Rules are necessary for children’s healthy development. Rules help them gain responsibility and keep them safe. Since it is a very significant subject, parents need to pay attention to it.
Key factors that you need to pay attention about setting rules;
- First of all, it is important to explain why this rule is necessary. For example; if you forbid a video-game, you can explain it as “I don’t believe this video-game is suitable for children at your age, therefore I don’t want you to play it.”
- You should consider age of your child. Children at 3 years old can’t remember more than 6 rules. You can update these rules when he/she grows up.
- When setting rules, it is important to pay attention not to scare children. Phrases like “If you don’t wear arm floats, you’ll be drowned” would scare them. Instead of that, you can choose more positive explanations; “Arm floats help you to stay on the surface and swim better”
- Breaking the rules should have consequences. At the first time, you should warn your child, but if he/she insist on breaking a rule, there should be suitable consequences. Next time they’ll be more careful.
- You should be consistent about rules and consequences of breaking them. Otherwise, breaking rules become too easy.
- When they break rules, it is important not to associate the situation with children’s character. Saying “You are a bad kid” or “You are naughty” harms children’s character and self confidence. Instead of criticizing child’s character, it is more appropriate to explain the situation like; “I don’t like this behaviour of yours, please don’t repeat it”. By saying so, you would be pointing that you dislike the behaviour, not the child himself.
- You should also avoid expressions such as “I wouldn’t talk to you if you behave like this.” These threads lead child to think that he is going to lose someone loved, and it creates a big emotional pressure.
- You can reward children who fallow rules successfully, but you should pay attention that the reward is not material. A compliment, fun activity etc. would consolidate the nice behaviour.
Why rules are important?
Rules help children to develop sense of responsibility. Children who know how to put toys back after playtime, organizes time according to it. This behaviour pattern helps them to fulfil heavier responsibilities at older ages. Rules also teach children to respect others and live in harmony with society.