Household Rules and Good Behavior/Deed Cards for Children Ages 4-12
House Rules for Children
I know as a parent 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 seemed to be more and more screaming in my home. Most of the screaming came 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 quick. 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 "do not" rules try to write them how you would like them to behave.
Here are our house rules:
- There is no yelling at each other in our home.
- We do not tease or hit others. We will be kind to each other and not call each other names.
- We will not throw things.
- We will take turns and share with each other.
- We will listen and do as we are told the first time it is said to us.
- We do not interrupt someone when they are talking. We will wait our turn to talk.
- We will clean up after ourselves.
- When we are told to stop doing something we will keep our comments to ourselves.
- 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 are 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
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.
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.