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Helping your Student Succeed with Habits & Routines

I may never have completed college if not for Bob Barker. I love a good gameshow and whenever I hear the iconic “COME ON DOWN!” on The Price is Right, I am drawn to watch and yell at my tv alongside audience members as they shout bids to the contestants. After moving from the dorms to an apartment during my sophomore year of college, I learned that where the blaring beeps of my alarm were easy to ignore after staying up until 3:30 AM working the closing shift at the bar, PLINKO was irresistible regardless of how tired I was. The consistent timing of The Price is Right lent structure to my morning, and that semester, I learned how valuable routine can be. During the first commercial break, I grabbed a bowl of cereal from the kitchen. By break two, I was emptying the leftover milk into the sink and brushing my teeth. After the first Showcase Showdown, I checked the weather and got dressed. During the next break, I put on a touch of makeup and fix my hair. Pricing Game five meant it was time to make sure everything was packed up and ready to go for the afternoon at school. By the time Bob Barker reminded the audience to “have your pets spayed and neutered,” my keys were in my hands and I was walking out the door in time to get to catch the shuttle to school. For two semesters, I never missed class because I slept in; the routine built into my day made it near impossible to slack off. The following year, I did not have the luxury of 12:00 start times for class, but it was still easier to get up and get going because I had established a routine that worked for me.

Routines are beneficial for anyone who seeks to be successful in school and one day function independently in the world. Having a few basic plans for each day allows students to start off on the right foot without having to put much thought into what they need to do. As such, establishing routines with your student will help them prepare for what is to come each day, take ownership of their success, and less anxiety and conflict in the home. Having established routines and practices, such as the ones listed below, gets students into the groove and sets them up for an easier path to success.

                  Helpful routines for students:

  1. Create a binder system:It is far easier to be organized when there is a place for everything. In other words, staying organized is easier than getting organized. Help students to become organized by designating a place for all papers to go at the beginning of the school year when possible.
  2. Check and tidy binder each day: Students should plan to spend 5-10 minutes at the end of each school day tidying their binder and papers. During this time, students should hole punch any papers they received at school and place them into the appropriate section of the binder. A small tidying-break also allows students to get started with their schoolwork while knowing their first task will be a simple one.
  3. Planner and assignment check: Ideally, students will be writing down assignments when they are assigned and when they get home from school, their planners will be completely filled out. Before starting on homework, it is helpful for students to do a quick planner check for completion before making a plan for tackling their homework.
  4. Dedicated homework/study time: Often, students benefit from having time set aside especially for completing assignments and working ahead. If homework time is prescheduled, there is less temptation to get distracted and put of getting started until too late.
  5. Nighttime clean up: Establishing a routine of packing students’ backpacks before bed can help lessen the stress of mornings. When everything is packed in advance, it gives students one last chance to check that everything is complete BEFORE it is too late to get it all done. If when packing up their backpack, a student realizes that he/she needs to bring something extra for the next day, it is far easier to make sure it gets done when the packing is done at night.
  6. Preparing for tomorrow: One last tip to ensure success for the school day is to lay out clothes and look over the plan for tomorrow. If a student has soccer practice after school, make sure he/she packs their gym bag and has cleats, shin guards, and clothing to take to practice; likewise, if it is going to rain, have them lay out their raincoat to wear in the morning. This little routine is also great for helping a student mentally prepare for big days or busy afternoons.

Routines are one of the easiest ways for parents to help their students to be prepared each day, to lessen the potential for last minute panic situations, and to encourage students to become more independent and self-reliant as they grow and mature. With time, the routines that are implemented in a household develop into lifelong habits that ensure student success in school and well into the future. SAOTG coaches help students and parents to establish good routines that build upon themselves as students are capable of more and more autonomy; if you would like one of our coaches to help your student establish consistent routines, please reach out to us via the link above!

Evan Weinberger


Staying Ahead of the Game offers unique academic coaching & tutoring services to help good students achieve greatness.

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