Family rules that set a foundation for behavior
I’ve been wanting to create family rules for a while. I love the idea of having something in writing that I can refer to when I am talking to the kids throughout the day — something that will help create an understanding of how they need to behave, without having a list of 75 specific rules to follow. I wanted to create simple rules that encompass many situations. So here is what we have decided for our family rules.
- Treat others with kindness and respect.
- Be honest and trustworthy.
- Clean up your own messes.
- Obey Mom and Dad with a good attitude.
- Look for ways to help or be kind to others.
With my kids, I emphasize that we follow family rules not just in our house but everywhere we go.
What I like about having these 5 simple family rules is that they are easy to remember and they cover so many situations. Treating others with kindness and respect means that my son needs to stop jumping on his Grandpa when asked. It means not breaking his brother’s Lego creation. Instead of immediately responding by telling them to stop, it helps me put it into perspective for them.
“Are you being kind to your brother when you do that?”
“Is it respectful to other people in the store when you scream?”
Looking for ways to help and be kind to others means my daughter might help clean up her brother’s spilled milk. It means that when her brother is sad or sick she could draw him a picture to make him smile.
I often find myself talking to my kids about behavior that I want them to change. These rules give us a foundation for why we should or shouldn’t do certain things.
It isn’t just a list of rules I am throwing at them; they are rules I need to follow as well. I want my kids to see me being kind to others, being truthful, and looking for ways to help others. I also want them to remind me when my tone of voice is not kind, or when I am not responding in a way that follows our family rules — after all, these are family rules.
Quick note: I asked my husband to design something cute with the family rules so I could print it out and tape to the wall. Instead, he had them professionally printed on mat board. They look fabulous! We are not normal.
His first drafts, as well as an 8.5×11 version of the final design, are available to print below.