Having a set of boundaries and limits in the home provide young children with a sense of safety. Young children may not voice this but they actually crave expectations and stability. Understanding how to create age appropriate boundaries will help you to be successful with following through with them. First, children who feel loved and valued are more likely to accept corrections. I know it is hard with busy schedules and multiple children in the same house but carving out one on one time with be very beneficial to being successful with setting boundaries and limits. Setting boundaries and limits help preschool age children to practice self-control. Children this age are egocentric so this can be challenging but understanding that we do not always get what we want when we want it can be difficult for young children. Sometimes we have to say no to children but try giving an explanation. For example, If you child asks to go to the park today but it is raining; instead of simply responding with “no”, you might say “ we cannot go to the park today because it is raining but we can go another time when it is not raining.” Keep in mind that you want to be able to follow through with your response so avoid responding with unrealistic outcomes.
Keep in mind when setting boundaries or limits at home that you must be clear and consistent. Young children do not always do well with abrupt change so giving warning before something happens is very helpful. If you have to leave for school, a doctor’s appointment, or just to run errands give you child a warning. “In two minutes we have to stop and go to school.” this allows your child processing time. Using a timer for this is great. That way you do not forget and it gives the child a signal that it is time to stop. Once the two minutes are up or the timer goes off simply say “ Two minutes are up, it is time to go. We can play when we come home.” Keeping things simple and positive will have you in a consistent routine with boundaries in no time! For more information on how to set boundaries or limits at home visit the websites below.