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House Rules That Make Sense

January 04, 20233 min read


Staying “safe at home” has created a never-before-seen kind of stress for parents and kids alike.

Now, some students are returning to school, some are turning to a virtual form of schooling, and some parents and students choose to homeschool. Any way you slice it, this new paradigm means more togetherness than ever before.

Being together more may not be easy. Little things that wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem start to bug you, and pretty soon it seems like all-out war.

So how can parents establish rules for their kids to follow that are easy and successful?

Start by understanding that rules are a great way to teach everyday living skills that are essential to our kids as they grow up.

Establishing Rules that Stick:

The biggest benefit to setting house rules is that, once the rules are in place, they allow parents to avoid micromanaging their kids. Wouldn’t that reduce your parental stress? Yep.

How do you do it? By establishing clear and realistic guidelines that kids can remember and execute.

The 3 Keys things to remember when  Setting up House Rules:

#1: Don’t Set Too Many Rules.

When too many rules are dumped on the kids, it's harder for them to follow. If kids can't remember them... well, you see where this is going.

Too many rules can also cause Unwanted Nagging Syndrome (UNS).  Let’s face it – your kids don’t want to hear you nag, and you don’t want to do it. This inevitably ends up turning your peaceful home into a battle zone. Who wants to live like that? Not your kids, and certainly not you.

To avoid UNS, choose five rules that are most important to your family. Make them clear to all your kids. Seriously, post them on the refrigerator, the bathroom mirrors, the computer screen... wherever they will be seen. Set clear guidelines and expectations (a fancy way of saying “use simple words”) for the rules you establish, including the consequences. Be sure you are ready to enforce those consequences, because your kids will test you. Yes, they will.

Remember, rules are just “orders” until they become habits.

#2: The Rules Apply to YOU, Too.

Like it or not, YOU are the primary role model for your kids. They need to see that you follow the rules… just like they are. The extra-added benefit here is that you no longer have to hear those whiny words, “It’s not fair!”

For example: setting up a schedule and following it is a rule both you and your kids can implement. Perhaps you set school time (kids)/ work time (parents) from 8:00am to 10:00am, followed by a half hour break, and then back to school/work time from 10:30am to noon. Be sure you are ready to stick to that schedule. Every. Single. Day. Create a schedule everyone can stick to so both you and your kids can be successful.

What happens if the rule only applies to your kids? For example: limiting screen time on electronic devices. The key is to make this expectation abundantly clear to your kids.

Whatever you do, don’t renege on the deal! The Number 1 Key to establishing those boundaries is CONSISTENCY.

#3: Don’t Set Rules Just Because You Prefer Things Done a Certain Way.

When setting a rule, first decide if it is realistic. You always want to set kids up to succeed. That’s the key to keeping them motivated to stick with it.

Also, make sure your kids understand why you are implementing each rule. When kids understand the WHY behind what you’re asking them to do, they will be more likely to be motivated to follow it.

Whatever happens, don’t indulge in a power struggle. Set rules that are clear, specific and that make sense to your kids, and then stick to it. This cuts down on the likelihood that they will break the rule, which in turn means you feel a lot less annoyed.

Following these simple guidelines will help you set up rules that are most likely to be followed by your kids.

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Kohila Sivas

Kohila Sivas is a parent and a lifelong learner. She has been a classroom teacher at all levels and a Special Needs Instructor and is a Professional Math Interventionist, a Master NLP coach, and a #1 Best selling author.

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