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.