Family rules provide a framework
for the entire chores system

What is the point of family rules? Well, I think kids benefit from having a structure of behavior expectations for everyone in the family, adults included. Kids hear no! no! no! all day long it's easy to forget about positive family interactions we should be striving toward.

Most kids think of rules as a bunch of “don't”s but we phrased our rules in a positive way so we all have a model to work toward. We also focused on safety first, since that's our priority and it's something kids can understand. Okay! So here are our big four:

    1. I keep myself safe
    Problems with this rule would include doing dangerous things like kids trying to climb up onto our roof (this has happened) or running with scissors.

    2. I keep other people safe
    This is a big one with siblings, isn't it? Hurting another person in any way falls under the second rule.

    3. I take care of things
    I use rule number 3 in cases of damage to stuff (intentional or not) and also not putting stuff away

    4. I treat people with kindness and respect
    This last one is a catch all for overall attitude. Problems with this rule include deliberately disobeying or being rude or mean to someone else.

I think kids appreciate clear expectations so that if there's a problem there are no surprises. It's less likely that they'll feel picked on if there's already an existing structure for behavior expectations. Through the wording I also hope to create and cultivate a “we're all in this together” attitude where we care for one another in our family.

My older kids have internalized these rules, so it's mostly my littlest that gets the reminders: “which family rule does that break?” or “wow, you managed to break three family rules at once. Let's talk about what happened,” or even preventatively, like “are you sure you're remembering rule number one?” At the end of the day he has a section on his star chart for each rule, which ties it all together.

Now that I've hopefully convinced you that your family will be stronger with some rules of your own, you're ready to get started! We held a family meeting and talked about what rules we needed as a family (the kids chimed in with no hitting! No kicking! No drawing on the walls! Etc.) and I funnelled the ideas into something generic so that there were only a few simple rules that we could all remember. Try these family rules or create your own! Good luck! Return from Family Rules to Chore Charts