Establishing House Rules

Last month after an afternoon of bickering by the kids which escalated into a screaming match, our House Rules were born. house rulesThat evening I sat down and wrote up a list of possible house rules – no hitting, no teasing, no yelling, no whining, no throwing things….It wasn’t hard to figure out which ones our house needed.

Now our kids are 5 and 8, and I didn’t want to overwhelm them with a huge list of rules so I began combining some of the rules.

The first rule became about how we should speak with one another. We asked them to speak nicely (which includes please and thank you though it isn’t listed on the actual rule.) Lexie can be quite demanding so that got addressed in this one as well.

Rule 1 – Speak Nicely – No yelling, whining or demanding

Our kids are usually quite good about not hitting or kicking each other though sometimes they do push each other’s feet off the couch. And I was shocked one day last month when Lexie actually bit Jase enough to remove some skin. She had never done that before and thus Rule 2 came about.

Rule 2 – No hitting, biting, kicking or throwing things

It is a constant battle to get the kids to pick up after themselves. My husband often says that they need to put one toy away before playing with another, but their play typically involves lots of toys at once. Also my kids seem to run around in their underwear at home a lot. This means that they take off their clothes within minutes of coming in the door. If we don’t clean up, then the house is overrun with toys and dirty clothes.

Rule 3 – Pick up your own toys, shoes and dirty clothes

It never fails that when my husband and I begin a conversation someone interrupts it either because they need something, or because they have something to say that obviously just can’t wait.

Rule 4 – No interrupting adults when they are speaking unless it is an emergency

house rules fullNow there are tons of other rules we could have written down, but we decided to start with these four. I printed them up on a sheet of paper and hung one on our refrigerator and one in our computer room. We sat the kids down and discussed the rules with them. We stressed that every family member was to follow them.

So far, it has worked out pretty well – though they still struggle with #3. The kids will even remind my husband and I if we are arguing that we are supposed to “speak nicely.” I am sure over the next few months we may need to adjust our House Rules, and we will probably add to the list but for now, these are working out great for our family. I really think having them written down and posted makes a big difference.