Simplify Your Life: Writing Household Rules

Sometimes the hardest part of managing a home with little ones is discipline and consistency of that discipline. Many families {including ours} have a hard time finding that delicate balance in discipline. Teaching obedience is not easy. Maintaining order is certainly not easy either. But if you can establish a set of expectations for your children and their behavior, it certainly will simplify your life.

Regardless of what your family uses as discipline, it’s important to find some consistent ground and to explain to your kids what you expect of them. A clear list of rules should be posted somewhere at their own eye level so they are always aware of what you expect of them.

I actually cringe at the word “rule.” We’ve all heard the adage “Rules were made to be broken.” Rules are ridged, unyielding, and frankly, stifling. I don’t want to create a regime in my house, just establish some order and instill some obedience. So I titled our household “rule” list simply, “Expectations.”

You don’t want to overwhelm them with a list of do’s and do-not-do’s. I wanted more than anything for our posted expectation list to instill an atmosphere of obedience and character enrichment. As a parent, we’re constantly helping our little ones build their personality and character, and it’s our job to gently guide them towards the right decisions and attitudes in life. Maybe that’s why “rules” don’t seem fitting. Jesus didn’t ask us to love others more than ourselves because it’s a “rule” for us to follow. He asked us to live a life of love and generosity because that’s what he expects from us.

Writing a list of family expectations doesn’t have to be hard. I simply thought of some of the issues that Little seems to get away with way too often, and some of the most important values that I hope to instill in him, and I worked it into a list. It doesn’t have to be long {and shouldn’t be}, and you can cover the basics in one “rule.” What I realized as I created this list was that I need this as much as {if not more} than my two year old. This isn’t just pointed towards him, but towards all three of us. We adults need to remember that he’s watching our every move, and it wouldn’t kill us to be reminded to practice generosity or helpfulness every now and then.

Here are our newly formed family expectations:

  • Show respect to each family member and their things.

  • No hitting, kicking, banging, or spitting.

  • No fits, yelling, or whining.

  • Be gentle with the pets.

  • Share with others.

  • Pick up toys before nap and bedtime.

  • Use your manners.

  • Look for ways to be helpful.

  • Be kind and encouraging.

  • Practice generosity and selflessness.

I’ll print these out and put them on a piece of cardstock in our kitchen for him to see clearly. I’m going to add some pictures to make it easier for him to comprehend. If our family’s needs change, we’ll update the list, but this will work for now.

Have a great week, and wonderful Simple Sunday!



1 Comment

Filed under Simplify Your Life

One response to “Simplify Your Life: Writing Household Rules

  1. Love Makes a Family is one of our favorite quotes.

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