Skip to main content

Enforcing Household Rules With Good Behavior/Deed Cards

I'm a stay-at-home mom and writer living in the Coal Region of Pennsylvania with my amazing and awesome three children!

Our house rules!

Our house rules!

House Rules for Children

As a parent, I know that enforcing house rules is a daunting task. I have two 9-year-olds, a 6-year-old, and a 2-year-old. Every day there seems to be more and more screaming in my home. Most of the screaming comes from me and my daughter. I have had so many rule posters hung on my cellar door over the years and none of them worked for our family. I was recently talking to someone about the chaos in our home and the constant yelling and misbehaviors. I was at the end of my rope and needed something to change really quickly. The idea this person gave me made total sense, and I would like to share it.

First, let me say that as a parent I do have to admit some fault to my children's behaviors. The yelling was taught to them by myself because I tend to yell to be heard. My daughter mastered this behavior, she will constantly scream back at me, and not necessarily in a rude way, but more or less to be heard. Also, I noticed the kids often tend to sound exactly like me in certain ways because I have taught them to do so. Now I know everything is not my fault and children do misbehave, but it is my job to single out these bad behaviors and teach them good behaviors instead.

You need to sit down with your partner and really think hard about what you want your household to be like. You both need to be on the same page and in complete agreement for this to work. Try to write out the rules in a positive manner, I know it is hard with some things, but for the most part, be positive. Instead of a bunch of "do not" rules, try to write them how you would like them to behave.

Here are our house rules:

  1. There is no yelling at each other in our home.
  2. We do not tease or hit others. We will be kind to each other and not call each other names.
  3. We will not throw things.
  4. We will take turns and share with each other.
  5. We will listen and do as we are told the first time it is said to us.
  6. We do not interrupt someone when they are talking. We will wait our turn to talk.
  7. We will clean up after ourselves.
  8. When we are told to stop doing something we will keep our comments to ourselves.
  9. We will use nice words and use our manners.

Every household is different and every child is different, so just configure your rules to fit your household and children.

Every time one of these rules is broken the kids are to pull the number of good deed cards associated with the broken rule. (I will explain these next) So there are no surprises with punishments and it eliminated the "that's not fair" cries from my kids.

Good deed cards!

Good deed cards!

Good Deed Cards

The good deed cards consist of positive behaviors and also chores that are to be done if a rule is broken. Each rule is followed by a number. The number tells the child how many cards they need to pull and complete. Each card has a duty written on it that will take around 15-20 minutes to complete.

Some of the deeds I have used are:

  • Play a game with a younger sibling.
  • Educational paper
  • Read a book in your room.
  • Clean your bedroom.
  • Sweep the kitchen floor.
  • Gather dirty laundry from all bedrooms.

You can be creative, just make sure it is something your children are capable of accomplishing. Also, the numbers after the rules help if your child refuses to pull the cards. If they do not want to pull the good deed cards they are in turn grounding THEMSELVES in their bedroom. Each card equals 15 minutes in our house, so if they were to pull 2 cards they will have to sit in their room for 30 minutes. I found this works well because the timing is always consistent, and nobody feels they are being treated unfairly. I also like the fact that it is themselves that are punishing them to their room, not me.

So if you break the rule, you can pull the cards or go to your room for the required time, everyone knows the rules and has the same consequence for breaking the rules. No more guesswork or trying to remember what another kid had to do in the past so you keep it fair.

Involve Everyone

The house rules should apply to EVERYONE in the house. The parents should also pull the good deed cards if they have broken any of the rules. Also, it teaches the kids that even parents misbehave and have to face consequences for their actions as well. By doing this, you are teaching your children to follow the rules and helping to calm the chaos you helped to create.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on February 08, 2014:

Tara you can send me an email.

tara on February 08, 2014:

Jillkostow is it possible for u to email me and give me a hand with info and advice ..plz

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on February 28, 2013:

EmilyPunjack507 - It works very well!! I found it helps reduce any suprises when assigning consequences for any rules that are broken.

