Setting House Rules for Kids in the New Year

By Nicole Irving, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief

After you arrive home from the hospital with a newborn, the last thing you are probably worried about is establishing a set of house rules. However, it is not too early for you and Daddy- to-be to start brainstorming what kind of rules you want to set in place for your family before the new baby comes. Your family rules may evolve as you become a more experienced parent and when siblings come along. If you didn’t have time to fit this in while you were pregnant, it’s not too late. Here are a few tips to consider when coming up with your family rules for your kids!

The rules

A more appropriate name for house rules may be family rules because these rules should guide a family’s behavior no matter where they are. The rules let all members of the family know what is expected of them. You can make the rules cover just about as much or as little as you want. Outlining your family rules is putting your family values into action. Perhaps one of the best things about family rules is that they apply to everyone in the family, not just the kiddos.

Involve the children

When it’s time to discuss the rules with your children, it is important to make it clear that the family rules apply inside the house as well as when they go to their friends’ houses, school, the grocery store, church and anywhere else they may go.

Your children represent your entire family wherever they go and they should always remember their rules. Don’t forget to discuss examples of behavior that is acceptable and what is not for each rule.

Keep them simple

Too many rules may be hard for your children to remember. Of course, you can also include a few fun rules, like if your children, or Dad, want to eat a donut for breakfast, they have to drink a tall glass of milk first!

Consequences for breaking the rules

The consequences (as well as rewards) can be linked to the rules. Older children can even help determine appropriate consequences when someone breaks the rules.

Post the rules

You can simply type them up and post them around the house. Make posting a family affair! Have the kids write them in their own handwriting and put them in a frame. You can even ask them where they want to hang them on the wall. Another fun idea is to pick a wall somewhere in your house to paint with chalkboard paint. Use chalk to write out the rules.

Tell people about your rules

Discuss your rules with babysitters and caregivers and make sure the children know that you did.

Here are some ideas to get you started

• Always tell the truth

• Be kind and show respect to everyone

• Encourage and support your brothers and sisters

• Turn the TV off during meals

• Always be thankful and show your appreciation

• When the doorbell rings, all children sit on the couch; only adults answer the door

• Put things back where they belong while you sing the clean up song

• Do what is asked, the first time it is asked of you

• Always say please and thank you

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