Some of these house rules were intentional, and some just came to be out of habit and it works for my family.
1. Food stays in the kitchen.
This rule came about when I started finding bits of cheese slices on the bookshelf in the office. Now I avoid finding bits of food anywhere but the kitchen table and floor (most of the time).
2. Shoes (& socks) off in the foyer when you walk in.
My wooden and linoleum floors are a little slippery, so my girls are barefoot no matter the time of year. Shoes and socks off when you’re indoors is so engrained in my kids it’s become a de facto rule. It’s also transferrable because they will take shoes and socks off anyone’s house. Actually, they ask to take their shoes and socks off in any carpeted space (like synagogue or the local library branch).
3. Save the last morsel of food.
I think I had a depression era past life because I will save the tiniest bit of food to be used later. Stale bread will get frozen and become breadcrumbs or stuffing. Half a bowl of oatmeal will be dumped back into the larger container of cooked oatmeal in the fridge. Is there tomato sauce left at the bottom of the bowl without meatballs or spaghetti to keep it company? Not to worry, it will find a new life in lasagna or sopped up with a slice of bread as a snack later. Do not throw away food!
4. We NEVER wake the kids up.
My children still nap. I nap on the weekends too. I have “old country” views about sleep. Sleep is when you recharge, process new things you learned, and kids grow when sleeping (pretty sure there’s research to support all of this now). Unless we have an ill-planned doctor’s appointment, my most important house rule is we NEVER wake up the kids.
“Oh, you’ll wake the kids up to go out to eat?” No.
“You’ll wake the kids up so we can go to a birthday party?” No.
“You’ll wake the kids up so they’ll sleep better at night?” BIG FAT NO.
Do you see a pattern here? My children can easily take a 3-4 hour nap and still go to bed at their usual time less than two hours later. Don’t ask me about waking them up because it ain’t happening.
5. We are not germaphobes.
The #1 way to reduce infection is washing your hands. It’s a stretch to say this is a house rule, but I have never turned down a play date or visit if the other kid is sick. I’ll kindly call moms if my kids are sick because I know this isn’t the norm, but I am never the driving force for a cancellation due to illness. I expect colds will happen and kids are most contagious before you see the telltale runny nose, cough and sneeze. Let’s just get together and we’ll all wash our hands.