Taking a page from my fourth-grade teacher’s book, I made a set of colored cards (green, yellow, orange, red and black) for each of the kids and hung them at the bottom of a printout of “Mom’s Rules”. Each time a rule is broken, the card in the front moves to the back. If they get to the black card they have to stay in their room for the rest of the morning or afternoon (whatever the case may be).
- No interrupting Mom on the computer or phone.
- No shouting, screaming, arguing or whining.
- When the time’s up, stop. NO EXCEPTIONS.
- No fighting over toys—share always!
- No babytalk.
- Always keep food and crafts at the table.
- The only reason you should look at your neighbor’s plate is to make sure they have enough.
- No standing on chairs, toys or boxes.
- Do not pull out the beanbag or play under it.
- Do not yank on Mom’s desk or sidle up against her elbow.
- Do not stack things on Mom’s desk.
- Toys must be cleaned up before lunch.
If we find that the kids can’t remember the rules, we’ll try reading them through every morning.