A functioning family needs to operate in an organized fashion to ensure that everyone understands expectations and personal responsibilities. One way to achieve this goal involves a household rule chart. By making a chart for your children, either with pen and paper or on the computer, the uncertainties and questions about how to behave and treat other people evaporate because the chart includes all the rules to follow in a clear and concise manner.
Write a list of the important rules you want to include in your rule chart to begin organizing the chart. Your list of rules might include treating others kindly, speaking respectfully, listening to parents, asking permission before going outside and wearing safety gear when bicycling or rollerblading. Keep the list short and concise, if possible, to make it easy for kids to remember and follow rules, states a pamphlet written by psychologist Carolyn Webster-Stratton.
Create a chart with a column on the left for each rule and a column for each day of the week. Your child might earn a sticker or a star for successfully following the rule each day.
Write or enter each rule in numeric order in the left column of the chart. Keep the rules positive for best results, advises a pamphlet published by the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, Vanderbilt University. For example, you might write: “Treat others kindly,” “Speak respectfully” and “Listen and obey parents” with each rule occupying a line of the left column. If your child is a pre-reader, add a small image or picture beside the words to help your child understand and remember the rules.
Print out the chart, if necessary. You might also laminate it to enable you to reuse it week after week.
Place the chart on the refrigerator or another central location of your home. Show it to your child and read each rule so he understands the family expectations.
Stating rules positively instead of negatively involves stating the desired behavior instead of stating the undesired behavior. By stating what you want your children to do, they are more likely to understand and try to follow the rules. Ensure that your children see you following the same rules you place on the chart to set a positive example, advises Shane Wolfe, Principal of Aldrin Elementary School.