The beginning of the school year is just around the corner. This is the time that most parents begin thinking about how to have the school year go well. For the last few weeks I have been working with a lot of parents with their kids to make agreements about getting ready for the school year.
When making agreements it works best to have it be a collaborative effort rather telling your kids “how it will be”…and giving them something to rebel against. (Mediation has a high success rate because most people tend to “self-comply” when they are involved in making the agreement.)
Tips for success:
- Choose a time to talk when your relationship is calm and the atmosphere is friendly.
- Let your kids know, ahead of time, what your expectations are. “We need to talk about what happens when school starts and make some agreements about how we will deal with things.”
- Avoid lecturing about all of the things they’ve done wrong in the past. A simple, “We’ve had problems in the past with you finishing your homework, let’s see what we can agree on to make that better this year” is all you need to say.
- Remember that you are working together. If there is a big difference between what you want and what your kid wants and you can’t agree, consider allowing them to have an opportunity to show you that they can handle the responsibility of taking on something new.
- Make sure you have consequences in place.
- Never say, “I told you so.” (You know how much you hate it when someone says that to you, right?)
- Make sure to address all aspects of the agreement. Get very specific.
- Have consequences be as logical as possible.
- Bedtime. Decide together on bedtimes for during the week and on weekends. (“Do you want me to remind you about your bedtime?”)
- Get clear about what “being in bed” means to each of you? ( Getting ready for bed? Being in bed with the lights off? Being in your room for the night?)
- Getting up in the morning. (What do you need to do in the morning? How long does it take? What time do you need to leave?)
- Will you wake up by yourself? Do you want me to wake you up? What happens if you don’t get out of bed?
- Homework/grades~getting it done/parent involvement/grade expectations.
- If kids can’t be “in bed” when they have agreed to be, they need to start getting ready for bed earlier.
- If kids can’t get up in the morning, bedtime gets moved to an earlier time.
- Homework is done before they get to “go play”. (Hang out with friends/video games/TV/computer time.)
- If homework is not getting done or grades begin to fall, they lose privileges (“play”) until past homework is caught up and grades come up.