(Excerpt from the Moms on Call Toddler Book)

Often in our households, we have so many rules that the toddler cannot remember and categorize them all.

  • Don’t touch the stove.
  • Don’t disturb anyone when they are on the phone.
  • Don’t run into the road.
  • Don’t throw your toys.
  • Don’t pee in the Home Depot parking lot.
  • (And just for parents of boys like ours) Don’t hit your own self in your own head with your own foot! (Long car ride—enough said.)

There are just too many rules. We can keep track, but they cannot. They are just trying to sort out a few colors and put together a sentence! So we want to narrow the list to three rules that they can understand and those are:

  • Obey Daddy and Mommy
  • Do not hurt yourself
  • Do not hurt others

This is simple and all of the other rules can fit into one of these categories. The time that we place this in the heart of our child is right before bed or what we like to call “between awake and asleep.”

We like to say it like this:

“We have three rules in this house and they are: Obey Daddy and Mommy, do not hurt yourself and do not hurt others because we are Walkers and Walkers are good to people.”

Insert your own name into that scenario and choose a character trait that defines your family. Go over these rules each night, right before bed. This is not the time to go over the history of good behavior, just the three household rules, short and simple.  And before you know it, you have placed a sense of security and order in the heart of your toddler.

See the Moms on Call Toddler Book for the rest of the basic boundary stones that provide a structure where toddlers can be free to explore, adapt and thrive.