When you think of rules, do you usually associate them with school? Your children probably do, too. Nevertheless, household rules can be a great way to let each member of the family know exactly what is expected of him or her and are a valuable tool for defining boundaries. Too many rules can be overwhelming to kids, but a few general rules like the ones below cover a lot of ground, yet are easy to remember.
This is perhaps the single most important rule any family can have because it encompasses so many positive qualities. When people are respectful, they are also polite, considerate of people and property and tolerant of one another.
Tell the Truth
Lies—even those by omission—can lead to mistrust, lack of respect and a feeling of isolation among family members. When a family is open and honest, they are better able to communicate with one another and work together to solve problems.
Clean Up After Yourself
No one—not even full-time moms—should have to clean up after everybody’s messes. If everyone will be responsible for what they take out or mess up, there won’t be big overwhelming messes to deal with later. Some examples of the things each person should be responsible for are taking dirty dishes to the kitchen and rinsing them, picking up laundry off the floor, wiping up spills and cleaning up toys.
Adhere to Limits
Everybody needs limits and children especially thrive on them. Establish rules for how much time can be spent on the computer or video games, times for bed and curfew, limits on sodas and junk food, and any other rules that provide clear boundaries for your family. Then be sure to enforce them so that everybody knows what is expected of them and the consequences for not adhering to the limits.
Every member of the family needs to remember that running a household is a team effort and a little help can go a long way. Teach kids that when they see something that needs to be done, they should do it. Likewise, a family working together makes big jobs (like raking leaves) go a lot faster.