Q: I want my children to have a good school year.

I don’t want to spend every night nagging them about homework and wondering how they are doing in school. Are there any tips you can give me to help my children be more successful in school this year?


A: Every school year is like a fresh start for both parents and children. Creating patterns for your children is the key to success. If your children know the expectations and understand the consequences, you will spend less time nagging.

Regardless of their age, children need to know what you expect from them so they can be successful. Each family is different, but the ideas below give some guidelines in developing patterns.

  • Consistency is important so that your children can establish positive patterns that will help them accomplish their work. Make homework a routine. For example, homework will be done every day after school. There will be no television, computer or iPod until the homework and assignment notebook are checked.
  • Consequences need to be natural and consistent. You might tell your children that if they don’t bring home their assignment notebook daily, they will not have privileges for the rest of the evening.
  • The patterns must work for your family. If an adult is not home after school to check the assignment notebook, you will have to find another time that you can establish the routine.

All kids benefit from patterns. It is important to start patterns before there is an issue. It helps regulate children’s lives and give them guidelines that are clear.