House Rules Kids Can Remember and Follow
The key to the rules working is two-fold. Both you and your partner must agree on the rules and you must agree to consistently enforce them. Secondly, the kids must understand the rules and understand the consequences for rule breaking. Once you and your partner have agreed, sit down with the kids at a calm time and explain the rules and maybe even post them on the fridge. Here are five rules to get you started.
- Use words when you are frustrated or upset.This seems obvious, but it’s not to kids. Explain that there is no hitting, punching, pinching, scratching, biting, kicking or head-butting. Explain that that means with hands, feet, toys or other objects.
- If mom or dad has not seen an argument from the very beginning, you can either settle it on your own or you can all face the same punishment. With multiple children it is often hard to tell when you walk in on the middle of an argument who started it. In the case of very young children, the most verbal child has an advantage and is more likely to sway the case her way whether it is true or not.
- When mom or dad says, “No,” that is the end of the discussion. You are the grown up and you do not always owe your child an explanation for your decisions. If you children understand that no is no is no early on, you will save a lot of needless back and forth.
- If mom says “No,” do not go to dad to try to get a “Yes.” Parents must agree to this rule and back each other up on it at all times for it to work. Kids love to try this and will try it repeatedly as they grow up if they think their parents can be divided.
- Always tell the truth. Always. If you did something wrong, tell the truth about it. You may still get punished. However, if you lie, it will be far worse in the end for you. The same applies to a sibling who lies for another sibling.
These rules are simple enough for a very young child to understand yet, they cover enough ground to carry you into the teenage years. And, keep in mind the rules will change as your children get older. Every home situation will require its own rules. No matter what you come up with, remember to keep the rules simple and easily applicable to a variety of situations.