back to school contract or zip it

Want your teens to become perfect little angels who never argue and do everything you tell them to do? Yes? Then don’t have children.

But. The contract below will get you closer to that lack of reality.

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

Hear angels singing? You won’t. It isn’t that great, but it’s REALLY REALLY good.

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

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

You will point to the contract hanging on our family board, take a slow sip of my wine, turn to your teen and with a June Cleaver smile say, “Remember sweetie, you signed the contract.” In other words? “Zip it.”



If you 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.” 



You would begin with, “It is a school night and you need to get sleep to be smart and grow.”

They would say, “But why? All my friends stay up until 10:30 and they are ALL smart and tall?”

Then something so awful, so disgustingly June Cleaver, would come flying out of your mouth, “IF ALL YOUR FRIENDS JUMPED OFF A BRIDGE”…you get the point. *shivers*

Thirty minutes later you would still be arguing and the whole thing would end with an eye roll, some comment about what an uncool mom you are and your teen slamming their bedroom door in your face.

*downs the rest of her wine*

Instead? Zip it.

Below is a copy of our Back to School Contract:  



Bedtime:


Bedtime will be 9:30 p.m. for Noah every night. You may read until 10:00 p.m.

Bedtime will be 10:00 p.m. for Keenan every night. You may read until 10:30 p.m.

This time is not to be spent on school reading, only extracurricular reading as your school reading will be done during homework time.



Chores:
Noah is to take the trash out as needed.  You are to empty one drawer of the dishwasher per day. Your bed must be made and teeth brushed before you leave for school.

Keenan is to mow the lawn as needed. You are to empty one drawer of the dishwasher per day.  Your bed must be made and teeth brushed before we leave for school.

Television:
Television during the school week will be after dinner, after all homework has been checked, all chores completed, all showers taken and teeth brushed. No television before dinner.  Any extra time before dinner is to be spent outside practicing sports. (Insert your own outdoor activity here.)



Xbox: (This probably only applies to boys.)
No xbox during the week. PERIOD. On the weekends, you may play two hours per day after homework that is due on Monday is complete.



Computer:
You may use the computer instead of watching television. See “Television” for rules.

Driving:
My teens are not yet driving, but I think it is pretty clear that the greatest negotiation tool the parent of a teenager holds is a set of car keys. Use them. Loudly and proudly to get your teens to do what you want.

Final Notes:
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 and certainly doesn’t even slightly curb the eye rolls, it gets rid of most disagreements and shortens the others.

A quick reminder that my smiling face is all they will see all weekend and let’s just say they empty that dishwasher with an enthusiasm that rivals a kindergarten room mom.

Helpful Hint:
Instead of getting annoyed with my teens’ eye rolls, I play a game in my head. I used to be a champion eye roller when I was a teen. So? I grade their eye rolls. One being the worst and ten being the best. Bonus points if they fling their head back at the same time. Sometimes I shout it out to them, “Nice. That was totally a nine,” and other times I keep it to myself. Either way? It makes me laugh instead of scream. You’re welcome.

Submitted by: Stefanie

About Stefanie

Stefanie Mullen

Comments

  1. LOVE THE EYE ROLL RATING SYSTEM! Sorry for shouting. But OMG. PERFECT!!

  2. You are so brilliant!

    Almost makes me wish my kids were teens now. Wait… what am I saying?

  3. Queen Momma says:

    Is it still binding if I I pin my son down and HELP him sign it??

    (Daughter will be 20 in Dec. .. fyi, this is when the switch goes on and they actually give their parents some credit! … and are smart enough to wait until they leave the room to roll their eyes ;)

  4. Lindsey Buechler says:

    laugh out loud at this one stef. Seriously, you rate the eye roll with the head toss? Fantastic!

  5. Brilliant…can I start the contract at age 4??? Do you have a contract for sweet Colton??

  6. Tracy Beckerman says:

    A very good list. But we need one more item… Texting.
    No texting during homework, after bedtime, at dinner, or to me… across the room from where I am sitting… to ask when dinner is.

  7. We take their phones away during homework and dinner hours. I should have added that into the contract. I will now.

  8. can i borrow your balls *cough* i mean, you contract when my son (now 2) is a teenager?

  9. Debbie Bray says:

    I don’t HAVE kids, so I have no NEED for the contract. But I do KNOW some teenagers (my Brother has 4 teenagers – 3 are GIRLS!), and they make the eyerolling an ART FORM! I’m going to send my SIL your way. This BTS Contract is awesome. (I read it aloud to my Mother. She laughed out loud at the grading of the eye rolls!)

  10. You’re amazing!

  11. Nicki-Lynn McIlree says:

    I love it! Can someone please remind me of this in about 10 years???

  12. NEED AN OUTLINE FOR AN 8-YEAR-OLD. (YES I’M YELLING)

  13. You may borrow both.

  14. Yes. No one honestly thought they willingly signed it did they?

  15. Yes. And. Yes.

  16. Thanks for sharing WN. Much appreciated. And? Glad I could make your mother giggle.

  17. i need to initiate something because it’s chaos here.
    i think i need supernanny. and a contract of some sort.
    oh…and i need for a 6 y/o too. because he is worse than the teenagers.

