Do you ever find yourself inventing rules for your kids—or relying on classic rules—just to prevent them from doing something that annoys you?
These are the rules that are meant to be broken. The ones we enforce for our own convenience, not because there’s anything inherently right about them. Sure, we all need to keep our sanity as parents. But sometimes kids really do know what’s best for them, and the exact thing we want to prevent from happening would make them better off.
1. Use Your Inside Voice
This rule has its place. The classroom. The library. It can also show respect to other people in the room who may be doing something that loud sounds would disrupt. But how often do we ask our kids to use inside voices just because they’re annoying us? When it’s still bitterly cold in March and hard to get outside with great frequency, it seems cruel to limit the noise level inside too much. My rule: the sound of a child playing on his own or with his siblings without causing damage or harm is never annoying!
2. No Running in the House
Classic wisdom, right? Well, with obesity among children on the rise, it’s time to rethink this rule. Maybe we should all run in the house a bit more. In our house, we’ve taken this a step farther. My 5-year-old just got his first scooter for his birthday, and yes, we let him ride it in the house. He’s just figuring out his balance and isn’t terribly fast, and what else can he do when there’s still snow everywhere and temps are still hovering around when-is-freaking-winter-ever-going-to-end degrees?
(MORE: The Case for Lazier Parenting)
3. No Rough Housing
Because someone might get hurt or something might get broken, right? Those things are certainly true, but rough and tumble play offers numerous benefits for kids that may outweigh those risks. Research shows that rough-and-tumble play can help with problem solving, resolving dominance and competitiveness issues, developing physical abilities, and getting essential touch needs met. Of course there are limits, but rough housing is often an underrated part of childhood.