The Best School Year Ever? The Secret Is A Simple System

In previous articles, I introduced the topic of how systems will help your children thrive, while reactive, ‘on-the-fly’ methods will often fail. Today, we will examine how a very simple system, if honored consistently, will help your children (and you!) have a better school year.

The goal behind my Terrific Parenting System is to help build the “Habits of Success” into your child’s brain so deeply, that the habit becomes automatic. Once that happens, you can relax and your child actually calms as well. The “Habits of Success” form a clear and predictable daily routine that creates a life of enjoyment and ease, WHILE automatically eliminating the struggle of ‘what to do when.’

The simple system is outlined below. If you follow these steps, it doesn’t mean your children will agree with you. Please don’t expect that. Instead, expect resistance—and know that you will pay more attention to the results than to their protests!

1. The School Year Chat.

Have a ‘school-prep chat’ with your kids, and let them know that you’re going to be making some changes. There will be no long lectures or discussions, but instead, you are starting a new set of daily routines. These include…

2. No More Nagging or Prodding or Pushing From Mom or Dad

Promise the kids, “We will no longer nag, prod, push or constantly remind you about things.” And honor this promise!

When you do, your kids might begin to celebrate. That’s okay, but it would be wise for them to hold the applause. You are committing to stop all that nagging and prodding that you (may) have used in the past. After all, it was exhausting and frustrating…and worst of all your children became more DEPENDENT rather than more INDEPENDENT. And, you just ended up with more nagging and yelling and upsets. So, from this point forward…none of that! Instead, we start the simple system…

3. “No Goodies Till the Work is Done!”

This is the magic. We often make the mistake of setting up life so that the kids get to enjoy all the goodies (i.e., toys, TV, computer, phone, playing ball, friends, video games, etc) BEFORE they do homework and chores. This is a major mistake.

Why? Because we give up our leverage. Who wants to leave the fun stuff, to go back and do some work? No one!

So, we need to think differently, and honor the “Habits of Success.” We will turn things around, and make sure that their ‘work’ is done before we give them access to the goodies they enjoy. We focus on controlling access to the goodies…so that there is NO PLAY until the WORK IS DONE!

This means that when your children get home from school, you offer them an opportunity for a five- or ten-minute break. After that, it’s time to do their homework and take care of some chores (this is essential!).

You explain that during this time, there is no TV, no video, no phone calls, no going outside, no toys, no extended conversations with Mom and Dad. No friends over. Nothing—but taking care of homework and responsibilities.

In other words, you establish a single fundamental ground rule that does not change. They must finish their work… and ONLY then can they play. If you have more questions about how to create the habits of success, you can learn all the details at