The Pickett Family’s List of Rules

I haven’t written much about parenting since I’ve gotten back to blogging, but it’s been one of those weeks. Aside from a trip to the doctor’s office after a 103-degree fever, we haven’t left the house much due to various sicknesses and ailments.

Days such as these, when we’re cooped up at home, not feeling our best, and on various medications, seem to cause misbehavior to spike. Add in sad, pathetic, sickly faces, and it’s hard to hand out timeouts like I normally would do.

My little sickie

I’ve been thinking about creating a House Rules poster so there is no gray area on what’s expected of the boys. I decided to put one together while they watch their fifth hour of TV today so that when they are feeling better, everyone will know exactly how to behave and what will happen if they don’t.

I’ve run into two problems when attempting a list like this in the past. First, there is just so much to include. I don’t want to go overboard with 100 rules. Second, experts say you don’t want to tell your kids what they shouldn’t do, but rather tell them how they should behave. So instead of saying “Don’t hit” say “Keep your hands to yourself.” This is tricky because little kids like mine don’t always understand what “talk nicely” means and they need concrete examples of what not to do.

I scribbled out a lot of notes, categorized problem areas and came up with a simple list of 10 rules. However, I gave supporting do’s and don’ts that take any and every ounce of simplicity out of this poster.

I’ll show you what I mean. Try not to laugh…

I realize my poster looks like a 10-year old did it, which is part of the reason I’m typing it all here so that if we actually do refer to it, I can print out a more attractive version of it.

But I also thought there might be a mom or dad out there looking for a rules list that somewhat follows how the experts tell us to make our house rules with a healthy dose of realistic terminology added in.

So here are our house rules and consequences for anyone interested.

  1. Keep your hands and feet to yourself
    1. No hitting, kicking, biting, pushing, pulling, spitting, pinching, flicking
    2. Use gentle hands
    3. Respect personal space
    4. Do not grab things away from anyone
  2. Tell the truth
    1. Do not lie
  3. Respect things
    1. Do not break things
    2. Do not throw things
    3. Take care of books and don’t rip pages or step on them
    4. Do not mess up anyone’s art or project
    5. No tricks on the furniture
    6. Use things the right way (for example, silverware is for eating)
  4. Talk nicely
    1. Do not hurt anyone’s feelings
    2. No yelling, arguing, name-calling, put-downs, back-talk, threats, whining
    3. Grumpy attitudes belong in your room
    4. No tantrums, kicking and screaming
  5. Do as you are told
    1. Listen
    2. If someone tells you to stop doing something, then stop!
  6. Use manners
    1. Say please and thank you
    2. Don’t interrupt
    3. Apologize
    4. Respond when spoken to
  7. Use inside voices
    1. No yelling, screaming or squealing
  8. Clean up after yourself
    1. Do not make messes
    2. Put toys away before taking out more
    3. Take dishes to the sink or counter
    4. Put trash in the garbage
  9. Only use craft supplies with a grown up
    1. Cut, paint, color and glue only on paper
  10. Be polite during meals
    1. Be quiet during prayer
    2. Do not play with food or drink
    3. Keep your bottom on your chair
    4. Keep all four legs of the chair on the ground
    5. Try everything on your plate
    6. Do not complain about your meal
    7. No feet on table
    8. No potty talk
    9. Finish your meal to get dessert

Boy, do I sound like a scrooge or what?!

I also added * “Accidents” that happen because you are not following rules are not accidents * because so often a plate of food will fall to the ground as a result of using silverware as drumsticks and the boys don’t think they should go to timeout because it was an accident.

As for consequences, I’ve read a slew of parenting books and have loosely pulled from them what works best for us. I do the counting method from “1-2-3 Magic” and if by “3” the misbehavior hasn’t stopped, they get a timeout and a ticket, which I took from “The Well-Behaved Child.” If all of their tickets have been issued for the day (usually they get 3 each) they get their big punishment which is early bedtime and loss of toys.

Please note: Those book titles are affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through those links.

Obviously it’s not always that cut and dry, but I have learned that having a system, being consistent and showing your kids that you’re in charge is the best way to put an end to behavior problems.

Thanks for reading, and please let me know any rules or strategies that work for your family!

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