Every home needs some family rules. It helps create structure, show what is acceptable behaviour in your home and most importantly, it helps teach children general good manners. Before you rush off to create a list of your own rules for your family and kids, here’s what you should know.
Did you know that one of the easiest way to get some peace and harmony in your home is to create some rules that both kids and adults can follow?
You’re probably thinking, ‘Wait! There’s no way my child can follow rules!’
Well, actually they’d love it! Think about it for a moment… instead of nagging, reminding or yelling at your child about screen time, what if there was a chart in the bedroom that told him when he could have screen time, for how long and what had to happen before he had it?
Here’s what would happen: he’d know exactly when he is having his screen time. So if he came to you, you’d say: Sorry darling, it’s at 4pm. It’s only noon now.
If he hasn’t changed his dress or done his homework, you could gently remind him that after he’d done his work, he is free to take it. “That’s what it says on the chart.”
Kids fight because they feel helpless and unable to exercise their right. Knowing when and how, helps keep the friction away.
Why Family Rules are Important.
Think about it for a minute. If there were no rules in a country, would you consider that country a safe place to live?
If everyone had the freedom to do whatever they liked, say whatever they wanted to and behave in any manner they deemed fit, would you call that country a good environment for growth?
It is the same way with families. For your home environment to be nurturing, loving and a place where children can thrive, explore and express their needs, your family needs to know what is allowed and what not.
Most often our children aren’t looking to make trouble. Things happen because they didn’t know what was allowed or what the “rule” was regarding it. So when you have the rules clearly written down in your home, it becomes easier to follow them. No more yelling, nagging or reminding.
What rules teach our children
The first thing that rules teach children is knowing what is allowed and what is acceptable behavior. It helps them understand what will not be tolerated. This helps them not just know what is an absolutely NO, but also if there is a bit of a ‘wiggle-room’ for them to do things as they please.
Sibling rivalry, bad behavior, talking back, not praying, not studying, throwing their belongings here and there, not helping you with house work, keeping untidy, strong emotions, screen time battles – whatever it may be – you can minimize all of this (even eliminate them completely) by simply creating a set of rules in your home.
Family Rules are the good manners in our homes that everyone must follow. They are also the simple habits that are recommended for a family to get along. If ever there is a conflict at home, or if ever the parents don’t agree on some matter with the children, we can pull out the rules or repeat why something is not allowed.
When my children have been habitually leaving laundry out, I can remind them that “we are tidy people“. It is important to take care of our belongings “… as per our family rule”. Whatever the conflict… it is quickly resolved by just reminding what is on the chart.
How Can all Family Members Know and Follow the Rules?
If you want to create some harmony in your home, then it is very important that you and your spouse sit with the children and have a discussion on good manners before you create your rules. The success of these rules being followed, depends on their involvement in the process.
Yes, meaning to say: you should involve your children in creating your family rules.
This is important because it is the best way for family members to get on the same page about those rules. When you involve them in the process of creating these rules, they take interest.
In other words, think of your family rules like the constitution of a democratic country! It is for the people, by the people, of the people! 🙂
The simplest way to let your family know the rules is to start by writing down your family’s rules and creating a chart to stick up .
How to Decide What Should be a Family Rule
The RULE about making rules is that ‘A rule should be only on the list if it is absolutely necessary. And failure to put it there is destroying the peace of your home. ‘
So, any time you’re unsure if a rule should be made… test it for a few weeks or months. Notice if it was necessary to put on the chart or if it is used infrequently.
Another important note about family rules is that sometimes, we have to add rules later on because something needed a rule.
Let me give you an example: As my children were growing up, I noticed an annoying habit that whenever we shut the door, they were always interrupting us or bursting in without knocking.
My husband and I would be in a middle of a call or meeting, or we would be sleeping, when someone would would just barge in. This definitely needed a family rule that “it was impolite to enter without knocking.” Things like these, may prompt you to feel a need for adding it to the chart.
Family structure and culture matters too. For example, my family is Muslim. We pray five times a day as a rule. Children start praying from when they turn seven. Muslims are required by their faith to pray five times a day regularly. It is part of their routine. So, we made it a family rule that “we are Muslims and we pray five times a day.”
Similarly whatever culture you are and whatever you have to do regularly, if you intend to make it a habit or good manner, turn it into a family rule.
How Many Rules is a Good Number of Family Rules?
In my opinion, you don’t need more than 5-10 rules at a time in your family. Seven is the magic number. The reason I say this, is because, when you have too many rules, it is hard to remember.
Depending on the age of the little children in the family, you may need fewer than necessary too. For example, if you have toddlers or preschoolers in your family. They may not need many rules. It suffices to have just enough rules that govern them and their behaviour with the rest of the family.
For toddlers, the reason for rules may be hitting, prolonging bedtime, frequent snacking, making a huge messes etc. So in this case your rules may be accordingly.
What if you need more rules? Sometimes, you may need more rules on a similar topic. For example, your children’s daily routine or screen time or meal time or travel safety or elevator safety or body safety...
In this case, when you need more rules on one topic, create a new rules chart for that topic.
Steps for Creating Rules for Your Family
As I said earlier, the success of your family rules depends on your family’s involvement in the process… You have to sit with your children and involve them to create it.
Here’s how to create a family rules chart for your family
Step one: Call a family meeting. Gather your children and the adults and sit together comfortably.
Step two: Explain why you are meeting. You want to create a chart of good behavior for the family and you want your children to help you create one. Ask them what kind of rules they want in the family.
Step three: Make a list of everyone’s recommendations. Tell them that you can only have a few important rules because too many rules makes it very hard to follow them all. So using a highlighter mark 7-10 of the most important ones.
Step four: Write your finalized list of rules on the blank template.
Step five: Paste the rules somewhere visible.
Need ideas for creating different Family Rules for your family?
Our Calm Confident Children’s Bundle is an entire Library of positive parenting resources that can help you create a peaceful and nurturing home environment.
One of the resources it contains is the In this House Rules Pack that has examples on how to create family rules, screen time and quiet time rules to gain more cooperation and minimize power struggles.
Example Of Family Rules For Your Muslim Home
As a Muslim family, I have some rules that include my Islamic teachings and Muslim manners. There are only 5-7 rules in our family at a time. I have a family rules chart that I have been using for a very long time, ever since my kids were mere babies. I have middle school and teenage kids now.
Would you like to see my Family Rules Chart? Fill the form below. It’s my free gift to you!
Want to Raise Your Children through Positive Parenting Methods?
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