Get tips for setting family rules depending on the ages and stages of your children.
Making rules, guidelines and expectations based on love are the surest way to build a home on a firm foundation. But what sort of rules and guidelines should you set for your family?
Well, it’s probably safe to say that rules and guidelines that help your family grow as a unit and as individuals are the best way to go. Also, the rules you set for your family should be based on the age of your children, the particulars of your schedules, and your morals and belief system.
To make things easier for you, here are some suggestions when it comes to making family rules:
Households with toddlers
Households with toddlers will likely need to have simple family rules that primarily focus on safety and discipline.
1. Bedtime rules and expectations should be simple, clear-cut and consistent.
2. Lifelong eating habits are usually established during toddlerhood. Rules about throwing food, eating a balanced diet and too much sugar should be set by example.
3. Expectations regarding listening should be clear and easily understood by your toddler. For example: Periods of ‘time out’ should be 1 minute for every year of your child’s age.
4. You should also be consistent. If you’re too tired to discipline today, there is no reason you should expect your toddler to understand why he/she is being disciplined for doing something today but wasn’t disciplined for doing the same thing yesterday.
Households with preschoolers
Preschoolers need rules and expectations that are consistent with what they’re familiar with up to this point, as well as a few additions, like:
1. Give them responsibility. Preschoolers are ready to be assigned simple household chores such as helping to set the table, folding laundry and picking up their toys.
2. Watch their way with words. Preschoolers are famous for taking new words out for a test drive.
It is at this point in time that you need to be ready to set and enforce rules regarding acceptable and unacceptable language.
Do you want to prohibit the words ‘shut up’ and ‘hate’? How important are ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to you?
3. Disobedience is most likely going to rear its ugly head during this time.
When toddlers do just the opposite of what you ask and keep going back to what you say ‘no’ to time after time, they are simply testing boundaries. They don’t have the reasoning skills to out and out defy you, no matter how smart you know they are.
It’s different though, for preschoolers. Again, the key is consistency, plus some self-control on your part.
Let’s face it — you can’t react to something your preschooler does one time and then let the same misdeed go completely unnoticed the next time. The best thing to do then is to have a game plan, and decide in advance how you want to handle situations.
4. Your child’s social skills are going to be developing during the preschool years, especially if you work outside the home.
Because the bulk of your child’s personality and attitudes will be formed during these years, it is important that you mirror and teach values like humility, compassion, kindness, generosity and honesty. These should be part and parcel of your set of family rules.