Setting Boundaries with Toddlers
Setting boundaries is one of the most important things a parent can do for their child. It teaches them how to respect themselves and others. There are different ways to set boundaries based on the child's age, but the goal is always the same:  to keep them safe while allowing them to explore and learn.

Setting boundaries with toddlers and young children can be tricky, but it's important to do so in a way that is clear and concise. Toddlers and young kids need to be given simple rules that they can understand, and parents need to be firm in enforcing them.  It's also important to be consistent with boundaries, so that children know what to expect.

When my son was a toddler he, like most kids, went through a phase of throwing things.  Not because he was being ornery, but because it was a new skill and he was learning about cause & effect (if I throw this, _____ happens.  ie: a)The cup hits the floor and splashes milk.  b) Mom jumps up and gives me attention. c) I move my arm and let go and this thing starts in one place and lands in another).  

Now, to allow him to explore this new skill while not destroying the house, we provided appropriate items and times to throw.  A soft plushie on the floor.  A ball outside.  etc.  And when he'd throw something "not approved" we'd redirect him calmly - if you want to throw something, here, throw this, or let's go outside and throw the ball, along with an explanation of why "the cup makes a mess, this could break something, etc".  He learned there are certain items you can throw, and certain items you cannot throw without getting into trouble.  

We had to be consistent and catch him each time.  And in the beginning, it was tedious, watching him like a hawk.  But as time went on, he caught on and we were able to back off a bit.  Now, as a teenager, he doesn't throw his water cup anymore, or the game controller, or anything else that he's not supposed to.

Some common issues parents have when setting boundaries with their kids include:

-Toddlers not listening or following rules
-Parents feeling guilty or overwhelmed about setting limits

However, these issues can be resolved by following these tips:

-Be consistent with rules and enforce them consistently 
-Keep explanations simple and straightforward 
-Make sure boundaries are age-appropriate 
-Take a calm, positive approach when enforcing rules 
-Don't give in to tantrums or arguments 
-Allow kids some freedom within the confines of the established boundaries 
-Talk about why the boundary is important and what will happen if it's not followed 
-Don't take things personally - setting boundaries is not about making your child like you, it's about teaching responsibility and consequences.

Ultimately, setting boundaries is an important part of parenting that helps kids learn how to respect themselves and others. It can be difficult, but it's worth it in the end. By starting early and being consistent, parents can make the process easier for both themselves and their kids.

Make sure you check out my previous post about WHY boundaries are essential here.

Have comments or questions?  Let me know, I love receiving feedback so that I can help!


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