Our Family Rules – and printable

My quest for a set of rules began a few years ago when Elle was about three years old. That was about the time when she was telling me “no” and being quite willful and disobedient. She needed to know what was expected and how to behave. And, I needed something to help me be consistent and something to refer to when disciplining her.

road rules

Just Google “family rules” and there are so many options. It seems that 90% of the images are of rules listed in really cool fonts and sizes on a chalkboard background and images that are meant more for decoration. I like a lot of these ideas but it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

I wanted something that was easy to read and simple. I did not want a “decoration” on my wall. I wanted something that was Biblically based. Then I came across this poster of family rules. It was perfect! I got out my markers and a plain white sheet of printer paper, wrote down the rules, and posted it in view of my youngster.

It was the quickest way to get a set of rules into play. If they didn’t work or I found a set of rules that I thought would work better than I would change it. Well, it’s been a couple of years now and the rules are still posted. However, it’s time for a makeover… I typed them up, all nice and neat, and I added a written verse instead of just a scripture reference. And, I want to share them with you! Click here to download Our Family Rules.

Our Family Rules 3.20

1. Love God & Love Each Other

2. Listen & Obey the 1st Time

3. Use Kind Words in a Kind Voice

4. Be Honest & Loyal

5. Have a Servant’s Heart

6. Ask Permission & Forgiveness

When disciplining the kids I like to ask them what they did wrong and what rule they need to be following. This set of rules is great because they are a little more general, you can fit a specific wrongdoing into any one of the rules. If your child is calling names, teasing, or using bad language then rule #3 can apply. If your child is refusing to do his chores or responsibilities or is not being helpful then you can use rule #5 to remind him how to act.

I recommend “assigning” a discipline for each rule. It helps me to be consistent and for my kiddos to know what to expect when they do something wrong. The type of discipline will depend on your child’s age and motivation. And the form of discipline will change as your child grows older. I really like how Doorposts.com explains what discipline looks like. Ultimately, you know your family best and what works best for you.

Please feel free to share any discipline ideas in the comments.

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What I Have Learned: Meal Planning and Expectations

Before beginning any task or job you have to know what is expected of you. How is this task supposed to be done? What should be the end result?

Once, I took a job as an assistant to a real estate agent. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of what it meant to be a real estate agent and eventually be all on my own. I loved the idea of working with people to help them find their home. But, after I started working with this agent I realized that I really didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. I felt like I was doing an awful job. And this was difficult for me to understand, at first, because I have always been a good employee. Finally, I recognized that this working relationship was lacking expectations. He didn’t tell me what or how he wanted things done and I didn’t ask (which was naivety on my part).

Earlier I talked about how I refuse to fail at my job as mom and wife, particularly when it comes to meal planning. As of late, planning and preparing meals has been super stressful for me. We go through phases of eating healthy and purposefully to eating whatever makes it to the table. I lose my oomph and fail to come up with something creative. When I try something new and it doesn’t come out so great then I become discouraged. Then, I am so hard on myself (as a lot of moms are) that I tend to not do anything at all, I don’t even know where to begin.

meal planning expectations

So, the first step is to know what is expected of me. What is the goal of meal planning and how should this be done? For our family, in this household, the goal of planning meals is to ensure that there are healthy foods available and that a nutritious dinner is ready in the evening. (And of course to maximize our budget.) Easy enough? Sure. But, what is “healthy?” And when exactly is dinner?

The dinner time question usually irons itself out depending on the season of life we are in. Early in our relationship it was when we got hungry. After our daughter was born my husband worked during the day and I worked at night. Dinner was whenever he made it or heated up leftovers and I ate whenever I got a break at work. When I stopped working after our son was born, dinner was twice a night. Once with me feeding my daughter and myself (baby boy was nursing) and once when my husband was due home from work at eight o’clock at night.

Now that I am a SAHM and my husband is working for himself, dinner is between 4:30 and 5 o’clock, a reasonable and consistent time (yay). And of course your reasonable dinner time can be different from ours. Maybe the time you eat isn’t that important in your family. But that is what spelling out your expectations is all about.

Now to address the “healthy” question: we all have our answer to this and all of our answers can be quite different. Even my definition of healthy and my husband’s are slightly different. We are committed to educating ourselves and sharing with each other our thoughts so that we can be better aligned when it comes to labeling a meal healthy or not so healthy.

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We know when we want dinner prepared and we are working towards a unified definition of healthy. It’s time to figure out what we expect to be eating for each meal. I have created a list of foods that work for us. I will be using this list as a guide when planning out the week. For breakfast I have listed things like steel cut oatmeal, eggs, raw juice, and guacamole. Lunch: I have salad and leftovers. For snacks, we need to get away from the prepackaged things like granola bars and such (too much sugar). I want to offer more whole fruits with nuts or nut butters, veggies and hummus, guacamole or salsa with chips, and homemade trail mix. The dinner meals I have listed are Thai and Indian curries, soup, and chicken with veggies.

We also have agreed that what we eat should follow this food pyramid guide by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Veggies are at the bottom consisting of half our intake, then fruits, beans/legumes, and seeds nuts and avocados: leaving whole grains, potatoes, eggs, fish, and dairy towards the top. The very top, the ones to eat sparingly, is beef, sweets, cheese, and of course processed foods. We want to strive for a plant based diet as our staple: as a guide to healthy eating.

Now that expectations have been laid out, it is easier to know what I should be buying at the stores and what I am serving at the dinner table. Understanding what is expected keeps the stress level down and I don’t have to wonder if I am doing a good job.