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Family Rules For Preschoolers and Grade-Schoolers

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on April 18, 2010

        Does your family have clear rules about behavior?  Do your children know what the rules are?  Do they understand the consequences for disobedience?  (Are there consequences?)              

         Preschoolers are constantly learning about (and testing) the rules.  It’s hard for them to remember very many rules at first, so your rules should be simple–something along these lines:

1.  We love and obey the Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts.  (This covers so much–lying, stealing, etc–God’s rules.  If your child has a tendancy towards a specific sin I’d list it separately, as I did below.)

2.  We obey Mommy and Daddy quickly and cheerfully.  We also obey other authorities in our lives (Grandma and Grandpa,  Sunday School teachers, etc.)   

3.  We treat others the way we want to be treated (the Golden Rule).

4.  We take care of our toys, and pick up cheerfully.

5.  We eat what is given to us without complaining.

6.  We don’t whine, complain, or “pitch fits.”

       The consequences you choose should matter to your children.   They shouldn’t be harsh, but they should be something they want to avoid.  Each family has to choose what works best for them…but whatever the consequences are, your children should be aware of them before the fact.  It’s not fair to punish a child for something that s/he doesn’t know is wrong.  When your preschoolers are still learning the rules you will probably have to give them “two strikes”; one time to remind them/tell them about the rules (a warning); repeat offenders earn the consequence.

      Recently I’ve re-vamped our family rules to reflect my children’s ages and the issues we’ve been trying to correct.  Remember that my youngest are now 7 and 9.  Now that my boys are getting older, we can add more rules and make them specific so that my boys don’t have any excuses.  I’ve been reading the rules to the boys almost everyday, and choosing one to discuss in greater detail.  This also gives us a chance to discuss the positive character traits we use when we follow our family rules.

House Rules About Behavior:  (Our adaptation of The Clarkson’s book, Our 24 Family Ways)

 1.  We love and obey the Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts, remembering that this means choosing to put Him on the throne of our hearts (making Him the boss.)

 2.  We obey Mom, Dad and other authorities quickly and cheerfully (Pastor, piano teacher, coach, relatives, big sister) with a cheerful “Yes, Mom”, or “Yes, Sir,” etc.

 3.  We listen to correction and accept discipline with a submissive spirit.  We repent of our wrongs:  We are sorry; we ask forgiveness; we change our behavior.

 4.  When someone apologizes to us and asks for forgiveness, we forgive them.  We do not hold grudges or withhold our love; we do not return evil for evil.

 5.  We do not whine or argue.  We do not roll our eyes, fall or slouch down, sigh or complain.  This shows anger, disrespect and disobedience.  (Do all things w/o arguing and complaining…Phil. 2:14)

 6.  We accept NO as NO and drop the subject.

 7.  We choose to do what is right, no matter what other people do or say.

 8.  Our goal is to show the fruit of the spirit in all we say and do.  We choose to have good attitudes, living out love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. 

 9.  We are considerate of others, using good manners.  We don’t talk with food in our mouths, burp, etc; and we don’t think those things are funny.  We are gracious to everyone, even if we don’t feel like it.

 10. We come the first time we are called.  We drop whatever we are doing and obey right away.

 11.  We tell the truth the first time we are asked.

 12.  We do not yell or otherwise show our anger towards others. We choose not to let anger control us.

 13.  We treat others with HONOR and RESPECT.  We listen carefully to others, stopping what we are doing and making eye contact.  We are CAREFUL not to hurt others in word or deed, treating others the way we want to be treated (Golden Rule.)  We do not bully, pester or annoy others.  (Others first, self last; give more, take less.)

 14.  We do not interrupt others, especially when they are on the phone, or when grown-ups are talking to other grown-ups.

 15. We listen to instruction respectfully, remembering that we do not know more than our elders (listen and learn.)  We are teachable, not proud.

 16.   The older protects the younger.  The older remembers his example to the younger.

 17.  We do not sneak or STEAL food.

 18.  We eat what we are given cheerfully, with a thankful heart.

 19.  We obey the schedule and chore chart; we DO NOT SHIRK.  (YOU WILL BE FOUND OUT.)    Be diligent with your schoolwork and your chores, working as unto the LORD. 

20.   If we don’t know what to do, we ask.

 21.  We understand that our actions have consequences.  When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequence.  Good behavior reaps rewards.  Naughty behavior reaps consequences. We don’t blame others for the consequences we deserve.   

 22.  We remember that God sees all and knows all—even our hearts.

 23.  When we are not at home, we obey the same rules we do when we are at home. 

 Rules Concerning Our Home and Possessions: 

1.  We take care of what we have, using it wisely and responsibly. 

2.  Play with one thing at a time. When you are finished playing with a toy, put it away BEFORE you get something new out. (Toys that “go together” are excluded.)

3.  We do not go into another person’s room without being invited. 

4.  We do not get things out without permission (from the t0y closet, art hutch, etc.)

5. If you get it out, put it away.  If you open it, close it.   If you turn it on, turn it off.  If you make a mess, clean it up. (If you need help, ask for it!)

6. We care for our possessions and our house carefully.  We close doors, drawers, etc carefully, and we don’t hit or bang the walls or furniture with our bodies or our toys.  We are not destructive.

7. We do not make unnecessary work for others.  We take initiative to clean up after ourselves, leaving each room we’ve entered looking better than it did before.  (A place for everything, and everything in its place.)

8. We do not HIDE our messes.

9. We do not touch or play with other people’s possessions unless we have permission first.  We do not borrow from others without permission.  We do not look through someone else’s drawers or closets without permission (we aren’t snoops.)

10. Put your laundry in the correct hamper right when you take it off; no socks or dirty clothes may be thrown on the floor. 

11. Hang up your wet towels, and re-use them at least 2-3x’s. 

12.  THINK about what you do (wipe your feet, keep dirty hands off things, etc); LOOK around carefully and learn to SEE your mess.   

13.  No toys are to be left outside at night. 

14.  Keep your shoes in your closet (not on the floor) and then you’ll always know where they are. 

15.  No papers, pencils, crayons, or garbage left on the table or floor. 

16.  Ten minute pick up at 11 AM and 4 PM.

 17.  Remember that if you mistreat your possessions or are irresponsible with them, mom and dad will not replace them.

18.   When we are not at home, we obey the same rules we do when we are at home.

       These are our rules!  I’d love it if you’d share yours.  ~Susan

        Our 24 Family Ways is a great devotional to use with older children (8+).

  © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.


3 Responses to “Family Rules For Preschoolers and Grade-Schoolers”

  1. Chrissy said

    What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. kimita said

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks so much for making your knowledge and wisdom available online as well as in your book! A friend let me read through a copy of your book you sent to her and I will need to get my own! It’s full of so much great information! I have a son who is 4 and a baby girl who is 11 months old and plan to homeschool them both. I’m very encouraged after reading your book! Thanks again!



  3. Kimberly said

    Thank you for sharing these. I just happened by them and so many of these I realize I have added recently with my own 9 year old (especially no sneaking or stealing of food). I am really encouraged in seeing these posted.

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