Recently, a college freshman (who happens to be our founder’s daughter, Jenna) shared with us her detailed plan to get through the first finals period of her college career. What do you notice as you look at this plan?
To start, if you’re a parent, maybe you’re whispering a fervent “Thank goodness I’m done with school!” as you look at the work ahead of this student. Maybe as you look closer, you notice how each class’s major assignments are listed and color-coded. Then you’ll see how each day has benchmarks to hit and specific subtasks to be done for larger projects.
Sure, Jenna has benefitted from having a dad who modeled this type of planning and prioritizing since she was a toddler - but the bigger point is that she was aware of the intense workload and what she needed to do to feel in control during a stressful time when productivity and preparation are critical for success.
Now, think of your own child. Maybe they are a middle schooler and don’t yet have the demands you see on this example - maybe they are in high school and you’re still overseeing end-of-term studying and projects - or maybe they are in college and you’ve been getting some panicked texts lately. What skills need to be developed to help your child learn to create their own guides and benchmarks like this, so they can be independent and achieve their goals?
The good news is that abilities such as time management, organization, planning, prioritizing, sustained effort, and more can be cultivated over time. And while it often feels like our children zoom from first grade to graduation in an instant, we have time to nurture their Executive Function skills along the way and help them become the competent, confident adults we want them to be.
Looking for more parenting tips and strategies to help your child be successful in school and beyond? Michael Delman's book Your Kid's Gonna Be Okay: Building the Executive Function Skills Your Child Needs in the Age of Attention is available in print and as an e-book. Download a free excerpt below.