Creative Discipline 102: House Rules

Once I filled my head with all these great disciplinary ideas, I realized that I had to set out a concise set of rules for the kids to follow. I sat down a wrote out a (very long) list of things that I thought were particularly important. Here's a small portion of that list: (image via bolsa bonita)

  • No jumping/climbing on the furniture.
  • No spitting.
  • No calling names.
  • No touching/playing with someone's else's special things.
  • No screaming.
  • Crying is okay.
  • No ruining what someone else is working on.
  • Be quiet during the baby's nap.
  • Don't leave a mess.
  • No laying on the floor and throwing a fit.
  • Listen to and mind what mommy and daddy tell you to do.
  • Put your dishes in the sink after you eat.
  • Put the toilet lid down so the baby doesn't splash around in the potty.
  • No going outside without asking.
  • No whining.
Clearly, no kid was going to remember all these rules, let alone follow them. I also didn't like that they all felt very negative. I try to speak to the children with a lot of "I statements" (I need you to stop yelling, I need you to get your feet off the couch, etc), and this was a lot of "NO!" which I already knew that they don't respond well to.

I managed to narrow all of this down to four rules that encompass all of the important ideas:
  1. No throwing a fit. If you throw a fit, go to your room until you feel better.
  2. Respect our things and each other.
  3. Use pleasant inside voices to speak nicely.
  4. Be a listener.
Much of whats important falls under rule #2 (no spitting, no touching someone's special things, no name calling) or rule #3 (no screaming, be quiet during naptime, no whining), and #1 and #4 round out good behavior. Further, they are extremely easy rules for me to follow. I could do beter at listening, and I do occasionally throw a bit of a fit (and I loooove to go to my room until I feel better). We keep the rules posted in the kitchen (with pictures for our non-readers), and refer to them when a consequence is imposed ("We are respectful with one another. Sitting on your sister's head is not respectful.")

I couldn't live without my rule #4. What's the most important rule in your house? Any that I need to add to my list?
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