5 Easy Ways to Set Boundaries with Kids
When it comes to setting boundaries with kids, it can be hard to know where to draw the line. We have several parenting strategies to help not only set boundaries but maintain them.
Even in the earliest stages of parenthood we learn that children love to push boundaries. Let me tell you they continue to push them right through their teenage years.
Pushing boundaries is actually a sign your children are learning to be more independent, which is a good thing.
It’s your job as the parent to help them navigate the world within the limits you set together.
Boundaries will change as children get older, so it’s important to be flexible and remind them why boundaries are important.
These parenting strategies will help you set boundaries with kids.
Why Do We Need Boundaries With Kids?
No matter how many times they fight against them, kids need boundaries and limits in order to feel secure.
Children are wired for structure and routine. It has been shown that when we let them operate without any limits, it leads to feeling unsafe and insecure.
So what does establishing boundaries with kids actually look like?
Whether you realize it or not, you likely already have established boundaries in your home. These would include a set bedtime for your kids and rules around technology usage.
Boundaries are our way of teaching kids what is safe and permissible.
Some will change as kids get older, while others may always stay the same.
Without limits our kids would start to believe they were the ones in charge.
This could be damaging to their health and self-esteem and why boundaries with kids are important.
Parenting Strategies for Setting Boundaries With Kids
If you’ve never sat down with your kids or significant other to have a conversation about boundaries, it’s never too late to do so. But where do you start?
Before you have a conversation with your kids, it’s important that you and your partner are on the same page.
Here are 5 parenting strategies for setting boundaries with kids.
Set Clear Rules and Limits
When you’re setting boundaries with kids, it’s important to be clear about what you expect.
Your children can’t read your mind so be clear and don’t assume they know what you mean.
Explain what you are trying to say to your child in plain language.
For example, you might say to your child “When Mommy and Daddy are talking, say ‘excuse me’ and don’t just interrupt.”
If you’re unsure your child understands, ask them to repeat it back or explain it to you when you’re finished.
Be Honest To Set Boundaries With Kids
Our kids learn so many lessons from us when we’re willing to be honest.
Use real-life examples to help them understand the importance of the boundary.
If you’re honest with them about times you over-stepped a boundary, they will be honest with you and themselves.
Let them know the consequence you faced so that they can learn from you.
Great parenting strategies will allow kids to see you as human too and know you are not perfect.
The truth is kids aren’t the only ones with boundaries. Show them that adults have rules to abide by too.
Keep it Age Appropriate
If you’re trying to explain healthy boundaries with your two-year-old keep it simple.
Don’t expect them to remember everything the first time or be able to sit still for a long talk. Keep it short, simple, and age appropriate.
You will be able to have a longer conversation about what is expected with your pre-teen or teenager.
When setting boundaries with kids make sure that the expectation and wording suit your child’s age.
Don’t get frustrated when you have to repeat yourself.
Over time they’ll learn what your expectations are, even if right now you’re only building the foundation.
Be Consistent When Setting Boundaries With Kids
One of the most important things you can do when setting boundaries with kids is to be consistent.
If you set a rule for no candy before dinner, don’t enforce it one day but ignore it the next.
Setting clear rules and sticking to them is the one of the best parenting strategies we know.
There will always be exceptions to the rules. Often you will be more laid back when on vacation or for special occasions.
However, if there is a change or exception be sure to communicate it clearly to your kids.
They need to understand the boundary is still appropriate and this is an exception.
Teach Them To Be Clear and Kind
An art to setting boundaries with kids is to know they are not always going to agree with you, or you them.
What’s important is they communicate their feelings and disagree in a polite and respectful manner.
If your kids are willing to have open discussions about the boundaries you’ve set, then you’re on the right track.
Be sure to let them know which boundaries are non-negotiable. These include wearing a seatbelt in the car or always letting your parents know where you are.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have a discussion about these boundaries, but make sure you are clear on why they are non-negotiable.
Best parenting strategies allow your child to voice their opinion without emotions getting in the way – yours and theirs.
Whether you’re a parent of toddlers or teens one of our best parenting strategies is to start setting boundaries with kids.
Ensure to be patient with yourself and your kids as you navigate this path together.
Remember, you don’t need to be perfect you just need to be consistent. Just keep showing up to have honest and kind conversations with your kids.
We can honestly tell you that one day they will appreciate all the boundaries you established to help keep them safe.
If you’re just getting started on this journey, we hope these parenting strategies help to point you in the right direction.
Famous Parenting has many more articles on great parenting ideas.
Amy Williams is an English teacher and freelance writer who is passionate about helping others find joy on their journey through motherhood. She is the mama of a beautiful two year old daughter and the step-mama of an incredible eight year old boy. When she isn’t chasing after her little girl, she loves drinking coffee, baking, and getting lost in a good book