Are we on the same page? Family Agreements

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Family Rules or Agreements if you prefer to use a slightly lighter description. Some people love them, some people don’t. Some wish they had them, and others wrote them before bubs was born.

I wish I’d put these in place earlier in my parenting practice. Why? So everyone including Little Peeps and my beloved parenting partner are on the same page. They mitigate melt-downs and interrupt a tanty in heartbeat. There’s no arguing with the Agreements!

So for what it’s worth, if you haven’t got Family Agreements and are considering creating some for your family, here’s what I can share from my experience. Take what’s useful and leave the rest.

3 great reasons to have Family Agreements

  1. They keep everyone on the same page. Everyone understands what is acceptable and what is not in your home and between family members.
  2. Everyone has agreed upfront making it easier to reinforce them when you need to.
  3. They are a great way to teach foundational values, emotional regulation and social skills in a consistent manner.

The key to successful Family Agreements:

  1. Involve your family to get an agreement upfront – set up an informal family meeting and ask them what they think the family agreements should be.
  2. Keep it simple – stick to no more than 4-5 family rules. You can elaborate on what they mean and what the expectations are separately. You want to keep the rules simple and easy for Little Peeps and yourself to remember.
  3. Print out the Family Agreements and display them somewhere everyone can see them regularly – ours are on our fridge.
  4. Any time someone acts out against the Family Agreements, you can refer to the one being broken and nicely point it out to the offending peep. Now that doesn’t mean you have to become the Family Agreements Police!

Our Family Agreements

Here’s a pic of our Family Agreements. Each one has expectations attached.

  1. Respect Self: Look after yourself by caring for your teeth, clean yourself properly, ask nicely if you need help, get lots of sleep and make healthy food choices. Calm yourself and take time out to settle.
  2. Respect Others: Be courteous and kind to others. Use your manners. Look at people and use a clear voice when you are talking to someone. If someone is busy, wait for them to finish what they are doing.
  3. Respect Things: Put your toys away. Keep your bedroom tidy. Don’t harm other peoples things. Be careful with living creatures. Be gentle with nature. Try not to waste things by only using what you need.
  4. Choose your ‘Tude: We all have attitudes, and it’s ok to be sad or grumpy for short periods. You choose your ‘Tudes so choose one that makes you feel good. If you need help to feel better ask Mum or Dad to help.

Combine your Family Agreements with other tools to further expand your Little Peeps emotional awareness and build strong foundational skills and behaviours.

Other resources you may like to try:

Family Agreements and rules alone won’t change or guide behaviour. You’ll need to use a few other tools to establish habits and behavioural management skills.

Here are some starters…

What is a ‘Tude: Blog post

The ‘Tude Chooser Menu: Blog Post + Downloadable

The art of saying No nicely: Blog Post

For those who need quick access to the ‘Tude Choosing tool!

Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash

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