A “boundary” is, essentially, a line you draw where you end and your child begins. Through the first years of your child’s life, you allow him into every aspect of yours. They’re with you when you change your clothes or in the bathroom, they dictate your schedule, and expect you solve all of their problems immediately. It’s not their fault; they aren’t being selfish. They’ve just come to expect that sort of arrangement. As they get older, however, it’s important to create some space so they learn to be well behaved, functioning kids.
Here are some ways you can teach your kids boundaries.
1. Define your own boundaries.
The first step in any lesson is clearly defining what you expect. We can’t expect our kids to behave properly if we don’t first explain how to behave, right? If you expect them to knock on your door before entering your bedroom, you can’t punish the first event. You don’t need to be rigid or cruel, simply define your personal values. You have to explain your expectations first.
2. Respect their boundaries.
You need to respect the rules you set down. If interrupting someone when they’re speaking is a no-no in your house, you have to follow suit. Say “excuse me” and wait your turn to speak just like you expect them to.
3. Teach about personal space.
Kids are known to get right up in your face when they talk or play. They don’t recognize that for some people, personal space is a necessity. Point out that closeness can make others uncomfortable, especially people we don’t know very well. Have them agree we don’t want to make people uneasy.
4. Stop “over-functioning.”
As parents, we have a tendency to become anxious and step in and fix problems in our kids’ lives even when they don’t need our help. This is called over-functioning. Does your child really need you to cut his food, are you doing it because you’ve always done it? You aren’t helping him learn, you’re functioning for him because you’ve forgotten where he ends and you begin.
5. Encourage them to pursue their own interests.
You have been your child’s playmate since birth, so it’s not surprising when he expects you to stay that way. Find ways to encourage him to pursue his own passions. For example, if you two often read together, schedule time to read alongside one another, but read your own books. He gets to rea what he likes and you get to read what you like.
6. Create real consequences for crossed boundaries.
I’m not talking about punishments here, because they’re usually unnecessary. If you promise to take your son out for ice cream if he cleans his room, but he plays with his toys instead, you can’t give in and offer the reward. If you’ve asked him to knock before entering your room, but be barges in anyway, you need to ask him to leave until he does it right. You aren’t punishing him, but you’re still teaching that honesty and honoring one’s word is important.
Guest Blog by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventor of the Zipadee-Zip
The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: “Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time,” and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family’s reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker’s daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.
When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.
Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte’s startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!
To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!
For more information, visit sleepingbaby.com.
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