Summer is over, school has started and students are developing new habits as their routines are settling in.
Before poor practices become bad habits that are hard to break, parents can help their child begin some new good ones that lead to success in college and beyond.
Read the list for 6 good habits parents can share with their high school teens.
1. Practice good decision-making skills
Before making decisions, parents can suggest their children take a breath to list the pros and cons. Explain how important it is to think about the future consequences of each choice. It may be easier to make a snap judgment based on a gut reaction but soon they will find higher education decisions are not child’s play. They could influence the academic and financial future of the entire family.
2. Use free time wisely.
Good time management skills can become a lifelong great habit benefiting when in college and after graduation. Parents can take out a calendar and help their students mark out academic/study time, extracurricular activities and other commitments. Be sure to include time for family, friends and personal downtime to regenerate because sometimes it takes planning to fit it all in. Review and revise the schedule as necessary to hone time management skills.
3. Create a budget.
Living within one’s means is easier when costs are low but college is expensive. Parents can help their teen now to create and use a budget. On a spreadsheet, list revenue (money received from jobs and gifts) and expenses (clothing, tech gadgets, prom, music, gas/insurance/car). Financial literacy will come in handy when calculating college costs including comparing financial aid awards and determining affordable borrowing (considering projected income, desired life style, and how long it takes to get a job).
4. Build a better vocabulary
College admission tests have it, higher education is based on it, and adults notice it. Parents can help their child begin a habit of learning and using college level vocabulary in tests and assignments. Parents can practice the art of conversation with their offspring, skip text abbreviations when writing notes, and use $10.00 words.
5. Start a network
With a larger vocabulary and conversation skills (see #4), students are primed to make a great impression when meeting parents’ friends and other contacts. Social skills demonstrating maturity, intelligence, and work ethic will identify teens as strong candidates for future endeavors. Students can use the introductions to create a network of references.
6. Develop a positive brand.
Social media gives students an opportunity to define themselves. Parents can urge their teenager to carefully edit before posting photos and comments and sharing others’ musings. Review and delete old posts that violate mom’s seal of approval. Expand this good habit by self-editing all interactions to project a positive image. Colleges want students with thoughtful responses, not embarrassing pictures.