As you may have noticed, the Ezzo books are full of high-level parenting principles, but we parents must fill in the blanks ourselves when it comes to specific, day-to-day rules and values. I’m sure this is intentional on the part of the Ezzos. We should decide how to apply the principles for our own family to suit our own parenting styles and our own kids. Nevertheless, it does help to be exposed to specific house rules that other people hold in their own homes.
For example, we were just visiting a friend and she had a “no running in the house” rule. It struck me as sheer brilliance! It is very basic, but I always had some caveat about when and where they could run in the house. Now we have a “no running in the house at all” rule. Love it!
So here is my basic list of house rules. Most of these apply only to William (4.5) but we keep them in mind for Lucas (18 months) as well. I would love to hear more ideas, so please reply with your comments.
Obedience and respect
- Obey Mommy and Daddy above all else, even when what we say contradicts the usual rule.
- Respect all adults.
- Answer when spoken to.
- Ask only once when you have a question. Don’t repeat yourself until you get an answer. Wait patiently.
- Use the interrupt rule.
- Treat all living beings (parents, brother, friends, cat) with kindness and respect.
- Offer to help Mommy and Daddy when you see the need. Always help when asked.
- Consider how your actions affect others.
- Respect all of our things (in the house and car).
- Earn privileges. Don’t expect them to be handed to you.
- Speak with polite words and a polite voice. Disrespect (talking back) is not tolerated.
- Wash your hands before every meal.
- Eat and drink only at the table. If there is food in your mouth or a utensil in your hand, your booty belongs completely on the chair.
- Use proper manners at the table. Fork goes on the plate while chewing. Clean your hands with a napkin. No toys on the table. No loud noises.
- Eat what you are served. No complaining about the food, and no other food will be offered until the next meal.
- Ask to be excused when you are finished.
- Take your dishes into the kitchen when you’re done.
- Ask for permission to go upstairs to your room. There is no other room upstairs where you can have unsupervised access. And you simply do not belong in the office ever.
- Ask for permission to play in the backyard.
- Ask for permission to watch TV. No touching the TV/stereo equipment unless you are told to do so.
- Ask for permission to paint. All painting and other messy crafts must be done at the kitchen table.
- Clean up after roomtime and before bath/bed.
- Dress yourself in the morning. You may pick out your clothes. If what you choose doesn’t match or is inappropriate for the weather, you must change into what I give you.
- Take off your shoes and coat when we get home. Shoes go in the shoe basket. Coat goes in the coat closet.
- Wash and dry your hands after using the bathroom.
- Sit still and patiently while we brush your teeth.
- Buckle yourself into your car seat.
- Use an inside voice when we are inside. (My recent logical consequence for outside voices is having William stand outside for a minute or two. Outside voice? Go outside! He gets the point very quickly.)
- No whining. You will be ignored or asked to change your voice when you whine.
- No running in the house. This goes for restaurants and other public places, too.
- Do not answer the door when someone rings the bell. Wait for Mommy or Daddy.
- Be quiet when we are on the phone.
- No roughhousing at bedtime or first thing in the morning. You may rest in our bed first thing in the morning, but it is not a wrestling place. Absolutely no jumping on the bed.
- Always ask for food. Never help yourself to food in the house, although you may help yourself to a glass of water.
- Never lock any door in the house.
I’m sure there are several rules that I have forgotten, but this gives you a pretty good idea of the rules I enforce on a daily basis. Many of them William knows well and will follow without issue. Others, we may have to remind him or issue consequences. And I hope this will serve as a starting point for you to develop your own list of house rules. Every home with a child should have one! And again, please send a comment with some house rules of your own. The more we share, the better our lists will be.