Words To Live By

Standard

I’m sure you’ve all seen those inspirational posters – either on Pinterest or maybe in the homes of the people who set up their Elf on the Shelf in crazy, funny situations – that use colorful fonts of varying sizes to outline the “House Rules.”

There are hundreds of different versions of this idea, including…

Your Basic Classy House Rules Poster:

Classy Rules

Very clean fonts, subdued colors; these are the rules of a very rich family

A Shabby Chic Version of the House Rules Poster:

Shabby Chic Rules

I’m guessing this one was homemade, probably by someone in the Midwest.

The Ascending-the-Staircase House Rules:

Stairs Rules

This one worries me… what if someone trips while confirming that they are, indeed, REAL?

And here we have the Dining-Room-Wall version:

Wall Rules

Wow, DIRECTLY on the wall?!? This one displays some SERIOUS commitment to the house rules.

 And then there’s a more specific subset, the Playroom Rules:

Playroom Rules

Because we all know what great rule-followers – and readers – little kids are!

You get the point.

Well, I was thinking that the reason my kids are so crazy is PROBABLY because I don’t have a poster outlining my expectations! DUH. How did I miss this? I obviously needed a House Rules poster stat.

The first step was to make a list of many of the options I’ve seen online and work on a process of elimination:

Be Happy    Always? Generally? Too vague.
Ask questions   This does not need to be encouraged.
Always Tell the Truth   Hmm, let’s not underestimate the power of a white lie.
Clean up after yourself
Giggle and Laugh   Yeah, pretty sure we don’t need to spell this one out for them.
Love One Another   They’re going to need me to be more specific.
Believe in yourself   Too therapisty
Hands Are For Hugging, Not Hitting    I’m sorry, but have you met my kids?
Help Others   This one’s not bad, but again should we make blanket statements like this?
No Fussing, Whining, Bad Attitudes   Must keep expectations in check.
Try New Things   I’m not 100% sure I want to encourage this without knowing what kinds of things we’re talking about
Be Accountable   Do your kids know what accountable means??
Be Considerate, Respectful and Grateful
Never Stay Angry    Um, this one’s too hard for me. I’m taking it off.
Use Good Manners
Do Your Best   … but not if you’re doing something I don’t want you to do.
Know you are loved   BLECH
Dance and sing   This sounds really noisy
Brush your teeth   I don’t see anyone checking this poster right before school or bed; save this for the “morning/nighttime routine” checklists
Never give up   Um, I’m just not comfortable with this one… what if they glance up and read this in the middle of a temper tantrum?
Give lots of hugs   We all know how they like to use hugs as emotional blackmail at bedtime.
Be loud and silly   NO ONE IN OUR HOUSE NEEDS THIS TYPE OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Practice patience
Everyone is welcome   Are you kidding? I just got finished teaching them about stranger danger!
Only use kind words   This brings to mind a vision of a Victorian-age tea party. “Would you mind ever so much if I borrowed this toy that you are currently interacting with?” “Oh no, of course not, please do proceed with removing this object from my possession; I will happily relinquish it to you.” Sure.
Share everything   Well, maybe not everything.
Clean up after yourself
Don’t throw toys    Or your little brother. Just don’t throw anything.
Say you’re sorry   ALL THE TIME. Because I’m sure you’ve done something wrong.
Play fair   Ew, I hate this one.
Only color on paper   This one feels a little spirit-squashing to me. Not that I want them to color on the walls, but feels akin to saying, “Stay inside the lines and the sun MUST be yellow.”
Watch TV less, read more
Don’t tattle   Again, not always the right message.
Make music and memories   Oh geez.

OK, so here’s what’s left:

Clean up after yourself*
Be Considerate, Respectful and Grateful
Use good manners
Practice patience.
Clean up after yourself*
Watch TV less, read more

*I honestly didn’t mean to leave “Clean up after yourself” on there twice, but I’m happy to emphasize that one.

The final steps were to tweak the final list and add any additional rules I felt were necessary and then format them into a cool-looking, Pinterest-worthy list.

So without further ado, I present to you our new House Rules poster.

FamilyPosterFinal

I feel really really confident that this is going to make ALL the difference in our house. I’ll keep you posted.

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