The Golden Rules for Children – Helping to Keep Life Simple!

One of the many lovely aspects of my work is that I meet very inspiring people who care for, and help motivate, young children in nurseries and other settings at a very special time in their lives. However, it is also the parents, carers and key people at home in their lives who share the responsibility for ensuring young children have every opportunity to develop good habits, safe boundaries and have lots of fun while learning to navigate their world. For this reason I have created the Golden Rules.

“When my children were little, boundaries were always a problem. My partner and I thought differently about where the boundaries were, I’m not sure how much of the time my children knew where they were, and I was too tired to think it through or explain! I often quietly prayed for a set of rules – but never knew where to start in finding them! Then I found Jenny Mosley’s Golden Rules for young children. They are perfect for the home and for nurseries. In fact when we all have the same rules, it’s amazing how much easier it is for children to accept and understand them. So now I share these with all my friends, especially those with younger children so they don’t have to wonder where to draw the line!” From a busy Mum

Golden RulesThe Golden Rules are a set of agreements that guide our behaviour towards others. They teach children moral values and, importantly, for children to believe in them and make them their own they need all the adults around them to keep to them too!  Each Golden Rule teaches children respect…

  • We Are Gentle – (ie respect for physical safety)
  • We Are Kind – (ie respect for people’s feelings)
  • We Try Hard – (ie respect for ourselves – when they get slightly older we write ‘We Work Hard’)
  • We Are Honest – (ie respect for the truth)
  • We Look After Things (ie respect for the environment)
  • We Listen (ie respect for other people’s views)

Some parents and teachers focus totally on the positive behaviour… others like to write the Golden Rules Better Behaviourunwanted behaviour next to the positive behaviour e.g.

  • We Are Gentle – We Don’t Hurt Anyone
  • We’re Kind – We Don’t Hurt People’s Feelings
  • We Work Hard – We Don’t Waste Ours Or Other People’s Time
  • We Are Honest – We Don’t Cover Up The Truth
  • We Look After Things – We Don’t Waste Or Damage Them
  • We Listen – We Don’t Interrupt



Anything we want children to learn should never be preached about – they need to learn through developing empathy, through the example of people around them and through fun. For young children to catch on to new ideas, there’s nothing like engaging activities, interesting characters and stories to bring ideas like the Golden Rules to life – children learn so much better when actively engaged. For this reason I wrote “Jenny Mosley’s Small Books of The Golden Rules in Action”.

However, so that the youngest children can access these, to start at the beginning, we have what we call, ‘The Golden Rules Box SetToddler Box Set’. It is a fantastically bright and inspiring little board book set that spells out the Golden Rules so that even the very youngest speakers can access them. There is a set of finger puppets that help to bring the stories alive and bring lots of fun into learning about the rules.

We loved working with the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) to design this box set with very clear set of safe boundaries that work equally well at home and in early years settings. Actually having the same rules for both key areas of a child’s life helps with continuity and understanding which can only be a good thing! The Golden Rules Box Set for very young children – has six little books in each set, each with a short, accessible story to help embed one of the rules. The books are colourful and feature animal characters that the children love.

Golden Rules Toddler PosterWhen parents know exactly what the Golden Rules are, and both the parents and the nursery school teachers speak the same language. In other words all the adults in that child’s life will praise them for making a good choice by being kind, gentle, honest, listening, looking after things and trying hard… equally they may ask a young child if they know what Golden Rule they’re breaking now and how can they put it right.

Here is a case study from an early years setting…

As a starting point the staff in our three preschool rooms use the Golden Rules box set at whole group circle times. The books lead on really well from our Feelings board that we talk about every morning. They help support our Room rules, particularly with the younger children who have just moved into the room. The children absolutely love the books. They can relate to the characters and will often ask to sit quietly and read them alone or with a friend. The children find the finger puppets a lovely resource- or as one staff member said,”They are really interactive-the children feel they are part of it” ( when using the puppets). The puppets come alive when used for ‘reading’ stories to the children (instead of the teacher). The puppets and stories really promote language. The children have the opportunity to either ‘read’ the book back to their friends, or make up their own stories. The staff have been able to get some great ‘wow moment’ Communication and Language observations as well as PSED. As the children chat, their ideas ‘spark from each other’. The creativity of their stories grow and grow.” Advantage Day Nursery.

If we want to help children it’s vital we are all consistent and clear in the words we use “Wow you are really being kind by sharing your Lego box with your sister” or “Do you know what Golden Rule you’re breaking when you snatch the toy away” – you broke the Golden Rule ‘We Are Kind’.

We all know that adults only have the energy to be positive if they look after themselves. So, while we have Golden Rules for our children and home, why not have Golden Rules for our adult selves – to help bring balance, perspective and positivity into my life. 


  • I should give myself the same care and attention as I give others.
  • I am not an endless resource for others, I must stock up on
  • reserves and not get too drained. I deserve some relaxation and/or fun every day.
  • I have needs which may be different from my family’s, my friends or my colleagues.
  • I do not have to say ‘yes’ to all requests – or feel guilty if I say ‘no’.
  • The ‘perfect’ parent, partner, child or career person does not exist the ‘good-enough’ one does!
  • I have the right to be treated with respect as a worthwhile, intelligent and competent person.
  • I do not have to have everyone’s approval all the time to know that
  • I am trying my hardest.
  • Time for unwinding is time very well spent. I will find time to be creative and follow my interests regularly.
  • Making mistakes is not a disaster – I can learn from these and it allows others to as well.
  • I must be fair to myself and remember that, at all times especially in the face of criticism, anxiety and difficulties, I AM DOING THE BEST THAT I CAN!

Order the Golden Rules books and posters here.



Website Manager’s Notes:

  1. To see our Early Years resources please go to:
  2. See all Jenny’s Golden Rules resources.
  3. The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and Jenny Mosley have worked closely together, Jenny has contributed to their conferences and they have collaborated to produce Early Years resources.
  4.  Jenny Mosley runs successful and transformative positive behaviour for learning, circle time and social skills, fun, and lunchtimes and playtimes training –Click here to see all forthcoming public conferencesthat anyone can attend.
  5. For all training enquiries – better behaviour for learning, improved social and communication skills, circle times, working with parents as partners and more, phone 01225 767157 or email
  6. Resources to support all Jenny’s training are available on our website 
  7. See some other blogs within this theme here:

Golden Rules for a golden nursery – case study notes – what works well.


Japan 2018

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