to flip them over!), or writing out short essays about the concepts being studied. This strategic study approach improves a student’s ability to both understand the materials now and recall them on test day—a win-win!
Habit #2: Effective Students Plan Ahead
The most effective students practice short-term and long-term planning. Short-term planning means creating a to-do list each day. Successful students think ahead about the blocks of time in their day and plan when they’ll tackle each item on their list.
Long-term planning means using a planner or app to track upcoming due dates and tests. This helps students avoid late-night cram sessions (which studies show aren’t that effective anyway). Instead, effective students learn to set aside time each day leading up to big due dates or tests to make progress without stressing themselves out.
Habit #3: Effective Students Limit Distractions
For generations, kids have had a knack for getting distracted during homework time. But there’s no denying that today’s students have an unprecedented number of distractions clamoring for their attention.
Effective students know how to silence some of that noise by heading to the library, downloading a focus app, or setting timers for shorter blocks of focused study time. The methods vary by student, but the important part is having a plan in place to limit distractions and focus fully on the work in front of them.
Bonus Tip: Effective Students Know When to Seek Help!
Ok, this one isn’t so much a habit as a mindset, but it’s true. Effective students and their parents aren’t afraid to seek help when disorganized systems are holding them back.
Maybe you read through these habits and thought, “Ok, Ann, that’s all well and good, but I can’t make my child do any of this.” And I get that! I had the same struggle when my own kids were in school… until I invited a tutor into our home to help them out.
That’s why we offer executive function coaches who can come to your home and work one-on-one with your child. These coaches know how to diffuse the tension of the homework battle and guide kids to systems that will work for them—including these three habits of highly effective students.
Click below to schedule a free consultation and learn more about guiding your own child to effective systems (without all the pushback).