Why Students Who Care About Appearance Are Happier
Excessive absenteeism is a big problem in schools across the country. While some children suffer from chronic absences, others may have no excuse because they’re willing to be extra-productive when they’re at school. Research shows that students who wear clean clothes and care for their appearance have higher attendance and are more motivated to succeed.
Kids who care about their appearance at school have lower tardiness and fewer reasons to be out of class, according to the National Crime Prevention Council. When kids don’t care about their appearance, they just can’t get up and go to school. They look tired and their concentration level falls.
The impact of this affects their ability to learn and their academic performance. So when parents become aware of this problem and try to improve attendance, they need to start early and always follow through. Study after study has shown the link between healthy self-esteem and improved academic performance, according to three psychologists at Seattle Children’s Hospital. For example, here’s how their findings compare to those of a peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, which showed that conscientiousness improves student achievement and academic behavior.
Students who care about their appearance during the day are less likely to engage in disruptive behavior, report less illness and they have higher self-esteem, study after study shows. But because it’s important to begin practicing good habits before they actually need them, kids need to be careful to create these habits early. Here are four simple ways parents can make their children more likely to care about their appearance and be more academically motivated.
1. Have the right mindset to start their routines right away.
Parents need to begin by setting positive reminders and reinforcing them regularly during the day. A parent who feels that the child has a problem with dress-code enforcement should have a constructive conversation with him or her. A parent who acts uptight is making it difficult for the child to express emotions such as frustration, disappointment or sadness. Take some time to explain why important rules and expectations are important. Use a nice word such as “responsible,” “responsible teen” or “responsibly-earnings.” Repeat the message, “You need to take care of your appearance.” Once a day, try an action step or technique the child has already chosen. For example, if the child says, “I’m late because I’m so pretty in my dress,” a parent can say, “Think about it. If you keep up this attitude, you’ll be getting sh-t for it.” The child can always change his or her attitude later.
2. Choose the right clothes.
But many children begin with a poor feeling about their outfits, leaving them open to other people’s comments. Get them to choose a new, nice outfit in advance. If the parents have trouble finding a suitable outfit or forget, they can talk to the child about what makes her look and feel good. Kids should be able to dress in a way that makes them feel good. For example, teens can wear shorter skirts with more skin, especially since the overall length of skirts isn’t limited by age. Younger kids could start wearing shirt sleeves.
3. Get the right look.
Talk with your child about what makes him look good. It could be a haircut, a new hairstyle, a new favorite shirt or fashionable lipstick. When your child gets ready in the morning, talk to him about how he wants to be seen, how he wants people to respond to him and whether it’s OK to smile. He should be able to describe himself when he looks in the mirror. Let’s not forget that your children are working with someone who already has a little bit of judgment about him.
4. Be able to tell when your children are making the right decisions.
How well you know your child’s decisions is determined by how closely you monitor how he gets dressed, when he gets dressed and how he looks in the mirror. Kids have good intentions, but sometimes the things they do aren’t very good for them or others. If your child feels embarrassed about his clothes, don’t wait for him to tell you. Tell him yourself. Because appearance is such a sensitive topic, find the right way to discuss with your child the importance of being an adult.