- You are welcome to express emotion whenever you need but not in a way that harms others. If you need to yell it must be done outside (if I hear them yelling they will be asked to go outside). If you need to hit something you can hit your pillow, the couch, or your bed. If you need to throw something you may throw a pillow or stuffed animal at the wall. If you need to bite you may get a carrot or apple. If you need to scratch you may scratch the carpet or a blanket.
- Use your words nicely. No swearing. Tell the truth. When you are upset rather than screaming and throwing things use your words to communicate the problem in a nice voice.
- Use manners at the table. Ask for people to pass things to you and ask to be excused if you need to leave the table. Use a napkin or rag to clean hands rather than wiping on clothes. You may dislike what you have been served but you must always take a few no thank you bites to respect the cook for their efforts. Let the cook take the first bite. If you choose to throw food or make a purposeful mess at the table you will be expected to help clean the kitchen. If you choose to wipe your hands on your clothes you can help with the next load of laundry.
- Respect others space. Boys are not to be in girls rooms and vica versa unless a parent is present. All changing must be done in the bathroom and dirty laundry placed in the hamper located there. This protects others and keeps the house cleaner simultaneously.
- Do your part to keep the house clean Everyone is responsible for keeping their rooms relatively clean as well as doing one job after dinner to help keep the main kitchen/living areas clean such as sweeping, mopping, dishes, cleaning the table, etc. daily. Marzia has swept and mopped during her stay here. We also have one area of the house we focus on for half an hour in the morning. Mondays we switch sheets, vacuum, dust, clean windows, etc. in our bedrooms. Tuesday we all pitch in to clean out the oven, microwave, countertops, and fridge in the kitchen. Wednesday we clean bathrooms. Thursday we clean the school room and library. Friday we sterilize toys and clean up the toy room. Saturday we clean out cars and pick up trash in the yard. You definitely don’t have to do the exact same things we do but I wanted to give you an idea about what she has been doing. We also put away one toy before getting out another so things stay tidy through the day.
- Be nice! Smile at others. Share toys. Offer to help whenever you can. Treat those you meet as you would like to be treated.
- Keep others safe. Because we have so many littles that get run over easily I have kids not run in the house. If someone hears or sees someone hurting someone else when I am not there they need to come tell me. If they feel they are going to hurt others I encourage them to walk away and calm down. I even tell kids I am taking time outs sometimes to blow off some steam so I don’t yell at them.
- Respect the Lord. We pray over each meal and before bed. Children are encouraged to pray themselves and keep pictures of Jesus in their rooms. We never take the Lord’s name in vain. With the teens we have had we include that they don’t have to believe the same things we do or worship the same way we do but we do expect them to respect the way we worship by sitting quietly while we pray and refraining from disrespecting our God.
- Respect the right to say no. Some people don’t like to be touched. Others have sensitive ears. If someone asks you not to hug them or sing them a song respect their request. Everyone has the right to their own body and the right to ask you to kindly stop your actions if it makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Electronics must be used wisely. Limited to one hour a day. No rated R movies. We honestly only have G and PG movies although Nate and I will go to a PG13 from time to time by ourselves. All video games are rated E only.
Quiet time is observed for two hours following lunch so babies and toddlers can sleep. You are welcome to read a book, color, or do a quiet activity during that time. If you choose not to be quiet during that time you will get to stay in bed or help mom with housework while all others play following nap time.
Before breakfast everyone is required to get dressed and make their bed.
Before bed everything needs to be picked up off the floor. We usually do a five minute cleanup in which kids can put away any stray things that have been tracked into their bedroom by toddlers or that have been left out for various reasons.
During temper tantrums I frequently spend time with children asking them to “blow on oatmeal” while placing my cupped hands in front of their mouth which is a fun way of getting them to take deep breaths and calm down before they harm others. If the damage has already been done we usually talk about why they did it and have them re-enact how they could do it differently. For example if they kicked someone because they took a toy I ask if they could use their words. I would then have the two pretend to do the situation over except when one person tried taking the toy the other would say “I was playing with that. Can I give you a turn in a minute?” They don’t necessarily need consequences as much as they just need a muscle memory of doing it the right way when it comes to violence so I have found this to be the best solution.
Good luck raising your kids!