Families come in all shapes and sizes. And this is great. It takes allsorts to make our crazy world go round. But it means all households operate differently, and with children, they must operate effectively and of course, happily.

I realise your home is not a military training camp, but lots of reasonable and age appropriate rules are a good thing. And you know what? Children love rules (although they will never admit it). They thrive within boundaries as they provide freedom, safety and peace of mind.

In single parent households, this is particularly true. Often children live between homes. Each with different rules. This makes it even more important to make them clear and consistent. With just one parent, who is possibly outnumbered, we need structure and support from our children to get through the day.

Here are 10 rules that make the world go round in our happy home.

1- Your bedroom is your castle

Respect the space we share in our home. Keep it tidy and clean. But do what you wish with your own bedroom. It is your space. Live in it as you choose. However, I may need to close the door when we have guests.

2- A drawer with your name on it

Bring your games and toys into the living room, but clear them away after. You have been allocated a drawer/cupboard/box which is all yours, so if you can’t be bothered to take it to your room, hide it in there to keep mum happy. (It doesn’t actually have a name on it).

3- No go food areas

Don’t, and I mean DON’T take food out of the kitchen/dining area. We never know where it will be found months later. I discovered I was lying on a pear core the other night. Food stays strictly in ‘food areas’. No exceptions.

4- Work as a team

If mums asks for help, then help. Remember everyone who lives here is part of a team. We pull together and help one another every day. Help that is offered is even better and you may find yourself with an extra-large helping of chocolate pudding at dinner.

5- Work hard, play hard

You may as well learn this now. If you work hard, you can play hard too. So if you have homework DO IT, and then we can go to the park. If you do well at school expect a special treat. Hard work = reward. Now and when you are an adult.

6- The washing deal

Washing is a never-ending task. It takes a time. Put your clothes in the wash THE RIGHT WAY ROUND. If you do this, I will wash, dry and fold them and even put them away. If you don’t do your part, you can do the rest yourself (the lesson of consequence).

7- Eat what you are given

I do not have time to prepare different food for different people. And if you suddenly decide you no longer like fish. Tough. A second choice will not appear (and neither will dessert). I take pride in cooking what you like, so EAT IT.

8- Mum’s me-time

Mum is human. This means she needs a break every now and then. Respect this. Give her time alone to do something she likes i.e. sleep. And don’t worry, you will benefit. Allowing mum some me-time will make her more energised and on-form to look after you.

9- Lose it, pay for it

Look after your stuff. School uniform, toys, iPads. It’s as simple as this: If you lose them, you pay to replace them. This single mama is not made of money. And I have a feeling you may look after them better with this rule in place. Basically, respect your stuff.

10- Love on tap

There is plenty of love in this house, even though mum may seem tired and stressed, she always loves you. Cuddles cost nothing. They are gratefully received and given regularly. Anytime is a cuddle time, so swing by whenever you’re in need.


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