How to introduce family rules

Emmy Samtani
Emmy Samtani
Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Created on Jan 22, 2024 · 2 mins read

Figuring out how to manage your family can be a lot easier with some family rules. Treating each other with kindness and looking after everyone are important things to verbalise for your little one/s. Rules may seem strict but they’re good for helping everyone get along, see eye to eye, and keep the peace. Setting up this dynamic starts young, so here are a few tips!

Some examples of family rules might include

  • Taking your shoes off at the door
  • Use a quiet voice at night to not disturb your siblings or parent
  • Always say please to show respect to each other
  • Say sorry when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings
  • Always wear your seatbelt in the car
  • We take turns washing the dishes each night

What things to make rules about

There are numerous actions you can make rules about, but that list would be never-ending. Keep them to essential things like safety, manners, physical actions, and emotional respect. It depends on what is most important to your family, but picking the main categories will provide them with some good structure. Don’t overwhelm them with too many.

How to implement the rules:

You’re looking for a good success rate for these so there are a few things you can do to ensure some rule-following!

1. Explain the need for the rule

Little kids are always looking for the ‘why’ to make sense. If they’re pushing back on a rule, explain how it makes everyone happier and healthier. For example, tell them that they have to always wear a seatbelt so that they don’t get hurt or their siblings.

2. Set a good example

Try to be consistent with your rules. If you tell them that TV time is set to only an hour a day to have more family time, don’t lax on these for yourself in front of them. They will see this and question why they should also follow it.

3. Involve them in the rule-making

Allowing your kids to be part of the process will help them understand and accept the new rules. If they can have a say (even a tiny bit) they will be more likely to stick to them!

4. Be patient

The golden rule! Toddlers are likely to forget or ignore some rules, so keeping your cool is key. As you know, repetition is constantly needed, so support them with gentle reminders.

5. Explain the consequences for not following rules

This is not to put fear into them, but to let them know what happens when rules are broken. Setting an example by following these consequences if you ever break the rule is also important. For instance, if you forget to wear your seatbelt one day, show them that you aren’t allowed to use your phone for an hour. Talk as a family about what to expect so everyone is on the same page.

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