Rules Rules Rules…
Rules for your city
Rules for your church
Rules for your library
Rules for a classroom
Rules for a school
Rules for eating
Rules for traveling in a car
Rules for riding a bike
The list of rules in our world could go on and on, but the rule of thumb is that every part of our day runs smoothly when there are expectations set up in advance and when everyone knows what is going on.
What if a library did not set up rules to govern how we borrow and return books? What if once we get food was on the table there were no rules that labeled how and where you were suppose to eat it? What if when driving in our car we did not clearly know the rules of the road? There could be utter chaos, no one would feel safe and there would be no order.
The same chaos and mess could end up taking over your home if you do not begin to take a step in the right direction and devise a list of your house rules…
If using the word rules bothers you then simply call them systems, expectations, boundaries or your house motto.
Start with what you expect. These should be the three basic over arching goals for behavior such as: be nice, be a good listener, and be honest. You should then detail what this does and doesn’t look like. Next you should identify a system as to how these rules will be followed and how mom’s and dad’s responses will try to increase positive behavior and decrease negative behavior.
Give your child a clear list of zero tolerance behaviors including basic statements that cover a lot of territory…
There will be no: hurting, fussing, or fighting
Then give them tools to work through the inevitable mess ups… 1. Allow them to rewind when they feel like they want to retell something in a nicer way, or when they want to redo an action or word that came our of their mouth. 2. Tell them that taking a break and coming back ready to make good choices is what adults do all the time when they say things like… “I will be taking a quick walk and then I will be right back to talk this through”. Let them know it is a possible way to help them get their behavior back on track. 3. Alternative ways to solve the problem. If you are fighting over homework, allow the child to decide where they will do their homework… Inside the play tent in the basement or at their desk in their room.
By giving them tools for success that could help them turn their behavior around, you are giving them a chance to redo the behavior and learn from it. They will begin to repeat the positive behaviors and omit the negative behaviors once they know the systems, consequences, expectations,and rewards of following through on your house rules.