A handy way to set rules is the ‘if-then plan’. ‘If’ should be followed by a situation and ‘then’ by the behaviour you want to see. You could say,
“If my child asks for a drink, then I give them a glass of water.”
Find our more about how to apply the ‘if-then plan’ here.
Tips for setting rules. Set rules that:
- are as positive as possible. By this we mean that the rule should state what the child can “Go up the stairs slowly” is a better rule than “don’t run up the stairs”, for example.
- are age-appropriate. A toddler will struggle to clean up toys all by themselves, for example.
- are clear and easy to follow. Also remind your child of the rule.
- apply to the whole family, if possible.
Example of a situation: You have to eat vegetables with your dinner.
Example of the matching rule: If we’re eating dinner, then everyone should taste at least one bite of vegetables.
Example of a situation: You need to drink water.
Example of the matching rule: If we’re eating dinner, then everyone should drink water.
Example of a situation: You shouldn’t get out of bed once we’ve read our bed time story.
Example of the matching rule: If we’ve finished reading our bed time story, then you should go to sleep. You should not get up again.
Example of a situation: You should hang your jacket on the coat stand.
Example of the matching rule: If we’ve just arrived home, then first we take off our jackets and we hang them on the coat stand.
Is your child a little older and are they already at school? Then try to set rules together. Chances are that will encourage them to follow the rules even better.
This free e-learning course can help you set rules with your (older) children.