1. They set goals. Goals keep kids focused on the future. That's why they are the foundation of responsible behavior and success in school. Help your child set goals. Talk to your child about: How much improvement would she like to see on this week's test? How would he like to improve his grades this grade card period? What are two things she would like to accomplish this school year? What will be needed to meet those goals? Goals help students focus on what's important and what's not. If they have a vision of where they want to go, they're more likely to get there. And students with goals find it easier to say no to irresponsible behaviors...because they are saying yes to their vision of the future.
2. They plan their time. Responsible people meet their obligations, whether it's turning in a paper on the day it's due or having a report on the boss's desk when it's needed. But it takes planning. Remember the old saying, If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
3. They study everyday. Learning any subject is like building a brick wall: you do it steadily, one step at a time. Responsible students set aside time for homework or studying everyday. On the days when their teacher assigns no homework, these students assign themselves. That may be the day they review vocabulary words or they may take a few minutes to review notes.
4. They take notes in class. Students who earn all A's seem to have one thing in common: they take notes in class. They have learned that teachers will almost always spell out what they think is important which is what's likely to be on the test. Teach your child to take notes when the teacher is talking. Spend time reviewing them before a test and watch grades go up.
5. They have the tools they need. A carpenter wouldn't think of showing up without a hammer. A nurse always has a stethoscope. Sometimes students though seem to think they can go to class without the pencils, paper and other tools they need. Those are the students that drive teachers crazy.
6. They keep their commitments. Responsible people honor their commitments: to others and to themselves. They succeed in school by doing their assignments well and on time. They do their share of the group project. They go to soccer practice even when it's cold.
7. They get ready ahead of time. Some students start out every morning in a crisis. They can't find their homework. They don't have time to eat breakfast. The shirt they want to wear isn't ironed. Responsible students have learned that being late, or being early, is not something that simply happens to them. It is a choice they can make. Teach your child to take five or 10 minutes before bedtime to get ready for the next day. Pack the backpack. Make lunch. Lay out clothes. Children will soon see that those few minutes will make the morning easier and help him get to school, ready to learn.