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How can parents help children follow rules?

Team StoryWeavers|September 30, 2021|

“Sometimes the rules only seem silly because you aren’t able to see far enough ahead.” – Diane Zinna 

Previously, we have covered what parents need to consider while setting up house rules and the difference between rules, demands, and expectations. Effective household rules help in reducing the likelihood of challenging or disruptive behaviour, as they let children know what is expected of them. However, parents should note that setting rules alone is not enough. Young children may at times simply forget the rules or get distracted.

In this article, we will cover how parents can help children follow the house rules. 

Tips To Help Children Follow Rules

A book by Tracy Cutchlow, Zero to Five, mentions a few tips for parents to help their children follow the house rules. They are as follows:

Prompt your children

Parents can remind the children of the house rule just before they enter a situation in which they may break the rule. You can remind the children of the house rule by prompting them. Parents can say something like — “What is our house rule about jumping on the bed? Or what happens when you jump on the bed?” 

Praise children when they follow rules

Praise can be an effective disciplinary tool when used correctly, and that stands true with house rules as well. Parents need to notice when children follow rules and praise them for the same. When children are praised for a particular behaviour, they are likely to repeat that behaviour. Parents can employ the Kazdin method of praising children to inspire them to follow house rules. 

Remind children of house rules 

Children may forget the house rule in play when they are excited or engrossed in play. Parents need to remind their children of the house rules in play when their children are in violation of those rules. It will help the children feel supported and encourage them to follow the rules. Parents can say something like — “What does our house rule say about this? Would you like to turn off the television, or would you like me to do it?”

Calmly enforce consequences

There will be times when children will break the house rules. When you see your children breaking house rules despite the prompts and reminders, calmly remind them of that and enforce the applicable consequences. Parents can say something like — “You know the rule and this is the consequence of breaking it. We hope that you will make a different choice next time.”

Parents need to remember that even the most well-behaved child will have days when they want to break the house rules. It is likely to take children months, if not years, to internalise the house rules. The key here is to be consistent and calm in your approach. It is important for parents to work as a team and administer the consequences consistently. It will help your children realise that they are respected and treated fairly, which in turn will push them to adhere to house rules. 

Did you find this article helpful? What are some strategies you use to help your children follow house rules? Do you have any effective tips and suggestions for other parents? Do share your thoughts in the comments below. You can also drop an email at [email protected]

Reference:

Cutchlow, T. (2015). Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science (and What I Ve Learned So Far). United States: Pear Press.

About the Author


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Mekhala Joshi

“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She’s the only ‘Mekhala’ she knows, and she takes a bit of pride in that. She is a quintessential introvert. Mekhala loves tea but cannot make a good cup of tea and often ends up having coffee. She claims that she takes all adjectives as compliments unless specified otherwise. Mekhala is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grade 2 & 3, as a part of Teach For India Fellowship. And has worked as an independent consultant for a couple of years.

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