Rules can help children, because they like to know where they stand. It gives them clarity and it makes them feel safe. If there are no clear rules, your child can get confused or difficult, because they don’t know what is expected of them.
Jan, father of Dirk (3 years):
My son Dirk would just keep asking for sweets over and over again, especially in the afternoon. We then introduced the rule that he can take one sweet from the sweets tin in the afternoon. That’s it. If he still wants more, he can have some carrot or cucumber. At first it was difficult to keep applying this rule. Dirk doesn’t give up easily and he can just keep whining. But eventually I managed not to give in by saying, over and over again, “No Dirk, you’re not getting any sweets. The rule is that you get one sweet in the afternoon. And you’ve had one already”. It took a while, but now Dirk hardly ever whines for sweets in the afternoon. The rule has turned into a habit.
Start setting rules when your child is young, so that they quickly become habits. It goes without saying that’s easier said than done. Keep reading to discover some tips on how to set rules and how to apply them consistently.