Photo by Marisa Howenstine on Unsplash

Rules are a basic and necessary part of our lives. Their existence ensures proper and correct conduct is carried out within society. We all have our own house rules, that is how every family works. We need these rules because they are essential for the social integration of the child. In addition, rules give the child a framework that helps in avoiding troublesome situations.

It isn’t always easy to get a child’s cooperation and have them apply the rules we set. The key is to get them involved. If the house rules are set with them, they have no reason not to follow them. On the contrary, rules are now not imposed, but rather co-created with the child who now believes he/she has a big role in its establishment.

However, to easily follow the rules, they must necessarily be adapted to a child’s age. Remember, a 2 year old isn’t capable of the same things as a 5 year old.

Setting the rules

The rules must above all be communicated, taught, and explained to children. It is indeed important to explain to them the meaning of the rule so that they understand that it is not just a constraint imposed on them by their parents but a key to their future social integration.

  • The rules must be clear and concise: Why do I want to set this rule? What will happen if my child breaks this rule? How would I react if my child breaks this rule? We, as parents, must study all possibilities and scenarios while setting any rule.
  • Involve your child in the making of the rule: Explain the importance of these rules and listen to your child’s perspective. Help them understand that there are consequences for not following the rules – consequences, not punishments.  To make the activity fun, you can draw the rules on a board and have your child decorate and color them to make them somewhat “visually” attractive.
  • Be consistent: Always follow up on your decisions, or else your child will feel lost and end up not following the rules.

What happens if the child breaks the rules?

Speak to your child, create a connection, and make sure that they are understanding the information you’re trying to send. If not, try to help your child understand that there are consequences for breaking the rules; however, always try to ensure that your child understands the consequences. For example, if your child spreads their toys in the living room instead of the playroom, communicate with simple words that there will be consequences : such as no longer playing in the living room.

Let’s try to make sure we point out to our children that setting rules isn’t an attempt to squeeze the fun out of the house. It solely exists to protect our children from danger and maintain healthy, loving boundaries to make our duties as parents easier and smoother.

For us adults, we can independently meet our needs, but our children do so sometimes by showing up crying, whining, or doing silly things to get what they want. Let’s pay more attention to these needs. That is why before making any decision, attempt to understand what your child is feeling.

House rules might have a clear purpose for you, but not necessarily for your child (yet). You should help them understand by allowing them to assume the logical consequences of their actions. Let’s avoid inflicting any punishments as they would only render as counterproductive in the long run.

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