House rules for kids


Let’s face it: sometimes our homes can be stressful and chaotic, especially when we have children. The first step to making your home a more peaceful place is by setting house rules. Co-founder MumsAloud.com and parenting enthusiast, Tina Ok said.

House rules are important for many reasons. The first and most important is to help everyone in your household get along better, and make family life more peaceful. Another reason is for predictability. Children thrive on routine as it keeps them safe and helps them know what to expect. Having rules teach children to know exactly what is expected of them always. If there are no rules, it’s difficult for children to know how to behave.

“It is important to have house rules as they reduce power struggle and ultimately reduce the number of times we have to shout for something to get done. House rules can start at any time; for younger ones, you start by showing them what is expected of them. As they get older, you can include them in creating a house rule and remember that after a while they won’t seem like rules anymore, as it becomes what everybody expects and does automatically.”

Tina stressed that it is key to be mindful that the house rules can change especially as they get older. An easy way to set the rules will be to look around the house and identify “problem” issues that you may find yourself struggling with and having to shout about so often. Make sure it is something they can relate with like throwing school uniforms on the floor after they return from school and you having to tidy up the trail after them or leaving food crumbs on the table after eating or talking to each other rather than shouting at each other among others.
Brainstorm the problem areas with them. Ask them something like: “what is it that mummy shouts about most of the time?” They will remember this and it will help you come up with a list. Then ask them how they think they can help mummy shout less often around these problem areas. And because they are involved in coming up with solutions, it will be easy for them to remember rather than impose some random rules on them.

Make sure the rules are simple and easy enough for them to follow. Help them understand that, as a family, just like parts of the body, when they do their part it becomes easy for parents to do their part.
She added that other ways to come up with house rules could be around three main areas:

• Firstly, protection from harm (don’t go outside to play without telling any adult first, as it may be too dangerous out there. Don’t play near the kitchen when I am cooking, as you may get hurt from fire, sharp objects.

• Secondly, taking care of things (keep your toys away after playing with them so they don’t get lost and you become miserable, make your bed when you wake up, keep your clothes in the laundry basket after taking them off so that they can get washed).

• Lastly, showing respect for other members of the house (no fighting with your brother or sister as they can get hurt).

Make sure you explain the rules and the reason why it is necessary for everyone to adhere. When they understand the reason for the rule, they are most likely going to cooperate in implementing it. When you have put it together, confirm that everyone is happy with it. Then, print it on a piece of paper and place it where everyone can be reminded of it, and everyone means that adults, too, are not exempted.

Remember, when you model following the rules with your children, they will have no choice but to take after you.

Photo credit: Fantastic Services Group.

Source: Guardian

Sleep training is basically a process of helping a baby learn to sleep well, teaching your child how to sleep independently without help like rocking, backing, nursing, carrying, etc., which usually adds to your stress as a parent.

While we all understand the importance of food to the body, we fail to realise that sleep is more important, and is an essential part of human development. In fact, it is possible to go days without food, but just try going three or four nights in a row without sleep and you just might start hallucinating. Yes! That’s how dangerous lack of sleep is.

Now, as a parent, when you’ve not had enough consolidated sleep, consecutively for say three days, how do you feel? Tired, cranky, exhausted, unproductive—the list is exhaustive. The same can be said for kids. Imagine what your children go through each day when they are not having enough sleep, especially four-month-olds and above.

Benefits of good consolidated sleep

  • They are more alert at school, and easily grasp and comprehend things. Yes, children tend to be forgetful because, of course, they are kids. But their attention span and comprehension is better when they have slept properly.
  • Increase in concentration level is also noticeably better.
  • They are physically and emotionally healthy, as the brain repairs and recovery takes place during consolidated sleep period.
  • The growth hormone in children is developed adequately during sleep.
  • Mummy time becomes possible. I mean, imagine putting your feet up after a long day, with a glass of wine while reading a book, watching your favourite TV show or catching up on BellaNaija. Of course, your child must be fast asleep for you to truly enjoy it.
  • Extra bonding time with your partner. Now, for me this is just the icing on the cake! Who doesn’t love bonding time with zero interruption from your little one.

Some of the things holding us back include:

Co-sleeping with your child
While this may be seen as bonding in the beginning, it is a long term recipe for disaster, because you’ll never be able to get enough sleep.

Guilt as a working parent
You know those times you tell yourself you’re just going to bond with your child, but really you’re just bonding with your phone after a long day.

Sometimes, we are just so impatient to put the child to sleep. You just don’t want to stop what you’re doing at the expense of your child’s health.

Easily give in to your child
Your child wants to continue watching cartoons till 11 PM, and you agree so he/she doesn’t cry or disturb your peace. This is wrong whichever way you look at it. Who is the parent, who is the child?

5 signs to know your child’s sleep pattern needs to be improved:

  • Your child throws too many unnecessary tantrums. We sometimes wrongfully assume that it is “normal” for kids to throw tantrums, but it really isn’t.
  • Your child cries too much, especially in the mornings.
  • If you have to wake the child up in the mornings, and the child is refusing to wake up or sleepy till he or she is ready for school.
  • You are in and out of hospital many days, except your child has a form of health challenge.
  • You aren’t as productive as you should be as a mum.

Creating a sleep pattern for your child needs consistency and a realistic sleep routine. When you are having a bit of challenge creating a consolidated sleep pattern for your child, as a child psychologist who is also a sleep consultant, I just advise parents to sleep train the child.

Sleep training is basically a process of helping a baby learn to sleep well, teaching your child how to sleep independently without help like rocking, backing, nursing, carrying, etc., which usually adds to your stress as a parent.

Children need, depending on their ages, an average of about ten to fourteen hours of consolidated (uninterrupted) sleep every day, while newborns need about fourteen to sixteen hours. I hear some mums say, I wasn’t sleep trained or taught to sleep and I grew up great, why should I teach my child to sleep? But what we forget as parents is that life sleep trained us.

Remember in those days there were no gadgets, DSTV, YouTube, unlimited access to internet. Children’s TV stations closed 7 PM. Your parents went to bed after the 10 PM news. There was no generator and when power went off, everyone retired to bed. So we were sleeping well and having uninterrupted sleep.

Fast forward to this digital age with everything 24 hours. 24 hours access to the internet, generator, TV, phones, etc. This lifestyle is greatly affecting our sleep pattern, thus affecting the quality of our sleep and health.

That is why it’s necessary to help your child develop a great sleep pattern now. Imagine their lives ten years down the line if nothing is done now in this digital age.

If your child isn’t having enough sleep, or you as a mum aren’t, you’re harming both of you. Is this what you really want? Or would you like to do something about it today? Think about it.

Source: Bellanaija