  18. I need an agreement! Drafting one now!

  19. I love this, and while mine are still in Primary, and we don’t have the problems of arguing yet – I’ll be keeping it in mind for later years.

    And no-one can out-eyeroll me.

  20. Luv dis s0oo muchh baybii gurl.

    Oh, sorry. I’m just doing this thing where I pretend to be a teenager. My teens HATE it and usually stop what they’re doing before I get to the part where I drop to the floor, shout "this is sooooo unfair" and slam my bedroom door shut.

    Seriously, this is genius. Can’t wait for more WN!

  21. I agree with this. For so many reasons. ONe, sense of humor is essential, and two, they have to know what is expected.

    Excellent.

    LOVE THIS SITE!

  22. Erica Day says:

    I LOVE THIS. My twins just turned 13 2 days ago…I think I’m gonna use this!

  23. I bow to your genius!

  24. This is brillz! Thanks!

  25. love the idea of a contract. pretty much every conversation we have with our 16 year old includes some variation of "that’s not the way it happened", or "that’s not what you said"… and my all time favorite of "it doesn’t matter anyway, because you’ll just say you’re right" wish we had the car keys to bargain with – no driving in thailand until 18. motorscooters at 15, but we haven’t allowed that, yet.

  26. Birdrockfab says:

    Great idea to give boys option to extend bedtime by 1/2 hour for reading. Love it!

  27. Jesse Roth says:

    It sounds great and is probably geared for todays children however I grew up with the rule of I am the adult you do as I say. Right now for my eight year old the Wii and Gamecube are sufficent means of leverage. Then again I am a little more hard core then probably most mothers.

    Mason had behavior issues when he was younger. I remember on week of my life when he was 3 he kept climbing out of his booster seat and popping up next to me in the front of the car…I did the whole pull the car over routine and everyday it became a game to him, Evryday I was sitting on the side of the road doing everything I could to get him back in the seat but it took longer and longer………One day I was so fed up I hauled his fanny to nearest police station. Haven’t had an issue since. He knows Mama means business.

    Had my parents shoved a "contract" in our faces as teens we would not have signed it. Of course that was also before you needed parental consent to get a drivers license too so that may have made a difference.

    My one brother and I had a trick when mom would ground us…..we would fight so bad she would lift it just to get us out of the house. Then the next time she threatened to ground us we would remind her of how hard on her it was when we were stuck in the house together. We were so evil she offered to call the child abuse hotline FOR us.

    Dad on the other hand…..to this day I shake if I realize I left the livingroom light on while using the bathroom.

    Kids are smart, they find loopholes.

    "Hey Mom! Does dad know how much of the grocery money you REALLY spent taking your friend out to lunch with?" >:)

  28. Does this work for 4 year olds too?!

  29. Not sure what I’m going to do when the Dudes are all double digit ages. They eye roll enough already.

  30. I knew you were awarded the valedictorian of eye-rolling but you were named as champion too?

  31. Adapting this *tonight* for Alex as we embark on an insane high school schedule.

    Something is wrong with him though – he’s not an eye roller! Where did I go wrong?

  32. One more quandry related to the phone and computer. My daughter is addicted to video chat with her girlfriends so the rule is no video chat until homework is done. But so often they need their computer to do their homework and then the distraction is just there, looming, like a piece of hot molten chocolate fudge cake would be looming if it were sitting next to my computer right now. And what if they need to call a friend to ask homework questions? (I know – use the home phone) What if they are instant messaging back and forth about homework? Electronic devices have become so prevalent in our lives that I wonder if it really works to just remove them for the duration of homework. Lest you think I’m just a softy, we have removed my son’s entire computer set-up for days at a time if need be so we have the moxie to do it.

  33. One more quandry related to the phone and computer. My daughter is addicted to video chat with her girlfriends so the rule is no video chat until homework is done. But so often they need their computer to do their homework and then the distraction is just there, looming, like a piece of hot molten chocolate fudge cake would be looming if it were sitting next to my computer right now. And what if they need to call a friend to ask homework questions? (I know – use the home phone) What if they are instant messaging back and forth about homework? Electronic devices have become so prevalent in our lives that I wonder if it really works to just remove them for the duration of homework. Lest you think I’m just a softy, we have removed my son’s entire computer set-up for days at a time if need be so we have the moxie to do it.

  34. Would love to see your actual contract (digital file– doc or jpg) so I can just blatantly copy it — I’ll even rename my kids to fit your contract! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right, so what does wanting to CLONE you make me? Why reinvent the wheel when the champion of eye-rolling has already done it!

    Please, a picture (worth a 1000 words) of your contract?
    THANK YOU!!

  35. Would love to see your actual contract (digital file– doc or jpg) so I can just blatantly copy it — I’ll even rename my kids to fit your contract! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right, so what does wanting to CLONE you make me? Why reinvent the wheel when the champion of eye-rolling has already done it!

    Please, a picture (worth a 1000 words) of your contract?
    THANK YOU!!

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