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What 'house rules' do you have for your 18/19/20 month olds?

(32 Posts)
LovelyWeatherForDucks Tue 03-Jun-14 19:52:28

I've just started to realise we are coming out of the 'baby stage' and hurtling into the toddler stage! I have started to get conscious that I'm fairly relaxed about things when we are at home...he's only just started walking too which brings more challenges.

For example, he often has a snack when he asks or while playing, if he won't lie down for a nappy change or sit still to get dressed I do it on-the-move ninja style, if he won't eat his meal in his highchair I'll let him sit on my lap or give him something else, if he demands a certain toy/activity I usually give it to him or to go upstairs/down/outside, i let him fiddle with my phone and other things that probably aren't very appropriate (safely of course!), we don't always tidy away toys...and so on! Nothing major - and some of these are just typical toddler behaviour! - but I'm aware this makes for a slightly chaotic lifestyle for us and could easily become bad habits as he gets older.

I'm going to start with sitting nicely for snacks/meals, but not sure what else is important or realistic at this age!

So what are yours 'non negotiable' rules for your young toddler?

ikeaismylocal Tue 03-Jun-14 19:58:35

We have a no wondering around with snacks rule, snacks and meals must be eaten in the highchair.

No climbing on the dining table, ds is a monkey child in a human child's body, he climbed onto the dining table when he was 10 months, I was very very strict and said sternly that we do NOT climb on the dining room table and he hasn't done it since.

No boobie in the bed, this rule came when we nightweened.

Ds is 17 months old.

I'm interested to see what other people's rules are!

Sleepybunny Tue 03-Jun-14 20:05:32


I have an 18m old DD and was wondering the same myself.

DD has started being silly in her highchair, purposefully throwing food when she gets bored, so I thought I'd start there.

She's not very vocal, but can sign when she's finished eating and she likes to 'clean up' when she's done. So I've tried to encourage her to 'clean up' and say she's finished and let her leave the table.

I think most of the undesirable behaviour comes when she's tired or a bit bored. So I end up trying to avoid those situations more than actually encouraging good behaviour IYKWIM.

Not sure what rules to attempt to inforce, but you are right about slipping into bad habits.

Hopefully someone will have some advice

DearGirl Tue 03-Jun-14 20:05:50

I am a nanny

We sit when we eat/drink - no wondering around with food/milk etc
We say please and thank you
We sit nicely at the table and are ignored until they behave
We help tidy up
No climbing

BertieBotts Tue 03-Jun-14 20:16:50

I don't think there's anything wrong with what you're doing. Nappy changes get phased out as you potty train, dressing them gets phased out as he learns to dress himself.

Snacks could probably be had in a set place if he's making a mess, but if it's not messy, I don't make my 5yo sit down with a snack. For a meal, yes, but that's different. No food allowed in bedrooms, though.

I don't think there's reason to ban him from anything unless there's reason to. If you only say no to something when you have a reason, they don't get spoilt, they just understand that no means there is a reason! (Well, as much as toddlers accept any "no" grin) I think it's good to let them handle stuff which isn't necessarily designed to be a toy, I have let DS use knives etc under very close supervision from quite a young age, it's meant that he has always had an understanding that knives/scissors etc can cut you and you must be careful with them. Of course they were out of his reach when unsupervised (unnecessary now, he can be trusted to leave them alone) And fragile things, as well, he understands that some things are delicate and we need to be careful with them.

Things I wish I'd enforced more when DS was younger are things which are difficult to police when they're older - I wish I'd been a bit more strict about hitting, even if it wasn't very hard or a bit half hearted. And name calling, you probably won't get this until his language is a bit better but I used to just ignore things like "You a stupid bum, mummy!" and try not to let him see me laugh - now I wish I'd given him the information very young that it isn't nice to say things like that. And the last thing is washing - I used to be pretty lax about making him have his face/hands wiped, getting him to wash his hands etc and now he moans and gripes about it, though he will do it himself. I think if I'd made it seem just a thing that you do, he'd have accepted it.

Minor issues smile Those are the things I'd be hot on, other than the obvious - safety etc.

BigPigLittlePig Tue 03-Jun-14 20:17:26

Similar here - if you're done with your food then it gets taken away and we leave the table. Hungry again? Then back to the table we go.

She is good and likes to copy us, so I try to involve her with as much as possible, eg. she will take place mats to the table, help wipe up after food, put things in the bin, help tidy up her toys. Nappy changes however. on that front I have given up as she is a force to be reckoned with - and I physically cannot pin her down and change a pooey nappy.

Gadgets are not for babies, so no matter how bored she is, she doesn't get tablet/phone. Um. Tricky.

