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Family Activities
Set Rules and Consequences

Setting Rules

Set up rules and consequences with your children so you can be sure they understand and agree. Follow these steps:

  1. Discuss the rules needed to protect the health, safety, and rights of everyone in the family.
  2. Respect children’s rights, such as the right to privacy, within the family rules.
  3. Determine appropriate consequences for breaking each rule.
  4. Give everyone a chance to discuss the fairness of the rules.
  5. Write down the rules. Ask your children to draw pictures about the rules using stick figures or magazine cutouts. Tape the rules to the refrigerator for everyone to see.

Once the rules are set, don’t forget:

  • Praise children when they follow the rules.
  • Stick to the consequences established for breaking each rule.
  • Talk about needed changes in the rules.
  • Help children follow the rules.

Trouble With Rules

You have created negative consequences for breaking the rules. Now, set up positive consequences for a family rule that your child has trouble following. Set up a weekly achievement chart. When your child follows the difficult rule, place a sticker or check mark in the chart to track progress and reward changing behavior.

For example, Amy refuses to go to bed on time. Put a check in the achievement chart for every night that she follows the bedtime rule. If she goes to bed on time five nights in a row, treat her with an extra bedtime story or a trip to the playground, library, or other special place. If she continues to follow the rules for a while, you may want to offer a compromise. On special occasions or on weekends, she can stay up 1 hour longer. If she falls back into old habits, she loses the privilege.

What Would Wally Bear And Friends Do?

Use Building Blocks for a Healthy Future Character Cards (PDF) to help your children follow the rules.

Wally Bear and his friends are all different. You and your child can use the Character Cards (PDF) to find out more about each of them.
green wally bear face
  • If your child is late getting ready for bed, ask “What would Sandy Squirrel do?” If you check her Character Card, Sandy Squirrel loves her tree house and books. Your child might say, “I’ll climb into bed and read a book with Sandy.”
  • If your child has lost his shoes once again, ask “What would Miguel Tiger do?” If you check his Character Card, Miguel loves to investigate. Your child might say, “I’ll get my magnifying glass and look everywhere until I find my shoes and, then, I’ll choose one place to always keep my shoes.”

Focus on Wally Bear and friends to help children make the right choices when asked to follow rules or behave appropriately.

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Updated on 3/22/2014