25 Basic House Rules For Families & How to Create Your Own

Do you have a set of house rules? If not, they can be a valuable part of any home. Similar to a family mission statement, family rules are designed to clearly describe the expectations in your home, but in a more detailed way. Family house rules don’t have to be complicated, and you don’t need to feel like a drill sergeant to enforce them. But, house rules are key to helping your family to have less stress, less conflict, less yelling, and to run smoothly.

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Although the rules often change a bit as things change and kids grow older, developing some basic rules for where you are now is a great exercise in creating an efficient home that is also purposeful. The house rules we have in our family are appropriate for children of all ages from toddlers to teenagers and everything in between.

Here are the 25 basic house rules in our family followed by some tips for creating your own for the children in your family (& a cute free template you can print!

house rules family ideas

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  1. We are a family, first and foremost
  2. Mom and Dad are in charge. Period
  3. You will respect everyone who lives here. Always
  4. Rules are rules, they are not general guidelines
  5. Life is not always about you, sometimes it is about others
  6. You are not expected to be perfect, therefore, you may not expect perfection from others, even Mom and Dad
  7. Sometimes grace is extended, but grace is not to be expected
  8. If you don’t have something nice to say, just keep it shut
  9. You are expected to respond or acknowledge when you are spoken to, ear buds or not
  10. If you want to add something to the family calendar, you need to give plenty of notice
  11. If you are caught lying about something, you will receive twice the consequences. Being honest is always your best option
  12. Man or woman, girl or boy, you are expected to keep your word
  13. If your plans have changed, you need to tell Mom or Dad as soon as they change
  14. It does not matter to us what happens in the lives of your friends. This is your life – you live here
  15. There are plenty of times to have a discussion, you may always speak your mind – as long as you do it in a respectful way
  16. When someone is speaking, they have the floor
  17. If you would like privileges, you will need to fulfill your responsibilities
  18. If you want to borrow something, you will need to ask & not just take it
  19. When you borrow something, you will need to return it as you found it and to where you found it
  20. There is no maid who lives here
  21. If you make a mess, clean it up
  22. When you take something out, put it back
  23. If you take the last of something, tell the person who needs to know
  24. If you break something, you will be involved in the fixing or replacing process
  25. Electronics are a privilege, not a right

So, how can you create your own family house rules?

These are the steps you will find useful in creating your own family house rules. Feel free to use as many of ours as you like. But, in making your own, follow these simple steps and ideas.

family house rules free printable

Start by taking the ages of your kids into account – toddler, elementary, or teenagers

In the life of a family, I find it helpful to have rules that apply to everyone in a general way, ones that are more specific for younger kids, and rules that are more tailored for teenagers. Honestly, my teenagers often need to be reminded of the most basic house rules anyway.

Next, define your parenting priorities

While a rule for everything is tempting, you will need to have a limited list of house rules. Deciding on what rules to have starts with being clear on what you want the priorities to be in your family.

What are the most common struggles or family issues in your home?

Many of our family house rules are based on what the common sticking points and areas of conflict in our family. Taking these into account will help ensure that your family rules will help decrease the amount of stress, family conflict, sibling issues (and maybe even yelling) in your home.

Take into account the behavior or discipline issues you want addressed

Be sure you aren’t only taking into account the tasks type issues you want to address. Also take into account the behavior problems you and your kids struggle with. These could be fighting between siblings, areas of disobedience, or a general attitude problem that can be a source of stress.

What about manners for kids?

This is something that is a common issue in families. So many of the conflicts in our family can stem from a general lack of behaving with basic manners. Take the manners you value into account when creating your rules.

Don’t make your list too exhaustive

Our family settled on 25 house rules, but we do also have a super large family of nine kids. Maybe 25 would be way too many for your family. If your list starts off long, be sure to shorten it to make it something your family can actually live with and make a part of everyday life.

Print them off

Once you have created them, be sure to print them off. I included an awesome template you can print off and fill in your own rules. Again, don’t feel like you need to fill up every line. Your list of house rules should in a large part be reflective of the amount of people in your family.

family rules printable

Post your family rules where everyone can see them

This is such an important step. Once you have them all written out, put them where everyone whether parents or children can see them and follow them.

Having house rules for your family are an essential way to make sure that everyone is on the same page, expectations are clear, and conflict can be diminished.

These basic ideas are a great way for your family to get started.

Looking for more? You might like:

20 Basic Manners All Boys Should Know

How to Manage Your Strong Willed Child

How to Teach Your Child Self Control



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  1. We have rules in our house, but they are spoken. Having the rules typed out and posted makes them formal and it’s clear everyone is expected to follow them. It’s important to learn early in life there are always rules – at school, at home, at work, driving your car. No one is exempted from following the rules.

  2. I really like this idea. I have a 3 year old and I have construction paper taped to the wall with 3 rules. I have a hard time disciplining him, because he throws fits and I put him in time out. I lose my cool when he starts throwing a fit sometimes or just clearly refuses to listen. I would love to make a better “Rules” list with something that will remind me that I have have to keep my cool to expect him to keep his cool. No yelling. Thank you. I will try to make a better one.

  3. Great rules! Last year we adopted a principle from the book of Proverbs (Bible) “Let all that you do be done in love.” It’s a great over-arching rule for us.

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