No More No Rules

I am a big fan of rules.  House Rules, School Rules, Family Rules all are great concepts when done well.  No surprise, I have 3 rules about making great rules. 

 1. Rules need to be phrased in positive language. Said another way, No More No Rules.  

2. Everyone needs to follow the rules.                                                                          

3.Be clear in your rules.

Lets me break each of my rules down for you.

My first rule: Rules need to be phrased in positive language.  Countless times I have seen list of rules that all begin with the word no. "No hitting, no yelling, no running..." When you get to the end of that list, one is clear on what they can't do but left to wonder what they can do.  Creating a list of positive ways to behavior gives the small beings the much needed reminder of how to behavior.  The positive list also provides a great way to encourage more of the behavior you do want and give less attention to behavior that you don't want.

My second rule: Everyone needs to follow the rules.  Some times big beings in a home do not follow the rules.  There are several "good" reasons that big beings give for not following the rules.  Yet, it is our role as the big beings to be a model for how small beings will be.  If you set a rule, make sure you can follow it also! 

My third rule: Be clear in your rules.  While rules like "Be kind" or "Do a Good Job" are phrased in positive language (which I love) they don't really let anyone know how to behavior.  What does kind look like?  Is it sharing? If so, make a rule about sharing.  Is it using polite words like please and thank you? If so, make that the rule.  What a good job or kindness looks like is slightly different to everyone.  Rules should be clear so that everyone know when they are being followed and when reminders are needed about the rules. 

My final suggestion about rules is to talk about them often! Do not only talk about the rules when reminding a small being that they are being broken.  Find one or two times a day to talk about the rules.  Reminders of how to have good behavior help create good behavior.  Point out when small beings are following the rules, not only when they are breaking them.