20 Essential House Rules for a Family with Children

Establishing house rules is essential for good family coexistence. Although every family is different, there are a series of rules that should be present in every home.
20 Essential House Rules for a Family with Children
Mara Amor López

Written and verified by the psychologist Mara Amor López.

Last update: 16 December, 2022

The establishment of house rules is fundamental in any family, especially if there are children in the family. These rules will help all the members of the family to be aware that living together entails rights and duties that must be fulfilled.

As children grow up, establishing rules that we must all respect becomes very important, according to the capacities and responsibilities that each one of us can assume. Therefore, the house rules must be decided by the whole family.

Parents will be in charge of making sure that these rules are understood, assumed, and respected. Do you want to know which rules should be present in a family with children? Keep reading.

Why is it so necessary to establish house rules when we have children?

Rules help us to know what to do and what not to do, besides being the basis for a good coexistence. Why are they so necessary?

A father and daughter hugging as they do laundry together.
  • Rules help children to grow up self-confident and balanced. They’re the basis of behavior and what will help children learn to live as social beings.
  • A child who respects the rules at home also learns to live together at school, with friends and family, in the park, etc.
  • Children have to learn to live within limits and rules for a good coexistence with other people. It’s important that they understand that they can do what they need to do, but always refrain from invading the freedom of others.

How can we teach and enforce respect for house rules?

The key for children to respect house rules and regulations is that they’re few, simple, and clear. This way, we make sure that they’re understandable for little ones. What should we take into account to teach and enforce the rules?

  • The age of the children when establishing them. The younger the child is, the simpler the rules should be. As they grow up, they’ll adapt and, in addition, we’ll let them participate in establishing them.
  • The house rules to be established should always be agreed upon by the whole family, including children. All suggestions and opinions will be considered, although parents have the last word.
  • Any member of the family who breaks a rule, including parents, must recognize their mistake. We can all make mistakes, and from those mistakes, we learn how to improve coexistence.
  • Parents can suggest a list of house rules that are essential for good coexistence. The children’s suggestions can be added to this list.

Some essential house rules for good family coexistence

House rules may vary from one family to another, depending on their culture, values, customs, beliefs, etc. However, there are a series of rules that are basic in all families. Below is a list of the most important ones.

  1. Use an appropriate tone of voice, without shouting or being violent when we speak.
  2. Don’t interrupt when someone is talking.
  3. Ask permission to take things that belong to someone else.
  4. Listen to whoever is speaking to us before we intervene.
  5. Don’t disrespect or hit anyone.
  6. Respect ourselves and others.
  7. Be polite and courteous when we ask someone for something.
  8. Take some time alone to calm down and then come back to solve the problem if we’re angry.
  9. Ask for things politely and always say thank you.
  10. At mealtime, sit down at the table and start when everyone’s seated. In the same way, don’t get up from the table until everyone has finished or we’re given permission.
  11. Always say hello and goodbye.
  12. Share what we have with others.
  13. Treat other people the way we would like to be treated.
  14. Apologize if we’ve done something wrong.
  15. Comply with home safety rules (don’t open the door to strangers, turn off electronic devices, etc.).
  16. Cooperate in the house to keep it tidy and clean.
    A toddler helping to unload the dishwasher.
  17. Have an established schedule for the completion of school work.
  18. Cooperate with the housework, always adapting to the abilities and ages of the family members.
  19. Have a schedule for playing games and using tablets, computers, cell phones, etc., respecting these schedules strictly.
  20. Go to bed at the established time, always respecting the rest of the family.

Your example is the key

This list of house rules provides just a few ideas that we can use to improve family coexistence, but they’re not the only ones. What we mustn’t forget is that mom and dad must also respect the house rules. Children follow our example, and if we expect them to follow rules that we don’t follow ourselves, then what kind of example are we giving them?

A basic aspect of our children’s education is our example, and this will mark the construction of healthy values, habits, and customs. Therefore, we have to remember that we have to behave in a coherent way in front of the child and never fall into contradictions.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • DíAZ, M. A. R. I. T. Z. A. (2019). Aprender a vivir juntos: normas y límites para niños y niñas. uri: https://repositorio. idep. edu. co/handle/001/741.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.