5 Family Rule Routines for Specific Situations

by Ivory Soap on 05/10/2011

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by vastateparkstaff

Aside from the general house rules, sometimes the older kids need to follow specialized rules for a situation. Many times, those situations are when there is loose supervision.  (And my big kids are 8, 7, and 5.  The older two keep the younger in line.  He can’t do it alone.)

We rehearse the kids on these regularly, just before they enter the situation, or for things like closed doors and bathrooms…when they screw it up.

How To Rehearse:

  • Stand close (not across the room)
  • Get eye contact
  • Count on your fingers
  • Make them repeat you

Routine #1:  Bedtime
1. Go to the bathroom.
2. Brush your teeth.
3. Get under the covers.
4. Don’t get out.
5. Sleep in your room all night.

Routine #2:  Bathroom
1.  Close the door
2.  Flush
3.  Tidy tinkle sprinkles (boys)
4.  Wash hands, with soap
5.  Turn out the light

Routine #3:  Mama Needs a Nap
1.  Only PBS on the TV
2.  Don’t answer the door or phone
3.  Only water and what’s on the table (snacks I set out)
4.  Stay inside backyard fence
5.  Don’t come in my room without a headwound

Routine #4:  Closed Doors (my bedroom, mostly)
2.  Wait for answer
3.  Say your name and the reason you need in
4.  Wait for permission to come in, if given
5.  Close the door when you leave

Routine #5:  Neighborhood Play
1.  Stay together.
2.  Stay in the boundaries.
3.  Stay out of the middle of the road.
4.  Only talk to your friends parents.  No other adults.
5.  Come home with your toys when the street lights come on.

Neighborhood Rule Notes

  • “Stay together” is the MOST IMPORTANT rule.  If you move to a new yard, you all go.  If one of you wants to come home, you all come home.
  • “Stay in the boundaries” is very clearly defined.  I took them on a walking trip.  Yes, this yard, not that yard.
  • “Stay out of the middle of the road” was/is demonstrated. We practiced riding on the side and respectfully walking in yards close to the curb.
  • “Only talk to your friends parents.”  We often list the allowed adults by name together.

Rule Breaking

While house rule violations most often get a time-out, we’ve found that impractical for the above routines. Here’s how we handle it:

  • For most of the routines, mistakes get a rehearsal (or two) of the rules, often while doing “up-downs”.
  • For safety rules, like some of the Mama Nap Rules and most of the Neighborhood Rules, rule-breaking gets immediate grounding from neighborhood play, no second chances.
  • Too many violations, and you’re grounded to our sight.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Cutzi May 10, 2011 at 9:55 am

My mind can barely comprehend the awesomeness of up-downs while rehearsing rules. Def. going to add this to my repertoire.

Javalady May 11, 2011 at 7:25 am


Ginny May 11, 2011 at 8:42 am

Thank YOU! Every spring we have fresh difficulties with laying down ground rules. I grew up in the country, much more isolated, so running off to someone else’s yard or having etiquette about who to talk to wasn’t really an issue. Now that we live so close with other people it helps to see what other people consider to be acceptable as we set guidelines. I always worry about inconstancy so these rules lists are really helpful. Good stuff!

EmilyB May 12, 2011 at 1:45 am

I am loving that you are sharing your parenting skills. I think all of us at one stage begin to doubt what we are doing and if we are doing ‘it’ the right way. I have a 8, 6 and 1 year old (all boys). Somedays are great others can be tough. Thankyou for sharing many of your tips will be coming into our home.

Alyssa May 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

Not going to lie, I giggled when I read the “Momma Needs a Nap” rules 🙂

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