She has just started screaming for fun envy

captainproton Tue 03-Jun-14 20:18:53

We take our shoes off when we come inside
We wash our hands before eating and after playing outside
We dont throw our food on the floor (we get a warning and then food is taken away)
We dont bash baby brother around the head with toys
We share nicely
We hold onto the banister when going up/down stairs and no messing about on the stairs
We dont snatch toys from baby brother and make him cry
We don't hit/bite/scratch
We use tissues for wiping our nose and put it in the bin
We dont climb onto the widowsill and swing from the window
We always hold mummys hand when walking and not on a rein (or is back in the double buggy or carried - hates both)
We help tidy up toys

We are trying to conquer the windowsill and sharing issues.

I may seem quite strict, but already my DD is taking shoes off when she comes in, using tissues and the bin and no longer throws food (god that was a nightmare). And is patient at letting me wash her hands, she can't reach the sink yet but she rubs the soap in herself and dries her hands without being asked. I have 2 under 2 and I honestly do not have time to run around chasing her, or screaming no at her all day. All rules are explained and I am consistent and try not shout unless she's about to clobber DS with her cars.

Honestly i think she likes the fact there are rules and boundaries i just hope it lasts throughout toddlerdom.

BigPigLittlePig Tue 03-Jun-14 20:23:54

<wonders if Captain would like 3 under 2>

<plans exotic childfree holiday>


captainproton Tue 03-Jun-14 20:24:18

oh yeah, never make a rule you're not prepared to enforce. consistency is key. Also be prepared to get told off by your toddler if you forget to take your shoes off, or dont put things back where they belong!

captainproton Tue 03-Jun-14 20:24:58

ha ha ha - i would love another one! You might not get them back smile

catkind Tue 03-Jun-14 20:34:17

I think it's best to pick your fights at that age. It's good for them to learn boundaries, but miserable if you end up spending all day saying "no" and trying to enforce it when they don't really understand the rule or the consequence.

We didn't allow hitting or throwing toys for example, or drawing on the furniture. And safety rules like holding hands if walking by a road. As far as possible we tried to enforce rules in a positive way, so "please don't throw toys, here's a ball to throw in the garden". "Not on the wall, would you like some paper?" So still 4/5 distraction, but the rule is there when they're ready to understand it.

Food was provided at the table so she'd have to be sitting up at the table to eat it. That's not so much a rule as just the way things work in our house. I'd always let them have a snack (fruit, rice cake etc) if they asked, unless it was about to be meal time.

cravingcake Tue 03-Jun-14 20:40:16

We are fairly relaxed as well 2.6yo DS and 4month old DD). Only rules we have is no hitting/kicking, no crashing push-along toys into the dogs (toy gets confiscated for day), no being silly on the stairs and DS brush teeth or mummy does it for him (9 times out of 10 he'll do it himself). And we try to remember to say please and thank you.

My only advice other than whats already been said is to only try changing one thing at a time otherwise you will exhaust yourself and very quickly slip back to old habits. So focus on eating nicely at table for a week or 2 until its normal, then move onto tidy up toys after playing as example for the next week or so.

violetlights Tue 03-Jun-14 20:47:46

I find it really hard to determine what becomes a 'rule' or not. I tried a million times to get my ds (19 months) to stop grabbing soil from a house plant and throwing it everywhere. It was just too tempting for him so I ended up getting rid of the plant.... blush

On the plus side, we taught him very early to lie still for nappy changes, to only eats meals in the highchair and to say please and thank you. (He was an early talker). But with most stuff I feel like I'm talking to a wall. Some of his friends will help their parents tidy up - I can't get him to do that... He knows he's not allowed out onto the balcony bug will break the 'rule' once in a while... The same with the road!! Eeeeek!!

I'd love to have a rule if no tv / iPad while eating - but then he won't eat....

LovelyWeatherForDucks Tue 03-Jun-14 20:48:26

Thanks for all the interesting feedback! Some interesting points and ideas....I won't worry too much about dressing/nappies and things that won't last forever. Mealtimes, tidying up and working on please/thank you are good ones to work on for now. Now his understanding and language are developing these seem manageable!

It's also made me realise we do have some good habits, shoes off at the door, holding my hand on stairs/steps, cleaning up after mealtimes, teeth brushing, and we are working on not climbing on furniture!

I save "no" for potentially dangerous situations / hurting but doesn't seem like it has much impact yet. Not having much luck with walking holding my hand / in the direction I want though.

