5 habits of successful students

This look at a children’s health or safety issue comes from Dayton Children’s Hospital. Email: newsroom@childrensdayton.org.

The school bell is ringing, and it’s time to go back to school for many kids. To start off on the right foot, child psychologist Dr. Greg Ramey at Dayton Children’s Hospital has compiled a list of the top five habits of successful students.

Set goals

Successful students set goals and focus their attention on things that really matter. For example, the most important activity related to school success is reading. Parents can encourage the skill by reading to their child every day when they are little. As the child gets older, parents can provide books that will capture their child’s attention and set aside time for reading every day.

Take responsibility

Kids need to learn how to solve their own problems and earn their achievements. “Don’t allow your child to blame others for things that happen. Instead, give them choices in certain situations and allow them to think through the options. Be willing to accept that the solutions they come up with may be different than your own. Teach them that they may have to delay doing things they want today for a greater reward in the future. Be sure to recognize their effort in these areas as well as the achievement,” says Dr. Ramey.


Children need to know not only how to express themselves, but also how to hear others when they express their thoughts and feelings. “Parents can help children be comfortable in talking about what’s going on inside their heads by asking a lot of questions and paying attention to the answers,” says Dr. Ramey. At the same time, parents can help kids to understand the feelings of others. Situations in books or on television can provide the opportunity to talk about what the character might be feeling and how a child could respond.

Take care of your health

Successful students develop good habits of sleeping, eating and exercise. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least 10 hours of sleep a night for school-age kids, nine for teenagers. As for filling a child’s plate, current government recommendations say half of it should consist of fruits and vegetables with the rest comprised of whole grains, protein and dairy. Experts also suggest kids get an hour of exercise a day.

Stay connected to family and friends

It’s important to have meaningful relationships in all parts of your life to do well. “Make family relationships your highest priority and develop family rituals. Connect with your child by doing things together that you both enjoy,” says Dr. Ramey.

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