I read something a few weeks ago on the internet about children and manners. In the comments a mother was saying that if she invited a child around to their house and the child didn’t say please and thank you at the appropriate times, then she would not invite the child around again, and her child would not be allowed to that child’s house. I don’t know about you, but all of my children need reminding to say please and thank you, especially if they are feeling shy, overwhelmed or excited. Fair to say – my children would not be invited back, and to me, it felt so extreme.
I love finding out what goes on in other peoples’ homes, and thought I’d share the rules that Jared and I try to enforce in our home. Please note the word ‘try’. It is certainly not easy, and we find ourselves having to remind them over and over again. Some slot in far easier than others, and some children like rules more than others. Maybe you’ll think that they are strict, or maybe you’ll think that we are missing some essential ones, so here you go:
- No throwing, unless it’s a ball.
- They don’t have to finish their dinner, but they do have to eat anything green.
- No walking around whilst eating, and no eating anywhere other than the kitchen and dining area. You also have to check whether you can leave the dinner table.
- No shoes in the house – whilst renovating Jared and I have been loose with this one (because there are parts of the house where shoes are necessary) – but the boys always take theirs off.
- Use kind language and good manners. My mum was super strict about the words we were allowed to use growing up, and it’s something I’ve carried on. I used to laugh that we weren’t allowed to use words including – ‘shut up’, ‘idiot’, ‘stupid’, ‘hate’ and ‘loser’, but it’s something I really appreciate now that I’m older. I wouldn’t want my boys using these words towards other children (or me), so they’re not allowed at home. I have been caught using them when I’m driving, and have to turn around to the boys and apologise (!)
- No climbing or jumping on furniture – other than the sofa. It is usually an army base, a slide or a dance floor, so I’m ok with that.
- No toys or phones at mealtimes. The no toys rule was introduced a couple of years ago when it became a problem. It’s not something that I’d ever considered before, but now it’s necessary for less distraction.
- Put your dirty washing in the basket at the end of the day.
- Clear your plate after mealtimes – either to the sink, or the dishwasher.
- Put your pyjamas under your pillow, or in the wash at the beginning of the day.
- They must ask before helping themselves to food. I had to do this right up until I left home! My mum would buy something for a specific purpose, and then we’d all eat it without her knowing, which made it very frustrating for her. I would only say no if it is super close to dinnertime.
- No computer games unless it is the school holidays. We have an old retro SNES and the kids love having it out a couple of times during school holidays.
What rules do you have in your home? What would you add? Which rules do your children have the most difficultly following?