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When families live in separate households, parenting with consistency can be a challenge. ​Creating this "contract" can help your kids know where they stand.

Read through the suggestions below and then choose which ones best fit your family situation. Once you’ve selected the statements you like, click on the "Build and Print Agreement" button to go to your customized agreement, which you can print and have everyone sign. When you’re done, put the agreement on the fridge or message board as a reminder to everyone about what’s expected of them!

Here are some ideas for rules you can include in your agreement:

For Children

  • Weekend and summer bedtimes can be later than those you set for weeknights during the school year, but kids shouldn’t be up until midnight staring blankly at a computer or TV screen. This is a good way to teach and have kids practice the skill of following instructions. It also keeps them in the habit of having a regular bedtime so you don’t have to start from scratch setting bedtimes when school starts in the fall.

  • Hectic schedules don’t always allow families to regularly gather for meals. That’s why having a rule like this is so important. It lets everyone in your family know that eating dinner together is important and provides a time when you and your kids can share news and “re-connect” when your busy schedules keep you apart.

  • Your kids might already have a chore list, but there are always plenty of other little jobs for them to do around the house. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about responsibility and work ethic. Chores can include having kids make their bed every morning, putting dirty clothes in the laundry, helping keep the house clean (dusting and vacuuming) and helping with yard work.

  • Teaching your kids the positive behaviors you expect ahead of time goes a long way toward heading off problems when you do get to the store. Let your kids help with the shopping, and use the experience to teach them how to compare prices, look for healthy food and how to appropriately ask for something they want.

  • Teaching your kids the skill of reporting their whereabouts is a good way to keep them safe, while allowing you to monitor their activities and keep your stress level down.

  • This is the key, basic skill most parents want to see their children master. When your child can consistently follow your instructions, family life in general will be much smoother.

  • This is another big skill parents want their kids to use. Children who understand they can’t always get what they want aren’t as demanding and are less likely to get into power struggles with their parents.




Build and print Agreement

For Parents

  • In addition to eating dinner together, family meetings are another great time for everyone to catch up with each other and share what's happening. You also can use family meetings to add new rules to your “agreement” or make changes in the rules you already have in place. Everyone should get a chance to talk or voice an opinion during a family meeting, and it’s a good time to do teaching on the skills of having a conversation, taking turns and showing respect for others.

  • This is a good rule to include when you have younger children. Reading to your kids is a great way to share quiet time, talk about the meaning of a story and the characters, teach your kids new words and help them settle down for bed.

  • You can play at a nearby park, ride the bike trail, visit the city swimming pool, go to or rent a movie or just take a walk. The activity doesn't have to be extravagant or cost a lot of money; it's just a time for the family to be together and have fun.




Build and print Agreement

More Information


To learn more about maintaining normalcy for your children during and after a divorce, or for information on specific problems, contact the Boys Town National Hotline® at 1-800-448-3000 or email us. Trained counselors will listen to your situation, answer your questions and offer helpful advice.