While I understand the title makes me sound like a certain notorious dictator. But trust me, that’s not how it is. Let me elaborate. There was a time, when I was saying ‘No’ to my son so much so that, I fear, poor kid got confused as to what was expected of him. He must have thought that he wasn’t allowed to do pretty much anything. That’s when I realized importance of having house rules clearly and explicitly explained. The best way would be to write them as a list. You know ‘power of written words’? So I wrote the rules and stuck them on my refrigerator. While writing I made sure that entire family was involved and get to add the rules which were acceptable to everyone. There is a proper discussion, over a not so round table. The rules are explained and I remember telling my child a story on why we need to follow the rules. I explained him in the way he would understand. Like how nature follows rules. You know we see the sun rising each morning because the earth rotates around it. The sun follows rules so does earth. Nature has rules. Even animals follow rules. The birds return to their respective nests at night. So on and so forth. He understood the importance of following the rules. Of course, the rules are updated frequently to suit the age, circumstances, and challenges as and when they arrive. Let’s discuss some rules that can be enforced to make the life easier for everyone-
- Situation1- kids are watching way too much television. Rule that can be enforced – fix a duration and also the specific time that they are allowed to watch the TV. There can also be rules if going for a movie, that would be included in the screen time and hence no watching the idiot-box that day.
- Situation2- no specific time for studies. Rules to be enforced- a set time and duration for studies. No playing while studies, just like they don’t study while they play.
- Situation 3- disrespectful talks Rules – the most important rule of the house is treating the family with respect. There is no way that it would be acceptable to behave badly. And not just with family, but with anyone.
- Situation 4- kids are snacking on junk, whenever they want. Rule- ask before snacking. And no snacking just before meals. Desert only after the meal, usually after the dinner.
- Situation 5- toys/clothes/shoes scattered around the house. Rules- put the toys and laundry where they belong. Let’s help one another. A place for everything and everything in place.
- Situation 6- Kids not sleeping in their room. Rule- everybody sleep in their respective rooms. If they can’t sleep on their own, any parent can be with them till they fall asleep.
These are some rules to avoid the sticky situations. But there should be clearly listed consequences too, in case the rules are broken. The consequences could be anything from time out to taking privileges away, if they don’t behave their age ( follow the rules). For older kids there can be positive writing, where they will have to write about a topic, in 500 words. Positive reinforcement is the only way to go.
What are the rules of your house? Please share in the comments.