House Rules

August 1, 2009 at 5:47 am (Parenthood) (, , )

The Pacific Northwest was record-breaking HOT this week. That and the mini-van at the shop meant we’ve done nothing except rotate fans around the house and set up the pool I bought at Costco three years ago. It started back then as a fiasco.  Like everything at Costco, it’s MEGA-sized (in this case, 18 feet wide).  It has to be level, which our backyard is not, so many many (500?) gallons of water ran towards the house when it collapsed. No harm done though.

It sat there, empty, making me feel guilty for spending money on it and killing the grass for a few months, and then I finally rolled it up (and I use the term loosely- more like used all my strength to push it into a blob of a size 20 times the box it came in), and shoved it in the shed to gather slime and take up 1/3 of the space in there for three years.

This year (never let it be said that the JaRuuds do things quickly- I alternately still blame having twins and try to accept it’s just the way we are), MJ finally leveled up the ground with all the wood from the fence that has slowly fallen down section by section since we bought the house. That just left me to scrub the heck out of it, fill it, and sort out the chemicals, filter, various cleaning implements. All worth it now, though, as taking swimming lessons from 5 yr old drill sergeant AJ sends me into hysterics [me: I’m scared, I don’t wanna! him: Just DO IT!]

All that was just intro though-

Safety and the fighting that goes on with any activity here in JaRuud land dictated that we’d need to lay down some ground rules.

We already have house rules, brainstormed at family meetings, as suggested by positive discipline guru Jane Nelsen, among others. 

Da Rulz

I’m a rule person. Though I constantly break my own rules- eat well and exercise daily being my biggest un-followed rules.  What I deem important in establishing house rules:

  1. getting the kids to help come up with them
  2. stating them as positives (as in Be Kind instead of Don’t Be a Jackass)
  3. making them few and simple so that they can’t be internalized by everybody you expect to follow them

Our house rules have hung in the dining room since the boys were about two years old.  Tacky, maybe, but they also work as a conversation piece.  We started with three:

  • No hitting or kicking
  • Eat on the wood [we have hardwoods in the dining room/kitchen only, or the wood coffee table is acceptable], not on the carpet
  • Listen to others [this is a cheater rule, because it really means listen to Mama and Daddy.  I’m just now wondering if as parents we could obey this better.  And if we did, would it change anything for the better?]

Since those, we’ve added rules as necessary:

  • Clean up your own messes (ask for help it you need it)
  • Wash hands before eating or cooking
  • Be responsible with your gum
  • Use inside voices inside
  • Being sad and crying is OK.  If you need to scream, go to your bedroom.
  • Throwing is for outside
  • Stay where you can see Mom or Dad [out in the world of errands and forest walks both]
  • Wait to cross the street for grown-ups
  • Chew with mouth closed

They really do help.  Instead of being the bad guy, you can point and say “What’s this say that we do in our family?”

Here’s our brainstorm of pool rules:

  • Wash your feet first
  • One person on the ladder
  • Only human and pool toys in the pool (no cats, dogs, monkeys, electronics, batteries, etc.)
  • No eating or drinking in the pool (except drinks of non-pool water and DaddyMommy drinks, i.e. containing alcohol and/or caffeine)
  • No drinking the pool water
  • No peeing in the pool [we decided the “no pooping” was too obvious]
  • Make sure a grown-up is watching before you get in
  • If you get in the pool, expect to get splashed
  • If somebody asks you to stop splashing them on purpose, stop
  • No getting people wet that aren’t in the pool
  • Bring a towel outside with you, and use it before coming back in the house
  • After you take off your swimsuit, hang it up with your goggles in the bathroom or outside
  • No picking boogers in the pool
  • No water guns shooting at faces
  • If your name is AJ, put on your bathrobe after getting dry

These rules follow only qualification 1, that the kids helped make them up.  They’re pretty complicated.  We still have to draw them out and find a way to post them where they can get wet.  I’ll update later if they help fix the squawking about splashing and the water all over my floor…


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