Rules can make family life more peaceful. Children and teens may pretend not to like them, but effective rules can help them feel safe and learn what's expected of them. Rules also help youngsters develop their character as they absorb the importance of good judgement, consideration for others, and self-discipline. Establish sensible rules now and they'll quickly become good habits.
For sharing: One splits, the other picks
This is effective when two children want something that can be divided - usually food. One child splits a piece of cake and the other gets first dibs, which encourages the splitter to be fair.
For bedtime: the 'final countdown'
Avoid arguments by giving your child advance warning that bedtime is approaching, so they can wind down from whatever they're doing. Count down from 10 minutes to five, to one, then end the activity before tucking them up and turning out the lights.
For homework: The homework sandwich
Your child is allowed to enjoy a fun activity, 15 minutes of telly, or video gaming, either side of their homework. Making homework part of a routine motivates a child more effectively than any threats.
For arguments: You get what you get and you don't get upset
This mantra can be repeated to your children until it becomes family lore. It's a fun and rhythmic variation on 'life isn't fair'.
Granted, following rules isn't easy as writing them down, but even trying to master just one of the rules above can help to make family life a bit less hectic.
Even if you don't manage to strictly follow any of the rules above, an attempt at a more structured way of living makes the fun times even more valuable.