How to Set Good Rules for Children to Encourage Positive Behaviour

by: Rowen

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We know that it can be tough to manage your child’s behaviour at times, especially when your child seems determined to do everything except what you are asking of them! 

Unwanted behaviour can look like temper tantrums, jealousy, bad manners and unwanted attention, which can feel frustrating and exhausting for parents to handle. Knowing how to set good rules for children is a pivotal part of promoting positive behaviours. 

Today we will discuss what makes effective rules and offer advice and strategies on how to implement them, for the benefit of both children and parents!

Our Tips on How to Set Good Rules for Children

1. Positivity is Everything

Language is important for shaping how rules are perceived. To encourage and reward positive behaviour, it makes sense for rules to also be positive. For example, rather than saying, “Do not be mean to others”, we can say, “Be kind to others”. This creates an uplifting and encouraging environment, whilst making clear expectations. 

Positive reinforcement after successfully adhering to rules is also essential. High fives, clapping, hugs and offering praise will motivate your child to keep up the good work.

2. Keep Them Simple

It is crucial that rules are kept to a minimum number, of around five or less. This will ensure that children do not get overwhelmed and are able to follow. When creating rules, make sure they are phrased simply and in short sentences, with the desired behaviour observable and measurable, to further aid understanding. For example, “Put your hand up to answer”, is simple and children can clearly see when it is being enacted. 

3. Communicate with your child

Be sure to communicate the rules with your child often, both when necessary and when not. For example, rather than just stating rules when a child is misbehaving, use them in sentences everyday. Taking the example of being kind to others, when your child displays this behaviour without prompting, you can reaffirm their actions by making reference to the rule, “well done, we make sure to always be kind to others, don’t we”. This will help encourage good behaviour by increasing your child’s confidence.

4. Consistency is Key

If everyone that looks after your child has different rules and ways of enforcing them, it can become confusing and difficult for your child to understand what is expected. Discuss with each caregiver what your rules are and how you want them to be enforced, so that consistency is maintained. This will be reassuring for children and reduce anxiety surrounding how to behave.

5. Review Rules 

Make sure that the rules you create are age appropriate and evolve as your child grows. For example, by increasing bedtimes as your child reaches a new grade, to make them feel rewarded and grown up. Keeping rules relevant to how your child is currently behaving and the setting that they are in, will help maintain enthusiasm and limit frustration.

Overall, we hope that this will help you set good rules for children. If you would like more information on how to encourage positive behaviour, be sure to join us at our free webinar: