Having a set of family rules seems to be a fairly common thing. But how do you go about choosing your family’s rules? We thought long and hard about our family rules. Here are some tips on how to create a set of rules for your own family, and our own personal family rules with a printable sign!
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Why Family Rules?
First off, why do you need a set of family rules? Do you really want to spell out every single scenario that could possibly happen through a child’s life? I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of things I have said as a mom that I never thought I would find myself saying (baby dolls don’t bathe in the toilet could be one such example). To make a rule for every crazy scenario would become exhausting. Plus, we would be expected to not only constantly update the family rules, but to remember them all!
Family rules are not simply guidelines for what you shouldn’t do, they are the framework for what you should become!
By having a set of family rules, you will no longer find yourself in a monologue about what behavior is and isn’t acceptable. Quick key phrases can serve as a reminder in the moment. Repeating one of these rules as an expectation before an event where that rule could become in question is more effective than a long lecture.
How to Create Family Rules
1. Family Council
In the Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners, Mama Bear gets fed up with her family’s rude behavior and makes a large poster of each offense and the corresponding consequence. Rather than single-handedly making a lengthy list and presenting it to the family, why not ask their opinion. By having a family council, you are able to get the opinions of the entire family instead of your own view. Problems that you were not aware of may even be brought up in this meeting.
Together you can decide on the behaviors you are wanting to see exhibited in the family and unacceptable ones to avoid. Consequences or rewards can be discussed together at this point. See what motivates your family to become more united!
If you are stumped as to what you want your family rules to be, there are many cute printables and signs available now with great ideas of family rules!
2. Simple & Adaptable
Family dynamics are guaranteed to change over time. Family size will grow and shrink, and age ranges will fluctuate over the years. The more simple the rules are, the more adaptable they will be as your family evolves. For example, having a rule such as “no snatching toys” will not be as applicable to a teenager as to a toddler. However, “Be Kind” is a rule that applies over a lifetime.
When a child knows their behavior is less than ideal and you start in on the lecture, they tune out. By having a quick and simple phrase, the chance of the message being heard is much greater. The family rule could even be repeated together!
Simple rules based on attributes of moral character are universal. These will show up as themes in good books and movies, and rules in a class room. If your family rules are based on these attributes, your children will find applications to your family rules in many more settings than just in the homes.
It is so hard to remember in the heat of the moment to not go off on a long lecture. Practice concisely referring back to the family rules. If you find yourself in a lecture, take a breath and ask the child which family rule needs some attention. Keep it simple enough to refer back to the rules often!
Set aside time to regularly review the family rules as a family. You could recite them over meal times, or each week in a family meeting. When we first introduced our family rules
Our Family Rules
Our family rules are from an amazing talk given in January 2001 by Gordon B. Hinckley. This talk was later made into a book called Way to Be!: 9 Ways to be Happy and Make Something of Your Life. In this book are 9 different attributes and then a chapter describing each of the attributes. Each chapter not only describes exactly what the attribute means, but gives a story example. My kids love the stories, finding them easier to relate to, and fun to retell.
I love things to be simple. Our rules are simple, and our reminder is simple. Here is the free printable we have hanging in our home to remind us of what we want to BE.
Your Family Rules
I’m excited for each of YOU to create your own set of family rules. What attributes do you hope your children will develop? What behaviors do you want to encourage? How will you go about instituting these new family rules? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!