Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Back to School Contracts" by Stefani Mullen (Guest Post)

Guest Post by Stefanie Mullen of "Ooph"

With just two weeks left until school starts, I will begin the mad dash of getting the paperwork filled out, school supplies and clothes purchased, wrangling my kids back into a decent bedtime and MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, the Back to School Contract. Hear angels singing?  You will soon.

If you don’t have a BTS Contract or as I like to refer to it, a Zip It Contract in your house, you are in for a treat. The sole purpose of the contract is to say ZIP IT to your sanity sucking kids when they start to get feisty.

For example, one of my children might say, “I can’t believe we have to go to bed, it’s only 9:30.”

I will point to the contract hanging on our family board and with a June Cleaver smile say, “Remember sweetie, you signed the contract.”  In other words, “Zip it.”

If we DIDN’T have the contract, the conversation would have gone like this.  “I can’t believe we have to go to bed, it’s only 9:30.”

I would begin with, “It is a school night, you need to get in bed.” 

He would say, “But why, all my friends stay up until 10:30?”

I then something so awful so disgustingly my mother would come flying out of my mouth, “IF ALL YOUR FRIENDS JUMPED OFF A BRIDGE” get the point.  Gross.

Thirty minutes later we would still be arguing and the whole thing would end with an eye roll, some comment about what an uncool mom I am and him slamming his bedroom door in my face.  Good times.

After dealing with that all summer, I am looking for some good old fashioned Zip It during the school year.

Below is a copy of our Back to School Contract: 


Bedtime will be 9:30 p.m. for Noah every night.  You may read until 10:00 p.m., then lights out.  Bedtime will be 10:00 p.m. for Keenan every night.  You may read until 10:30 p.m., then lights out. This time is not to be spent on school reading, only extracurricular reading as your school reading will be done during homework time.


Noah is to take the trash out as needed.  He is also to empty one drawer of the dishwasher per day. Your bed must be made and teeth brushed before we leave for school. Keenan is to mow the lawn as needed.  He is to empty one drawer of the dishwasher per day.  Your bed must be made and teeth brushed before we leave for school.


We will flip The Switch on downstairs for the television after dinner and only after all homework has been checked and all chores completed.  No television before dinner.  Any extra time before dinner is to be spent outside practicing sports.


No xbox during the week. PERIOD.  On the weekends, you may play two hours per day. 


You may use the computer instead of watching television. See “Television” for rules. If you are in compliance with the above rules, WITHOUT ARGUMENT all week, you may spend time over the weekend chillin’ with your friends.  If you are NOT in compliance, you may spend time chillin’ with your mom.

We all sign the agreement and while it doesn’t alleviate every argument, it gets rid of most and shortens the others. A quick reminder that my smiling face is all they will see the whole weekend and let’s just say they empty that dishwasher with an enthusiasm that rivals a Kindergarten Room Mom.

For more tips on making the back to school transition smoother, click here.

Stefanie Mullen is the mother of three boys -- a teen, a tween and a toddler. She writes about living life in a locker room at Stefanie is a writer for The Examiner and is the coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Girlfriend’s Soul.


Barely Domestic Mama said...

Oh my goodness! I am saving this contract for when I need it years down the road. That is such a great idea. Thanks for the guest post!