The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Middle School Students

Sep 17, 2020 | Fort Collins

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Middle School Students


Middle school students are a unique group, as they are exiting their childhood years and transitioning to becoming tweens and teens. They are leaving the comfort of their elementary school and the teachers they come to know and love, to enter a new school with new faces and challenges. This is a great time to introduce discussion around building effective habits that will benefit them as they navigate young adulthood.


Habit #1 – Be Proactive

As your child moves from being a young kid to a young adult, it is important they become more aware of how their actions will impact their future, especially academically. The commitment they make to their studies today will directly affect the opportunities they will have tomorrow. Encourage them to make the connection that understanding the easier concepts today and developing good math study habits will make it easier to build upon more complicated concepts as they move into high school.


Habit #2 – Begin With the End in Mind

A goal without a plan is just a dream. Having a plan makes it more likely for the set goal to be met Choose a future math goal to work towards with your child. The goal may be to improve a math skill, such as their proficiency in basic algebra or earning a B+ or better on each test for the semester. Work with your child to create actionable steps to achieve their goal. Make sure the steps are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based.


Habit #3 – Put First Things First

During this stage, the academic and personal expectations from the adults in your child’s life is likely increasing. Keeping track of what’s most important may become more difficult. 

If you have a family calendar, allow your child to practice writing their assignments or important events down and crossing them off once complete. If your child prefers to use technology, such as a Google Calendar online or on their phone, that’s fine too. Work with your child to come up with a scheduling method they find engaging and will want to keep up with. 


Habit #4 – Think Win/Win

For this next habit, consider a worry that your child has. Maybe it’s class discussion or any assignment involving public speaking. Help your child to meet this challenge by understanding it’s mind over matter and usually every problem has a solution. For example, to overcome a fear of class presentations, encourage your child to practice at home in front of a mirror, asking questions to improve their confidence. 


Habit #5 – Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood

This habit highlights listening before speaking. We’ve all been guilty of not fully listening during a conversation, being so focused on our rebuttal that we often miss what the speaker said. With active listening, we concentrate on listening with no distractions or focusing on our response. Encourage your child to practice active listening. Note how much their understanding and comprehension improves over time.


Habit 6 – Synergize

There is a proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” This proverb underscores the value that working together allows you to achieve more than always working alone. With COVID-19, your child may be more isolated than usual from their community and unable to tap into their regular resources, such as after school study groups or school clubs.

If your child is struggling with an isolated learning environment, Mathnasium is here to help. We offer online and in-person math instruction for your child, including private tutoring, with qualified and engaging instructors. We have qualified and engaging instructors ready to work with your child and bring back that sense of community your child seeks. 


Habit #7 – Sharpen the Saw

A weekly family activity your child enjoys, such as riding bikes or family game night, is a good way to teach them about making time for self-care. Another example may be volunteering at a food bank once per month or doing another family volunteer activity. Whatever the activity, be sure you are modeling self-care as the parent by prioritizing it in your own life. Allow your child to see you taking care of yourself as a way to normalize self-care. 


These 7 habits are great to teach your child as they transition into young adulthood. Your child can practice these habits individually and you can also incorporate them into your life as a family. As your work through these habits, discuss with your child what they enjoy with each one and continue to practice activities that reinforce the habits. The implementation of these habits for your child and family will have benefits for years to come.