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I love the idea of giving kids a lot of freedom during their childhood.
They need to play a lot, have fun, and enjoy every moment of these wonderful years!
But I also think that rules are important for children! They help them understand what is right or wrong and allow them to learn how to behave.
Luckily for me, my son is happy to follow rules if he understands the reason behind them. This is why lately, I thought a lot about how to create family rules for our home.
I wanted to do this in a way that will make my kids want to follow them.
I never used time-outs or punishments for enforcing our rules, and I don’t plan to do this in the future either. So I decided to create our family rules in a playful way and make sure the kids will be happy to follow them.
Here are the steps that helped me implement our rules:
1. Involve the kids in setting the family rules
The parent is the one who sets the rules, but kids can have a word on this too! This is why when I created our list of rules, I talked about each of them with my son.
I explained why each rule is important. And I asked about his opinion. He was happy to be involved and came up with some nice suggestions that made our list even better!
2. Keep the family rules simple and clear
For young kids, it’s really hard to remember and follow a lot of rules. This is why creating simple and clear rules is very important!
3. Combine the family rules with your family values
I didn’t want our list of rules to seem too demanding. So I added our family values to the list as well!
They are a great way to remind us what is important for us. They also provide us a good motivation for following the rules.
Here are the family values we added to our list:
This list of values is also a wonderful reminder for me. When I face a difficult moment, reading the list helps me feel better a lot quicker.
I read this list to my son from time to time, and he is happy to talk about it. I hope that these values will always guide him through life!
4. Create a set of rules the whole family will follow
We can’t expect kids to follow rules we don’t follow. We can’t ask kids not to yell when they hear us yelling all the time. We can’t ask them to be polite if we don’t use polite words ourselves.
This is why our family rules apply to all of us!
I make sure that my son follows the rules, and I always remind him about our list if he breaks one of the rules.
And I taught him to do the same with me. If I raise my voice, he knows that he can tell me this is against our family rules.
This not only helps me calm down quicker, but it also teaches him (once again) how important our rules are.
This approach makes him want to follow the rules even more! And he is happy when he has the chance to remind us about the rules and see us following his advice.
5. Put the rules into practice in a playful way
We displayed the list in our home, so we always have it at hand. We read it from time to time just as a reminder, in a playful way.
Sometimes, if my son has a hard time following a rule, I use this strategy to set a limit in a calm and gentle way.
How to create family rules for your kids
If you like the idea of creating a list of family rules for your kids, here is how you can easily put this idea into practice.
First, download the printable family rules here, decide what template you want to use, and print it.
The printable file includes a list of family rules and a list of family values that you can print and display in your home. It also includes two templates, in case you want to create your own lists.
Here is how you can start using the posters:
- Gather all family members and start a conversation about family rules and values.
- If you want to use the filled-in lists, talk about each of the family rules (and values) with your kids and let them know why they are important.
- If you want to create your own lists, invite everyone to come up with suggestions.
- (optional) Laminate the lists or frame them.
- Display the lists in your home. When someone breaks one of the rules, use the list as a reminder and an opportunity to talk about what happened.
- Read the lists from time to time with your kids, as a playful reminder of all the things that are important in your home.
Our list of family rules
Every family is unique, so the rules can be different in each home. Still, I think that most of them apply to everyone.
Here is our list, in case you want to use it as inspiration:
No matter what rules are most important for you, I’m sure that a positive and playful approach will help your kids follow them.
It takes time and patience to teach kids to follow the rules, but it’s totally worthwhile!
If they are implemented in the right way and the kids truly understand them, they will guide them for the rest of their lives.
How to download the printable family rules
To download the printable, you just need to click the link below.
The printable file includes the list of family rules, the list of family values, and the list including both rules and values, plus the blank templates.
More parenting resources:
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