The Ten Rules

If you have kids, you have family rules.

In our family, we have The Ten Rules. These are the rules we taught our kids from a very young age, including little hand signals to help us remember them. We say them together before we go anywhere, especially to someone’s house.

I thought I’d share them with you all, as I’ve had many families use them after hearing our family’s success!

So here you go:

1) Listen

This is THE MOST IMPORTANT rule, and it is always a good reminder. Sometimes we follow it up with “listen and obey.”

Hand Signal: point with one finger at ear

2) Please and Thank You

You can’t say these too much! Politeness comes with practice.

Hand Signal: two fingers

3) Share

This is the rule that often comes up when we have playdates. Sometimes we add the Daniel Tiger phrase: “You can take a turn, and then I’ll get it back.”

Hand Signal: wave three fingers between you and another person

4) No Hitting

Or kicking, or flicking, or biting, or…you get the picture.

Hand Signal: four fingers into a fist while shaking head

5) Ask for Help

When you’re feeling frustrated, ask for help! (Another one I took from Daniel Tiger. ;) ) Sometimes I have to encourage the kids to take four deep breaths to help them get their frustration under control. And let’s be honest: I need the reminder as often as they do!

Hand Signal: thumb up on palm (the sign language sign for help)

6) Pull the Whine Out and Throw It Away

Whining and fits are not allowed in our house. I tell them to physically pull the whine out of their mouth and throw it far away, because I don’t want to hear it.

Hand Signal: sign the number 6 (make your thumb and pinky stick) and throw the whine away from your mouth

7) Clean Up When You’re Done

Whether it’s at home or at a friend’s house, I encourage the kids to always clean up when they’re done, rather than letting it pile up until it’s an overwhelming task. This rule also applies when asking them to clear their plate when they’re done with dinner.

Hand Signal: sign the number 7, pinch fingers together, and “pick up”

8) Wait

This rule was added when my kids kept interrupting me while I was talking to another adult. Now the kids know that they need to raise their hand, or touch my elbow to get my attention, and then they have to wait until I’m finished.

Hand Signal: sign the number 8, then show your palm like you’re holding your hand up to be called on

9) Cover Your Mouth

This was a rule well before Covid. I’ve always asked the kids to cough and sneeze into their elbow, or cover their mouth if they burp. This rule also sometimes works as a consequence. If they say something rude, I’ll make the kids cover their mouth for a minute, or longer if need be.

Hand Signal: sign the number 9, then cover your mouth with your hand

10) Be Respectful and Polite

Two thumbs way, way up because that’s The Ten Rules!

Hand Signal: sign the number 10 (thumbs up), then give a second thumbs up

That’s it!

I’ve included a printable below! I hope you’ll find these rules as helpful as we have! :) Good luck!

Save and print

P. Meredith

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