Rules for How Children Should Behave in the Home

Many adults consider their home somewhat a sanctuary, a place where they can relax, and unwind without having to worry about the daily hassles of traffic, errands and the workplace. Children also deserve to have a home where they feel safe and comfortable, though not at the expense of respecting others in the family. Unlike rules about respect and kindness -- which apply anywhere -- rules about home behavior is specific to the setting. Having clear and consistent rules about behavior in the home teaches children to behave appropriately at the home of others, as well.


Safety rules are important in every home, particularly as children become more independent. Rules against jumping on the furniture, sliding down the banister or throwing things inside the home are pretty standard, as are not opening the oven door or playing in a designated area of the kitchen when the stove is on, explains However, if your house has additional safety risks, such as a fire pit, a swimming pool or a home gym, you may need to set additional boundaries prohibiting children from entering those areas without an adult.

Personal Space and Property

Teaching kids not to damage or take things that aren't theirs begins at home 2. While most kids are expected to share toys, it's not unreasonable for parents and children to have personal items they don't want disturbed. In some homes this means children aren't allowed to touch items in certain areas, like high shelves, or take things from a sibling's bedroom without asking. In other families this can mean children aren't allowed to play in the master bedroom, or go into specific areas of the house, such as the formal living room or a parent's in-home office without an adult.

Personal Responsbility

Expecting children to participate in keeping the house clean not only emphasizes personal responsibility, it also keeps you from turning into the unofficial maid. Rules such as cleaning toys off the ground, or picking up and putting away one toy before bringing out another are common household rules. Rules for bringing non-breakable dishes to the sink after a meal or placing their dirty clothing in the hamper can begin during the toddler years.


A few basic rules can address the bulk of behavior related to cleanliness in the home. Younger children should wipe their hands and face with a moistened wipe after finishing their meal, and older kids can be expected to wash their hands in the sink. Washing hands after using the bathroom is another important rule that prevents the unnecessary spread of bacteria in the home.