Setting Limits: 10 Rules of Conduct for Children

In order for children to develop properly and function correctly in society, it's necessary to set guidelines for their behavior. We want to propose a few of these guidelines, or rules of conduct, and explain why it's important to set limits.
Setting Limits: 10 Rules of Conduct for Children

Last update: 12 March, 2018

Being a parent is much more than just bringing a child into the world and taking care of their basic needs. Human beings need to form part of a society, and follow certain rules of conduct that help them mature and develop.
This implies a certain level of harmony and coexistence. To achieve this, it’s important to establish some behavioral norms that should be learned from early infancy.

In order for our little ones to become responsible, social, tolerant individuals that know how to handle themselves in their environment, certain limits must be respected. 

These limits will act as references for children to keep in mind and help orient them in their growth and development.

The importance of rules of conduct

“Establishing norms and limits during infancy helps children develop values and face new situations”

Setting behavioral guidelines may feel like a challenge at times, but it has both short and long-term benefits. Furthermore, it helps them evolve as people and to become integrated in their surrounding environment.

These norms provide children with a certain sense of security. Knowing what they can and cannot do and how to adapt to certain situations gives them peace of mind when it comes time to act. This is especially true if you combine it with a household routine.

Setting Limits: 10 Rules of Conduct for Children

These behavioral guidelines will also allow your children to distinguish between right and wrong, and develop their own sets of values.

All of this will enable your children to better adapt to new situations, as they’ll have clear basic references. Your children will learn how to manage different situations and scenarios appropriately, always basing their conduct on respect and tolerance.

Advice for establishing rules of conduct

“The guidelines that we set should always adapt to the abilities and development of each child”

Educating a child takes time, so it’s important to keep in mind that the rules we set won’t change our child’s behavior overnight. Patience is a must. Try not to be too strict or get angry easily if you don’t see results right away.

By guiding our children gently and with perseverance, we’ll teach them what they should and shouldn’t do. And in doing so, we’ll give them peace of mind and self-confidence.

Here are some specific suggestions regarding creating rules of conduct for your children:

  • There’s no need to make rules for every little thing. Children need to have limits, but they also need space to explore, experiment and develop.
  • The limits should adapt to each child. Make sure your child is able to fulfill and respect the expectations you set.
  • Rules should be fair, consistent, and based on the needs of each child. Furthermore, you should keep your own behavior in mind as well. If there are contradictions between your own attitudes and that which you expect of your child, the rules will only be confusing.
  • Besides just being understandable, the rules should always be expressed positively. Saying “no” to everything can be tiring for everyone involved. Rather, emphasize the positive part of the limits. Instead of stating what your children shouldn’t do, state what they should do.
  • Be clear on the consequences as well. Your children should clearly understand the rules as well as the positive or negative consequences that their behaviors will have.

10 rules of conduct for the home

We can establish a large quantity and variety of rules regarding the behavior we expect from our children. However, the guidelines we choose will depend more than anything on our own children.

Don’t forget to always adjust your rules to your children’s abilities.

Setting Limits: 10 Rules of Conduct for Children

The limits you set should also be adapted to different environments. Therefore, you can establish specific rules for the classroom, extracurricular activities, outings, in the home, etc.

The aim of these norms is to help your child adapt and fit in to each new environment. Below is a list of some specific limits you can set in your home.

  1. Say hello and goodbye. By teaching your child to greet others upon arriving or leaving, you show them that each person they interact with is important.
  2. Always speak respectfully and listen attentively. In order to communicate well, we need to express ourselves adequately, but also listen to the other side. Understanding this will give your child the keys to good communication.
  3. Avoid foul language. This rule has to do with the previous one, and parents must be careful to set a good example. Little ones pick up on insults and bad words right away.
  4. Eat correctly and without complaining. This isn’t just about maintaining a certain composure at the table. It’s also about not allowing your children to play with their food, or rejecting the food they’re served. This is a very open-ended rule, so be more specific according to your family’s needs.
  5. Keep toys organized and put away. Each child is responsible for his own belongings. Your children must be aware that they can’t leave their things all around the home, as this can be hazardous.
  6. Help out around the home. Remember to take into account each child’s abilities. You can separate this rule into specific tasks, each one with its respective reward.
  7. Don’t waste. Make the most of household goods, turn off the water faucet, turn lights/television off when not needed, etc. Your children will not only learn to care for the family’s economy, but for the environment as well.
  8. Close doors carefully. Slamming doors doesn’t just create a loud and bothersome noise. It can also cause the doors to break.
  9. Say “please” when asking for something. This rule also has to do with respect. Children should learn to ask for things politely rather than just trying to impose their own will.
  10. Say “sorry.” If we know we’ve done something wrong, then we should recognize the offense and say we’re sorry. A good way to teach this to your child is to reduce the consequences if they confess and recognize what they did wrong.

The most important thing is that your children come to learn over time that the rules of conduct aren’t just pointless impositions. Rather, these norms are focused on your child’s own well-being and ability to handle themselves in society.

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.

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