We have six kids and one on the way. If we got paid every time we heard, “Your kids are so well-behaved,” we’d be rich! The next question is usually, “How do you do it?” to which our reply is, “It starts when they’re young!”
I’m not saying that they don’t have their moments, because they all do, even our 15-year-old.
But here are some general rules (warning: some are unpopular) we follow in our household that I think have made a huge difference in the way they behave.
- They don’t have cell phones. None of them. Not even the 15- or 11-year-old.
- We limit their non-school screen time (they do have tablets and laptops) to about an hour a day. This includes video games.
- If an adult speaks to you, you speak back (unless, of course, it feels like an unsafe situation). Respect your elders.
- Your dinner is whatever is made for you. You don’t have to eat it all, but you need to at least try it. If you decide to not eat it, there will not be any snacks later.
- Bedtime on school nights is 10:30 p.m. You can go to bed before then if you’d like. Bedtime on the weekends is usually around 1 a.m.
- We don’t always need more. Appreciate what you have and/or what is given to you/done for you.
- Respect the house and the other members of it. No running, no screaming; the house isn’t a jungle gym.
- We have to meet the parents of friends before going over to their houses.
- Do your part around the house (i.e. keep bedrooms picked up, take out the trash, do the dishes, help with the laundry, etc).
- If you have to question whether or not you should be doing something, you already have your answer.
- Think outside of the box. Open your mind to other ideas. Find creative solutions.
- Be independent. Be leaders. Take initiative.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.
- If you see someone who needs help, help them!
This isn’t an all-inclusive list, obviously, but we do start these when they are young toddlers. If you wait too late, these rules will be a lost cause and a struggle to enforce. It’s not always easy from either side, but I do feel like they lay a good foundation of behavior that we expect out of them.
Children will do what you let them get away with. A lot of our rules have the same general undertone. Do you share any of the above rules? What other rules do you follow in your household?