Most families have rules. To be honest, most of us have way too many rules. And those rules tend to change with the wind and our children’s attitudes at times. But there are some guidelines for using rules both at home and in your homeschool time that can help you and your children.
Research shows that reminding children of rules and praising them for using those rules can go a long way toward helping children to follow those rules. Many families create rules and only remind children of them when they are broken. “You know you’re not allowed to….”
But rules can be so much more useful to us. In early childhood classrooms, teachers spend a few minutes of each day reminding children of the rules. In classrooms for older children, teachers often establish rules with students at the beginning of the year and then those rules stay quietly posted on a wall for the remainder of the year.
Using rules not just as occasional reminders of when children misbehave or as you’re starting up your homeschool year can be a tremendous tool for you. Some guidelines are provided below to help you set up rules for your family for this new year.
If you have a visual learner, it is also helpful to create a visual representation of your family’s rules. This can be done with gestures or pictures.
We’ve been using the acronym ROAR (Respect, Obedience, Attitude, Responsibility) for several years now and it works well for us. In fact, I often remind my children to ROAR as a reminder of what is expected of them. After we established the base words for ROAR, we defined those as a family to make sure that everyone understood what was expected.
Sometimes we have to revisit those in different settings so that we can establish what is and is not expected in certain situations. We visualize those with funny animal pictures.
Feel free to use the ROAR acronym for yourself and define those words in ways that fit your family. Rules, just like homeschooling, can be individualized. Make them fit your family.
MAKING RULES THAT WORK FOR YOUR FAMILY:
Keep the number of rules limited to three to five. Too few fails to cover what you need, and too many becomes tough for kids and parents to keep up with.
State them positively. Tell children what you want them to do rather than what you don’t want them to do.
Remind your children of them at several times throughout the day including before an activity that is often tough for children, praising them for obeying rules, and for teaching appropriate behavior when children do misbehave.
Have one set of rules for your family that cover what you expect both in school and family times.