I suppose it's also about picking your battles! Must remember the important of consistency too smile

Jaffakake Tue 03-Jun-14 20:50:26

We do

No standing on chairs. Sit on your bum or kneel instead.
Generally no wandering round with snacks/food. Sit on the blue ikea chair or blue booster chair instead.
No hitting /biting or mummy goes away.
Nappy changing mat for changes, but you can put it where you like (within reason!)
No drawing on the walls always paper instead (he got well confused when I was trying to get him to draw on fabric yesterday)
Be gentle with the cat.

I find that to instill 'no, but do this' works best. Giving options as to what to do works well with my toddler. It keeps it all positive.

BertieBotts Tue 03-Jun-14 20:53:34

YY to "Not that, but this". Much more effective than "Don't X!"

captainproton Tue 03-Jun-14 21:12:55

I must say all my rules weren't achieved in one day. I must have started from before she was one, so most of it is habit now for them. For instance, as soon as she was walking, we only wore shoes outside and I would explain why and that each time I took her shoes off and showed her where they lived. So I suppose she never knew any different. Same as hand washing, and putting toys away. I/we always put things away before playing with something else. I would explain why I was doing it and I had no idea if she understood or not, and then she went from putting up resistance, to letting me do these things and getting her to help, to her now doing some of these things herself.

BertieBotts Tue 03-Jun-14 21:19:15

They're definitely good things to get ingrained smile I can't remember what rules we had in place (which weren't really "rules" as such but just the way that we did things) I just wanted to mention the things that didn't occur to me or seem obvious at the time!

MrsCripps Tue 03-Jun-14 21:21:24

I agree totally with captain
Mine are older but because we taught them how to behave when they were little - I very rarely had to say no.
They just thought it was normal to wash hands before eating and DS still sits at the table to eat anything - even an apple grin

Coveredinweetabix Tue 03-Jun-14 21:38:51

No running in a car park
If you shout at, hit or bite mummy, it is straight into time out
Never hit or push your younger brother, whatever he is doing to you, just shout for an adult
Only open the door for mummy, daddy, a grandparent or if there is a police car, fire engine or ambulance outside with flashing lights.

Keep the real rules to the minimum as you have to be consistent & enforce them properly every time.

Other things like shoes off, sitting down for snacks, tidying toys etc are just good habits IMO and there are times when, for various reasons, you can't or don't want to enforce them.

minipie Tue 03-Jun-14 22:03:04

yy again to "no, do this instead"

we have:

no hitting, be gentle (she is going through a hitting phase hmm)
sit down for eating
teeth will be brushed whether you agree or not
walking along the pavement means hold hands or reins, or you go in buggy
if you throw food again it means you're finished eating
say please and thank you

I've stopped using the tablet in front of her - so not exactly a rule, more an avoidance of having to say no.

TwelveLeggedWalk Tue 03-Jun-14 22:12:02

2.5yo twins here, seem to spend my life reiterating rules, not sure how much I'm listened to but can't let a lot of it go: no playing with doors (one either side = slammed fingers...), no pushing on stairs or slides, no snatching, no attempting drownings, share nicely... I'm hoping it will all pay off in a few years time!

Non twin related rules are probably sitting down for food (choking risk); holding hands near cars; no throwing plates, cutlery or food; only throw balls. Working on wear your sunhat!

bronya Tue 03-Jun-14 22:17:56

- No hitting.
- No poking in the face (me or the dog!).
- No cuddling the dog (who is smaller than him and gets scared), stroke gently only.
- No throwing at people.
- No throwing anything large/heavy/hard (his indoor ball is allowed, soft toys are allowed, and I don't mind throwing the stuff back into the toy box, as I do that!).
- No pudding if you don't eat enough main course.
- Ask if you're hungry/thirsty, don't just cry.
- Eat dinner at the table (he has a small toddler table and chairs).
- Hold hands when asked to outside, and keep with me/DH if walking solo.
- You may only pick up things in shops if I/DH tell you to get it!
- Don't touch the litter tray.
- Each book will only be read once a day, so if you want to be read to more, get a different one!
- If you drop it, pick it up!

gamescompendium Tue 03-Jun-14 22:23:16

DC3 is 20 months old. We don't allow violence (hitting, biting, hair pulling, scratching) and will removing him from the situation if that happens. Otherwise we're fairly lax. They have no self control at this stage so there is no point having lots of rules they can't keep, redirection is the best solution to prevent undesirable attention at this age.

WineyQuiney Tue 03-Jun-14 22:30:55

Once something goes into the bin, it must not come back out.
Fingernail cutting is a serious task.
Not allowed to go to nursery with jammies on/dirty face/no shoes! (Dd tries one of these most mornings.)
Working on "please" and "thank you" with my 22mo, but not quite there yet.

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