Family Rules

I’ve been on a bit of an organizing and (re) decoration kick lately, in anticipation of the upcoming holidays and the possibility that someone I’m not related to might visit my house. We live in a typical east-end semi detached house: not huge, but with long hallways just begging to be covered in photos or art.  I’ve been perusing my local Home Sense on a regular basis, looking for cheap and cheerful prints. One trend that I’ve spotted, which I’m sure is just about played out, is those “Family Rules” prints that seem to be everywhere. You’ve probably seen them too: usually printed subway roll style, they list those rules that every family has whether they declare them on canvas or not. Here’s one from the Etsy store Chestnut and Lime:

Cute, right? The best part of these, of course, is that when someone’s not being patient, grateful or forgiving (for example), your kids can just point to the sign and say “Mom, you have to forgive us! It’s the rules!” and there won’t be a darn thing you can do about it.

I keep thinking, though, that I really would need one that outlines OUR rules. I mean, my kids know all about sharing (that’s why they went to daycare) and doing their best (about which I reminded Second Child about eight times between 4:33 pm and 4: 57 pm yesterday). I need a sign that repeats the most frequently repeated rules in our house:

Dirty dishes go in the dishwasher

You don’t need it, you want it. There’s a difference.

The sour gummies belong to Mom

Flush the toilet. PLEASE!

Soap and water are good things. Especially when you use them on your hands (see rule #4)

Socks do NOT live in the Living Room.

Yes, you can always have more broccoli

Snuggling is not optional

And the most important rule?

Love each other. That’s all that matters.


They’re here….

…and you’ve probably run across one or two already. Maybe your child’s an early adopter.

Curled around your child’s wrist, pale twisted strands of silicone.

Gnarled balls of plastic buried deep inside a jeans pocket, or worse, sitting limply at the bottom of the washing machine.

Rubbery worms that you inevitably find with your bare feet in the dark.

They’re everywhere.

Silly Bandz.

Silly Bandz, if you don’t yet know, are the latest schoolyard “gotta have it” trend. Small shapes made out of silicone, they’re meant to be worn as bracelets. They’re cheap (ish; if you buy the real ones, cheaper if your kids convince you to drop a couple of loonies at a dollar store), and they seem to be on the minds and wrists of every kid I know under the age of 12. I’m sure some shapes are more popular than others — some being special editions or released only as promotional items, as I understand — but I haven’t yet seen a child turn up his or her nose when offered one.

I first read about these things about a year ago on a parenting website I frequent. They’d been popular in several areas of the United States for a while by that point. So much so that, like so many trends before them, they’d been banned from school premises in many cities. I’d never heard of them. My seven-year old had never heard of them either.

And then I found a silicone horse on the side of the bathroom sink.

Since then, the boys have acquired, through gifts, trades, and their own pocketbooks, a sizable collection of them. I haven’t yet purchased any for them, although I’ve bought some packages as birthday gifts.1 I’m trying my hardest to be underwhelmed by this particular trend – they’re not particularly useful objects, they look kinda funny all twisted around your wrist, and the real ones are still five or six dollars for a package of 24, which when you think of the cost of production, really makes you wish you’d come up with this idea first.

But then I remember what I was collecting when I wasn’t much older, and I can hardly complain:



1Ok, full disclosure: While I was buying several packs for birthday gifts, I did buy a package of Toy Story ones for Sebastian, as a reward for meeting his reading minutes target in the first two weeks of school. And I couldn’t help it because they were pretty cute.