Emily on February 27, 2013:

I am SO doing this with my daughter! Great idea!

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on January 12, 2012:

Nicole - When the child sends themselves to their room they are giving themselves a harsher punishment rather then just doing the deeds. You can decide how you would like to do it. In our home they have the option to either do the deeds or sit in their room. If they choose to go to their room then they are not expected to do the deeds. Thanks for reading and commenting!!!

Nicole Marino on January 12, 2012:

When they send themselves to there rooms do you make them do the deeds when they come out or its instead of doing the cards? i love the idea.

Meghan on November 30, 2011:

Wow. This Hub was absolutely full of good ideas. I will most definitely try to incorporate the Good Deeds cards into my home. Over the years I have found that different sets of rules apply to different aged children. So, we usually have some rules that change with the children as they grow. Also, in my house we have some rules that are never written down. The children are simply expected to do them day in and day out, like: Obey your parents, follow the 10 Commandments, use your manners... things like that. Thanks so much for posting this! God Bless.

Vanessa Anderson from The Sunshine State on August 27, 2011:

I absolutely love this! Great ideas and I might have to incorporate some of them into our house rules as well. My daughter is very strong willed and we tend to butt heads occasionally so some of these ideas would be great to use for myself, as well as her. Thanks for sharing!

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on August 18, 2011:

Kari Winchester - It does help tremendously when the kids know in advance what the consequences are to their actions. It makes it easy for them to understand when there are not so many surprises.

Kari Herreman from Ontario, California on August 17, 2011:

Fabulous idea, and very well organized! I find that offering procedures clarifies for the child what they should be doing. They are more willing to go with the program when they are clear on what and even why! Great hub! Voting up!

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on December 04, 2010:

prairieprincess--Your Welcome, It may work well with a teenager because they will know the consequence every time. If they don't do the chores then they ground themselves to their room. (That way you are not sending them to their room but instead they are)

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on December 04, 2010:

JillKistow, thank you for this ... it is a great idea, and I have never heard of the card idea. I'm not sure how it work with a teenager, but I like the idea, and will mention it to my sister, who has two girls, 9 and 11. Great hub!

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on December 01, 2010:

bettybarnesb--Thank you for your kind words. All I can do is try my best and at the same time hope for the best!!

bettybarnesb from Bartlett, TN on December 01, 2010:

You sound like a "great" mom. You are focus on your responsibilities as a mother. That is very important. I can tell that you will always rise to the occasion.

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on December 01, 2010:

bettybarnesb--You are absolutely right. I sometimes wonder how much easy it would be if each child came into this world with their own set of instructions!!:) Each child is very different and we do speak with them one on one with certain issues. These rules for us are the basics that each and every one of us need to improve on. But I am sure as these times get under control, new things will arise and we will start over again.

I hope when my kids are grown they too will appreciate what I am trying to do for them and not think I was just a horrible mom!!!

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on December 01, 2010:

chspublish--Thanks for reading and commenting!!

bettybarnesb from Bartlett, TN on December 01, 2010:

Hi Jill:

As yourself I was once a screamer. One day my oldest in a very mild tone voice asked me "why do you

scream all the time?" I stood there and thought to myself, "why am I doing this" and couldn't come up with an answer. So I stopped. Although my children are now grown. I had to learn not only to talk but to listen.

I had to learn that raising children is a process that is not over night and it doesn't end at age 18. Then, as parents, we go to another level.

Yes, I too had house rules and my children were very disciplined. They tell me now how much they appreciate my strictness and the high standards I set for them. When they were young many house rules were difficult to follow but because I stuck to them in time they all learned to respect them. Just keep in mind that each child is different and will at times must have "tailored" conversations or rules to fit him or her.

Keep up the good work! Even in difficult times.

chspublish from Ireland on December 01, 2010:

You're so right about all of above.