Rules not only make it easier to raise a happy, confident child, they are vital. All attempts to raise a responsible, cooperative child without age-appropriate restrictions are fraught with failure and stress. A balanced and self-regulating adult begins with a child who at first, until he learns to regulate his own behavior, follows the rules set by the elders. Therefore, when we understand why rules are needed, it is easier for us to realize their importance and abandon the stereotype that they oppress the free spirit of the child.
Rules prepare kids for the real world
Rules are those restrictions and boundaries that provide a basis for understanding what exactly is expected of children at school, at home, or when interacting with friends. In addition, rules are a natural part of our lives, when having instructions helps us deal with difficult situations.
Clear, consistent and fair rules weaken power struggles
No, children do not cease to test the boundaries of adults every now and then. However, when an adult consistently, without losing a positive attitude, is guided by the rules understandable to children, they, if not from the first, then from the hundredth time, will understand that they are unlikely to receive the forbidden.
Rules comfort children
Because of the rules, children intuitively understand that they need an adult who is ready to take responsibility. Accordingly, they expect us to guide them, educate them and correct their behavior.
Rules provide a sense of order
Rules help children predict what will happen next. Proposed actions, daily routine, successive steps in education form a sense of trust and security. When a child knows what to expect and whom to rely on, he confidently explores the world and develops new skills, because human development is based on a projected forecast of the future, according to experts. Understanding this greatly helps teachers to contribute to the development of students, and students to enjoy learning.
Clear instructions are one of the elements of learning motivation for children
The rules and criteria for completing tasks, clear expected results help children to learn more successfully than lengthy explanations of educational material by the teacher. In addition, children quite often refuse to do any work, not because they are inept or lazy, but because they simply do not know where to start or what is expected of them. Subsequently, as they grow older, it is the rules that help students master time management, plan their own activities, become more independent and motivated to make healthy choices.
There are rules in setting rules
- The first rule is that children need to feel that they are influencing their own lives. It motivates them and gives them a sense of self-worth. Therefore, children should be involved in setting the rules. This is needed at the level of the family, the class, and the school. You can often hear phrases from adults: “We agreed” or “We have such rules.” And the question arises – was there an agreement? Maybe it was only the decision of an adult? We are ready to bear responsibility when we made a decision personally. If the decision is made for us, we will look for an excuse for our irresponsible behavior. Children behave the same way.
- The second rule is that when it comes to following the rules, adults should be consistent and logical. Children need to be aware of the consequences of both bad behavior and good behavior. Good behavior is rewarded, and for breaking the rules, for example, some kind of privilege is taken away. However, sometimes adults are inconsistent in their decisions. For the same violation today they can be punished, but not tomorrow. Or not carry out the threat. For example, a teenager violated the rules for using the phone. Parents can say that they will pick up the phone for a week. But will they do this, given the need to contact the child after school? Or, for example, the teacher threatens to kick out of the class for misconduct, but this is impossible, since he is responsible for the child in the lesson. Empty threats prevent a child from learning to be responsible. He learns the message that your rules don’t matter. The inconsistency of adults confuses children. So rules only work when they are executed.
- Third, we often hear orders from adults to children about what not to do. However, children respond better to what can be done. In this regard, rules should be formulated in a positive spirit, for example: “In our class, everyone respects each other” instead of “Do not take away a classmate’s things.” That is, we avoid the “not” particle. And be sure to praise the children for doing something right. These things are worth noticing and celebrating. But grumbling or screaming when children do something wrong is useless.
- Fourth, there cannot be many rules, a maximum of ten. The more rules, the lower the likelihood that children will remember them and follow them.
- Fifth, the rules must be age-appropriate. The older the child, the more the boundaries of restrictions should be expanded so that he asserts himself in independence, can take responsibility, since this is what helps him become more autonomous.
- The sixth and final rule is flexibility. The rules need to be adjusted depending on the circumstances, for example, for the summer period. But children should know that these are special conditions for a certain time, and not a change in the rules forever.
In times of uncertainty, you need to create a sense of predictability. Even if simple daily activities differ from the usual schedule, they still give children the opportunity to understand what will happen during the day or week, and this is what makes their life predictable. In difficult times, the daily routine, regular routines will help the child avoid stress. Moving, quarantine, abrupt changes deprive children of their usual way of life. Creating a new routine, defining regular activities and rules will work like an umbrella, helping to shield children from the stressful and damaging effects of change.