Rules Your Kid Will Actually Follow


Every household is different. Each parent or caregiver comes with his or her own expectations for how they would like the household to function. Some parents place an importance on cleanliness, while other parents may place an importance on peaceful interactions in the household. Regardless of your personal preference, there is one thing all parents have in common – we want our rules to be followed.

Let’s be honest. Most of the time you’re probably flying by the seat of your pants. When a situation arises with a less than desirable outcome, you respond accordingly. This may be effective for some children, but this may not be the best strategy if you’re struggling with a defiant child. Defiant children like to test the waters. And if you’re not 100% consistent with your rules, your defiant child will recognize this as a weakness and will continue to wreak havoc on your household. 

So, how exactly do you create house rules that are effective for all children (even the defiant ones)? Keep reading to find out!


Make it a group project

Get the entire family involved. Take some time after work and school to sit together as a family. Have a conversation. Tell your children you are setting some rules for the house and would like their help. Most of the time, your children will be able to identify unwritten rules all on their own but sometimes they may need some guidance. Write down the rules as you go along.

Put it on a poster board

Get a large poster board and some markers or crayons. If you have a child that can read/write let him or her write the rules on the poster board using a bunch of different colors. (Make sure you let your children take turns if you have more than one child that can write.) If you have a child that can’t read you can print pictures or use drawings to help them identify the rules. 


Display the rules in a shared space

Hang the house rules up in a shared space so they’re on display for all to see.  Let your children decide where to put them. Make sure you refer to the poster whenever you apply a consequence for a house rule. This will help your children to learn the rules as they won’t have to rely on memory. This will also help you enforce the rules because they know what is expected of them and will not be able to say they forgot.

Focus on one rule a week

When you get started with house rules you should focus on one rule a week. This will help keep your children from getting overwhelmed. This will also ensure that they master one rule before beginning a new one. Sometimes parents get over excited and will just jump right into this new way of living. Try to avoid this. More rules mean more frustration for your children. This, in turn, will lead to more frustration for you – and we know you don’t want that!

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Be consistent

Don’t let anything slide! If you decide to enforce a rule then make sure you stick with it. If you don’t follow through, your child WILL notice. They may even test the waters and break rules on purpose to see if you are going to put your money where your mouth is. Don’t give them the satisfaction of getting one over on you. If you make a house rule you have to give a consequence every single time your child breaks that rule. Don’t make something a house rule if you’re not willing to enforce it every single time!


What are some examples of house rules you’ve set for your family? How do you enforce them? If you would like help setting house rules check out Parent Coaching Services with Leanne Pilgrim. Schedule your FREE consultation today!