School Rules for Parents
By Barrington H. Brennen, August 31, 2009,
Sample Chart of Daily Schedule
for the Family
Sample Chart of Daily
Chores for the Family
Good morning parents! Wake Up! It’s time for school. No, you are
not actually going to school, your children are. But you had to put so much
energy in preparing for school, it feels as though you are the student. I
want to make your school year sweet and easy by presenting the following
“School Rules for Parents.” Here they are:
Rise before your children.
Parents are managers of the home. It is imperative that they show loving,
yet firm leadership by their own example. Getting up in the morning before
your child does is a good example. Although there might not be a problem if
a child arises before a parent, the real issue is if the parent appears to
be lazy or undisciplined. Arising before the child helps the child to
understand the importance of discipline and provide hands-on supervision and
direction. Don’t be a lazy parent.
Set bed times to allow each child to have at least 9.2 hours of sleep per
The latest research indicates that teenagers need at least 9.2 hours to
satisfactorily make it through the day. Eight hours is not sufficient time
to sleep for any child under the age of 18. Teenagers who get less than 9.2
hours of sleep a night generally do not do as well academically and socially
as those who get more than 9.2 hours of sleep. Ideally, teenagers thrive
best getting 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night. This generation of
teenagers is the most sleep deprived in the history of humankind, and they
are suffering physically and mentally because of it. When your children
get the right amount of sleep, they are more alert in school, less agitated,
and healthier physically. If your children are in primary school, they need
at least 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day. This is why they take naps during
the day. Make sure the schools your primary-age children attend have nap
times. Set the time for your teenagers to go to bed at the latest 9:00 p.m.
and for your toddlers, 7:00 p.m. If your children go to bed long after you,
the parents, then your children are the parents. Make it a practice not to
leave you children up while you are in for the night. If your children
already have a habit of going to sleep very late at night, they are already
on the wrong track and that habit must be broken. A most important point
is not to wait until your children are sleepy before they are sent to bed.
That is a much undisciplined habit to develop. Set the time for your
children to go to bed regardless whether or not they feel sleepy.
Prepare a healthy meal each morning.
Make sure your children, pre-teenagers or teenagers, get a big, healthy
breakfast every day. This is the fuel for the day. If you are a vegetarian
or meat eater, make sure the breakfast is rich in complex carbohydrates
(potatoes, whole grain cereals, oatmeal, grits, yams, plantains, rice) and
protein (beans, eggs, fish, tofu, nuts). Eating whole grain waffles,
pancakes, patties, can be wonderful for breakfast. Do you realize that
everything you eat for lunch can also be eaten at breakfast time? Give your
children a great blastoff each morning. Avoid giving your children junk
food such as sodas, sweet juices, potato chips, sweet biscuits, candy and
chocolate for lunch. These do not provide the nutrition or energy the brain
needs to study well.
Control the television viewing times.
Most children do not do well academically or socially watching television
for hours every day. Mixing school work and television is a recipe for
disaster for school-age children. Ideally, during the school year, do not
allow your children to watch television. Let them concentrate on their
school work and wholesome recreation. If you feel the need to allow
television viewing during the school year, it is imperative that the
duration and when they watch be restricted. It is unwise and
counterproductive to allow your children to watch television from the time
they get home from school until they fall asleep at night. Indiscriminate
television viewing (1) robs the brain of the ability to create original
thought, (2) makes the brain lazy, (3) encourages obesity, and (4) destroys
good time management. Your children will learn more about life and social
skills while playing with the neighbors’ children or reading.
Create a comprehensive time table.
To manage all activities, make a comprehensive chart for the entire
household. This is not a class schedule. This is a detailed time table of
what everyone will do from the time they get up in the morning until they go
to sleep at night. It should include wake up time, devotion time, household
chores, meal time, fun or chill out time, homework time and bed time.
Parents should be included on the chart of activities also to be inclusive
and to provide encouragement. You do not want to treat your children like
little slaves. This table of activities should be created during a family
chat by everyone. I would advise the parents to have an initial “manager
chat” before calling the children for a household “family board meeting.”
The chart should include all the children, even the pre-school age ones.
Let your children get their clothes ready for school.
Parents, it is not good that you always do all the ironing, washing, or
preparing your children’s clothing. They are to learn responsibility and
accountability by preparing their own clothing for school. The older the
children, the more involved they should be in readying their clothing,
making up the bedroom, and preparing breakfast. If parents decide to wash
all the clothing, then the children are to fold them, put them away, and
prepare them to be used.
Take a look at your children’s school books each day.
The biggest mistake parents make is to ask the question: “Do you have any
homework today?” The children can easily answer “no,” and many parents
would just say “okay” and leave the subject of homework alone. Parents
never trust your children’s response to such questioning. The better
approach is to assume there is always homework to do. Even if teachers give
no direct assignment, there is always revision, reading, and learning beyond
the classroom. Therefore, parents should say: “Show me what you did in
school today.” Sit down beside your children and say: “Let us look in your
books together.” This should be a daily routine for parents with pre-schoolers
and primary students. Parents can ask these questions: “What did you learn
today?” “How would you apply what you learned in life?” Parents can have
as a rule that their children must tell them one thing they learned in
school that day. If your children are high-school teenagers, you may decide
to give a little room for independence. However, it should be your practice
to see your teenagers’ books and show interest in their school work at least
twice a week.
Attend PTA Meetings.
Parents, your children are` happy when you attend PTA meetings. They are
even happier when you show interest in their school work by going to report
card days. If there is some logistics that really prevents you from
attending PTA meetings or report card days, you must remember that your work
schedule is not a good enough excuse to miss these. Sending Grammy or
Grandpa is not the answer. On the other hand, using Grammy or Grandpa
might be really necessary at times, but it must not take away your
responsibility of being there for your children.
Reward any improvement.
Some parents have the wrong notion that they must only reward “A” and “B”
grades. The principle is to praise and reward for effort and progress. If
your children receive “F” in a subject, it would be an error to think that
with one exam they would obtain an “A.” If they achieve “C-“ instead,
reward them. It is a great improvement. Praise them. Encouragement and
positive reinforcement go a long way. It is important to have realistic
expectations for your children. Unrealistic expectations may discourage
your children from trying to improve.
Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send your
questions or comments to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 242 323 8772, or visit