Please Do Your Homework: Don’t Leave It At School (Or Home)

Summertime has allowed your children a lot of freedom. The transition to school structure is hard for the kids and parents. As you are getting ready to send your children back to school, remind yourself to share “the house rules about school” with your kids. Maybe you will see this exercise as redundant, having gone over your expectations countless times. Go over them again. Children are high achievers when it comes to forgetting the rules.

Of course, your rules should reflect your home life style whether rigid or open-ended or in-between. No matter what your special values are, you are the “Person in Charge” of establishing a structure for your children to follow. Parent-driven rules are not subject to revision like collaborative rules between parent and child, or child-centered rules.

My rules for my children were:

1.  Do your homework immediately after getting home (after a snack). Don’t lose your homework. Don’t forget to bring your homework to school the next day.
2.  Chores are done by dinner.
3.  No screens during the week.
4.  Bedtime is at __________.
5.  When extra help is needed from tutors, nannies, or grandparents, my children WILL listen and follow direction for their own well-being.

Work with your children to develop a reward and consequence chart. Make rewards small but important. Make consequences serious but not overwhelming. Engage your children in this process. Their suggestions will make this important aspect of their lives more personal and meaningful.

My rules that were made in collaboration with my children were:

1.  I suggested playdates with my children, then we talked it over.
2.  Sports and after-school activities require input from the entire family.
3.  Teacher-parent conferences should be discussed.
4.  Food and clothes choices were discussed.

Decisions for kids alone (child-centered rules):

1.  Book and toy selection.
2.  Art projects.
3.  Free play.
4.  Time with extended family and family friends.

Decision-making that is effective (in that it is followed through with respect) is priceless. Anger in the family and with the school will definitely be reduced.