We give our kids tons of messages: “Don’t do that”, “You can do that sometimes”, “Be sure you NEVER do that, “Once in a while we can do that.” This is confusing. Imagine if you are a toddler or young kid. You are probably not quite sure of what you are allowed and not allowed to do. In this video, we talk about the importance of creating a family rules chart and offer some tips on how to do it.
When your child grows from a baby to a toddler, they begin to realize there are things called RULES. Now of course it depends on your parenting style, but for most dads, I’m going to assume that having some rules in the house is something desired. Something we did in our family was to make a family rules chart.
Here is a link to the sample family rules chart.
Some people may choose very specific rules like: “take your shoes off before coming into the house” or “no food is allowed outside the kitchen.” The rules have to work for your family. For us, the rules were more general like: “Say please & thank you” or “eat good food before bad”. Whatever your rules are, here are some tips for making it happen:
#1 – Include everyone in the creation – Have a family meeting and discuss the purpose of creating family rules. Ask your child what rules they think should be on the list. They will be more inclined to want to follow the rules if they helped create them.
#2 – Keep it simple – Everyone needs to be able to understand the rules. The fewer the words, the better.
#3 – Narrow down the list – After you have received input from everyone, begin to discuss what the most important rules are. I would suggest limiting the number to about 10 rules.
#4 – Family & House Rules – Discuss how the rules apply to guests & friends in the house as well. Also, they are family rules so depending on the details of them, they may apply outside the house as well.
#5 – Make them positive – Instead of saying “no yelling” maybe consider “use nice words to everyone”. Instead of saying “no lying”, you might use “always tell the truth”.
#6 – Print it and Display it – Put the chart in multiple places: kitchen, child’s room, etc. I highly recommend a lamination machine for things like this.
#7 – Refer to the list often – If rules are being broken, refer to the list. It’s a tangible thing where you can say “it looks like we should practice #3 on the rules chart.
#8 – Review the list regularly – Maybe there is another rule that you need to focus on. Your child may be following most of the rules but something new could be coming up.