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Raising fit Kids

Letting kids make the rules...or at least some of them
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Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
I'm an advocate for "house rules". It's a nice way to explain to your children that this is what is expected of them. It's not just Dad saying, "Please don't hit or yell." It's a "house rule." So we all should follow it.
With that being said, children are more likely to follow the rules if they are allowed to participate in forming them. Family meetings are a good way to facilitate the process. Weekly family meetings can help children learn responsibility and accountability. They are also a great time to communicate without distraction (turning your cell phone off), and really find out what everyone is doing and how they are feeling.

How to Make House Rules:

1. Keep them short and simple, such as "Be polite. Say please and thank you."

2. Make them positive, such as "Use your indoor voice," instead of "Don't yell."

3. Write them down and post them in a common area, even if your children can't yet read. This will help remind all family members of the rules. It's harder to forget or disagree if the rules are posted on the fridge.

4. Let children help set the rules. Revisit rules periodically at family meetings and make family decisions on updates or changes.

How to Hold a Family Meeting:

1. Agree on a time and place, such as Sunday evening after dinner.

2. Mom or Dad can moderate and take notes, initially. As children get older, they can take a turn.

3. Go around the table. Start with something they liked this past week, something that bothered them, and what they would like to change for next week. Any special agenda items can follow, such as making new house rules or getting ready for a holiday party.

4. Make family meetings fun. And end with something special, like treats or a game.

Do your kids have a hand in creating the rules in your home?
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Lainey_WebMD_Staff responded:
During our family meeting, my young children enjoy gathering in our dinning room and know they can politely voice their opinions. My grown adult children just asked me to join a family meeting a few weeks back (I loved it!) We were trying to help a daughter (money wise) and my eldest son asked for a family meeting and we solved her money issue quick. I was so proud of my son. Dr. Tanya is right, family meetings do work!

Our children created rules about privacy, rules about chores, and rules about fair allowances.


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