1. Make writing materials available. Keep an easel with chart paper, or a pad of paper, and markers handy to encourage children to participate in writing and/or drawing the rules.

  2. Appeal to learning styles. Reach out to all learners through various ways of communicating rules. Read them the rules (auditory), invite children to write and draw them (tactile), and look at the words and pictures they have created together (visual).

  3. Offer reasons for rules. Be supportive and help children come up with the appropriate words as they create and write their rules. Help them understand that certain rules help keep them healthy (hand washing before snack) or safe (no sand throwing).

  4. Keep it short! Because children need to remember the rules, keep them short, meaningful, and logical-"Water stays in the tub." Instead of initially creating a long list of rules, make up additional rules only as they become necessary. And remember, the rules for last year's class may not apply to the current group.

  5. Be very clear. Everyone should be able to understand and easily follow the rules. Although toddlers and preschoolers are inclined to want to bend them, rules need to be particularly clear for kindergartners, who tend to have a strong sense of fairness.

  6. Brainstorm! As problems arise, ask children to look at possible solutions, and vote to create and try out a new rule. Revisit the rules from time to time. Do the children still need them? Have they mastered the issue? Does a rule need a revision? If a child is forgetting a rule, provide a "rule buddy" to work with him.

  7. Acknowledge children's feelings. As you discuss situations, try creating rules together. For instance, you could say, "Joy, I know you want to play with that toy, but it is Emma's. What rule might be helpful here?"

  8. Frame rules in positive ways. Instead of saying, "Do not run inside," say, "Walk inside." Be respectful of children's behaviors and abilities. Assume they will do something (throw away their cups at snack time) before you create a lot of rules about tasks.

  9. Plan ahead. Creating rules helps young children develop a feeling of continuity so they are able to count on "what happens next." Following the rules they have created also gives children a sense of order as they make transitions.

  10. Create rules for parents, too. Have them share in some of the responsibility for such things as signing in and out of the classroom and returning library books so that others can enjoy them, too, and encourage children to be a part of this process.