I am in the middle of an eight week parenting course called Evergreen Parenting and loving every moment of it -and especially the fruits I see in our household since we started implementing many of the principles!
The course deals a lot with parenting your child according to their unique temperament and has been an amazing eye-opener for me. But most of us in this specific group have toddlers and we all appreciated it when, during the first session, we were given a very practical tool for dealing with discipline issues: we were encouraged to sit down with our children and create a set of Umbrella Rules for our household. At first I thought Sweetpea would be far too young to meaningfully participate, but this sweet three-and-a-half-year old knocked my socks off with her insight and contribution!
We had a lovely family meeting at the kitchen table where the Dad and I showed the little ones an umbrella and chatted to them about its use - to protect us from the elements! We then talked about how rules can also protect us, and together we came up with five basic rules that are appropriate - and necessary - for our family at this point in time. The rules are really super-simple and basically focuses on obedience and courtesy. They are:
1. There is a time for everything.
2. We talk nicely to each other.
3. We take care of our things.
4. We have good manners.
5. We help each other.
(A family with older children can use a more symbolic picture and the rules will obviously look very different from ours.)
(You can also order a ready-made Umbrella Rules via the Evergreen Parenting website - click here.)