Friday, March 9, 2012

House Rules

I recently heard some moms talking about their House Rules. One mom claimed they only had three rules: No singing at the table, be respectful, and something else. That "Be Respectful" encompasses about 57 things I can think of that I say to the kids all the time.

But hearing this conversation got me thinking about our rules. I wonder if we have too many rules or if we're too strict. My mom said that parents are strict about things that are important to them. And that no one ever thinks they're being too strict.  She said I'm strict about cleaning.

I do not like clutter at all, and I really think the kids should pick up their toys and clothes. I value a clean house, so I'm making sure the kids do a part of that. Now, when they're grown up and living somewhere else, I don't think I'll care if they keep a clean house or not. But as long as they're living here, they will put their clothes in the laundry and books on the shelf.

I also think we're "strict" (Jeremy says "consistent") about listening. When we tell the kids to do something, they have to do it. If they're having a hard time doing whatever we've asked, like "Put your clothes in the laundry," we actually hold their hand and walk them through it. Or they get short instructions: pick up your shirt; walk up the stairs; go into my room; put the shirt in the laundry; come back downstairs." We sometimes make a game out of it. But however it happens, they've listened.

I don't want to be a "No" Home. I want a Yes Environment for our kids, but it seems like they want to do things we don't want all the time. I mean, seriously, what is so fun about screaming and running in the house?

So, I try to balance our rules with levity in other areas. I feel like (within our rules) they have free reign of the house.

  • Want to read, color, paint, play playdough, make pancakes, go outside, take a long bath alone, make a fort, or collect pine cones? Go for it! 
  • Want to take the couch cushions off and pretend it's a mountain? Yeah. 
  • Use all the dining room chairs as a train? Absolutely. 
  • Let's go to the park, beach, play area, bounce house, pool. Sure.
  • Want to wear a dress? Or go naked? That's fine. 

Hopefully, they'll have good memories of growing up. Not just too many rules and no fun.

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