Having family rules, helps develop decorum. Without some house rules, you can expect behavioral issues from your children which will continue in their teens. At that point, having them to obey your orders can be difficult. When you implement family rules from the beginning, your children are more welcoming to following them and even as the rules change, they will have developed an understanding on why they are important and why they should be followed.
Developing Rules: The Basics
Having family rules, helps establish the framework about how you are going to operate as a family unit. It depends upon you and the kind of rules you want to introduce. But when rules are clear, everyone is treated fairly. However, before you put your rules forward you want to make sure that everyone agrees to them and the rules are not in favor of any one person.
Involvement of Children in Rules
It is a valid question for parents, whether or not to include children, when it comes to making family rules. Anyone who is part of the rules and has suggested them is more than likely to follow them as well. Children are quite rebellious and you can’t expect them to do what you tell them to do, easily. They want reasons and justifications. So, it is reasonable that before setting any family rules, you involve your children in the discussion, evaluate the pros, cons and benefits of each rule and have them agree to it willingly. A child is more likely to follow rules they have suggested or agreed to willingly. Also, know that when children understand the reason for the rules, they will follow them.
Kinds of Rules to Set
As a family unit to operate in peace, you can have a number of rules or choose a few, which you think, are most important. Rules differ with your children’s age. For instance, a rule about fighting may not be as applicable to older children as it would to the younger ones. But make sure to keep them flexible as well. Rigidity can do the opposite than create decorum in the household and you don’t want your children to be breaking rules and lying to you. Some rules that you can introduce could be regarding:
- Daily chores
- Treatment of each other
Remember that the rules you are setting are a reflection of your core family values and beliefs. They will also help develop your children’s habits as they grow up, so choose wisely. Maybe you don’t want them to eat their food while watching TV and that’s a rule you can have for them.
Family Rules Establish Responsibility
Once you have developed mutually agreed upon rules for all members of the family, make sure everyone is following them. Rules also help develop responsibility, because your child learns to abide by them. They should understand what it means to follow rules and what happens if they don’t follow them. Set consequences for members who break the rule, because otherwise there will be no point of setting them. Clear and unambiguous goals will set the groundwork and make it easier for you to distribute chores and establish responsibility when the time comes.
Getting Children to Do Chores
Getting your child to do chores is no easy task for any parent, but if you have been successful in establishing and implementing family rules, getting them to do chores should be an easier next step.
However, like family rules, the responsibility of chores should also be developed from a young age. Younger children are more excited to help mom around the house but as they grow older, the enthusiasm wanes. How can you make sure your child does not run away from chores but instead takes responsibility for them? Here are some tips:
The earlier you start handing out little responsibilities to your children, the earlier they will learn to take the responsibility. If suddenly one day, at age 5 or 10 you will tell them to make their bed, they will be astonished as to what and why you are telling them to do. Contrary to that, when you engage your child with you in the chores you are doing, they are more likely to do them on their own as well, when asked.
Treat them as a Young Individuals
If you’re going to keep treating your child as “toddler” they are highly unlikely to take any responsibility for anything. While they are young and for you they will always be, it is important to start treating them as an elder as they grow up. You can ask them “now that you’re 6 which means you are stronger and smarter let’s see if you can help me put the table”.
Make Chores Fun
Chores don’t have to be dull and boring and you don’t have to make them do it in a structured manner. Remember that you’re just trying to establish the fact that they start becoming responsible. Therefore, whether the chore includes tidying the bed, putting away their toys or cleaning their room, let them have fun while doing it. Let them sing and dance or play music in the house so that they feel as if they’re having fun while getting things done.
Introduce a Reward System
Children can be lazy and not to listen to you when it comes to doing chores. In order to motivate them for it, develop a reward system. For instance, allow them to play an extra half hour after they have cleaned their room. At this point, this is a win-win situation and your child will eventually learn that they should be taking responsibility for work around the house.
How you treat your child when they are young is paramount to how they will behave when they grow older. Family rules are the first step in establishing a harmonious relationship with your children where they learn mannerisms and start feeling responsible from a young age. Of course, don’t be harsh on your children, but taking baby steps early on, can help ensure that your children turn into responsible people as adults.
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.
Browse other Parenting Guide articles from Nanny Options
or keep up to date with us on Facebook.