DIY Family Rules

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Durbin

Hello 2016! I hope you had a wonderfully relaxing holiday season. Mine was filled with loads of family time, cooking, shopping, cleaning, crafting and maybe a little binge watching of my new favorite TV shows.

I am not usually one for New Year's resolutions, I like to sprinkle in resolutions throughout the year. One thing I am a fan of is starting off the year with a clean slate and clear expectations. This is where you can really see my work life creeping into our home. At the same time, I am finishing performance reviews at work, I am thinking about how we as parents can continue to develop and encourage our boys. Like many of you, we have found (through lot of trial and error…) that setting expectations with our boys is extremely effective. And what is even more effective than setting expectations? Creating those expectations with the boys.

Over the years, I have seen a lot of very cute and very creative "Family Rules" that I almost purchased except there was always a statement or two that didn’t apply to our family, or a few that were missing. So, I decided we would make our own, and boy, did we have fun!

How to Make DIY Family Rules


Proposed Family Rules printed on strips of paper

Blank paper for writing new "Family Rules"

Picture frame


  1. Make a list of your proposed "Family Rules"
    1. I found it easiest to print the list in three columns on a piece of paper, widely spaced, and cut out each word.
  2. Prepare scrap paper for the new "Family Rules" you come up with during the process.
  3. Gather the kids around the table to talk about why family rules are important and how each family is unique so you will be creating your very own unique family rules.
  4. Talk through each of the proposed "Family Rules," making piles of your favorites, "maybes" and "not applicable."
    1. The most interesting pile for us was the "maybe" pile because it generated the most conversation. It was also adorable to listen to all the examples the boys came up with for each rule.
  5. Brainstorm other "Family Rules" ideas. It is particularly sweet to watch the kids write the new rules themselves.
    1. My favorite new rule was when my youngest, then 4, shouted “Turning off the lights! Mama, we need a rule about turning off the lights when you leave your room and not leaving the water on!” And then our ‘Be Green’ rule was born. 🙂
  6. Make your final decision about which "Family Rules" are most important to everyone and have a discussion about why every rule is important to each member of the family.
  7. Get creative! You can keep your "Family Rules" as simple or ornate as you like. I used nothing more than different font in text boxes in a Word document. Once complete, I converted the document to a JPEG and uploaded it to my favorite photo site to be printed as an 11 inch x 17 inch photo. If you would like to keep it simple, you can print your family rules at home.
  8. When your print is ready, frame it and hang it on the wall for everyone to see.

Don’t forget, this project is only as complicated as you make it. We honestly had a blast going through this process, and the conversations were priceless.

One of the most valuable parts of this family craft was the opportunity to talk about family rules and being accountable to each other and ourselves. My boys were just 4 and 6 years old at the time so the conversation about having good behavior and always being kind was heartwarming.

Does that mean we’ve never had a rule or two broken? No, of course not, we are all human. But it does give us something to point to when we are having a conversation about why a certain behavior was unacceptable.

So set aside some family time, an hour after dinner will do, and create your own "Family Rules!" If you would like a jump-start on your project, feel free to copy our rules. 🙂

Watch Jennifer talk about this craft in this video.


Happy crafting!

Until next time,


aka Chick #1