Setting limits for kids is no walk in the park. It is akin to walking a tight rope. You set boundaries and feel the resistance. You might lose your balance for a moment but in the end setting boundaries wins over the fall. Montessori embraces preparing the environment then giving the child liberty within wide parameters. This concept extends beyond the classroom, generally into the realms of life.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Kids
Parents need to approach their home in a similar way. By knowing your child particularly through observation, their needs will become clear to you. This understanding lends itself to being a gentle, kind leader who sets boundaries not through dictating but through facilitation. Of course, respecting the child is the foundation of all this limit setting. Positive communication and helping kids resolve conflict all comes within these parameters.
Useful Positive Phrases in Setting Boundaries
- “Please speak quietly to keep the room peaceful.”
- “Please walk softly to keep the room peaceful.”
- “Jack would like to do this work alone right now. Maybe he will invite you to join him in doing this work at a later time.”
- “If you are having trouble working together, put the materials away and choose something else to do.”
- “Would you like to be by yourself right now, or would you like company?”
“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.” ~ Brene Brown
Useful Techniques in Setting Boundaries
- Walk across the room to speak to a child.
- Speak directly, privately, and softly to a child.
- Kneel or stoop down when speaking to a child.
- (My Favorite One) Don't give a child a choice when you care about which choice he makes. If you won't accept “No” for an answer from a child, then be direct instead of asking “Would you like to…” or “Tell me more about…”
- One verbal instruction to a child at a time, especially with toddlers
- Pause. You can isolate motions with pauses to emphasize a particular sequence.
I hope you found this post helpful to you in your home or classroom. Have you read my most popular post: “10 Ways to Improve Communication with Your Toddler & Preschooler“? Let me know what you think!