Teaching kids how to set boundaries for themselves is one of the most valuable lessons we can teach kids. It starts from the beginning and is one of the hardest jobs we, as parents, have to teach. Starting with setting boundaries as a parent will give them the foundations to set them as they go to school and need to be able to communicate to others without you.
Let’s start with the foundation:
Why do we need to teach kids boundaries?
- Feel safe - Kids need predictability, schedules, and routines. It decreases their anxiety and creates a feeling of security and consistency in their lives. I can tell you from experience, my daughter needs to know what’s going to happen. She doesn't like unexpected changes. She needs to know the plan.
- Creates order - Having boundaries (aka rules) in place helps things run smoothly because kids know what is expected of them. My daughter automatically reaches for my hand when we cross the street or knows we always wash hands after going potty.
- Be prepared - Teaching kids that the struggles of the real world are important to set them up for success. They want to take the easy road and sometimes that is honestly easier as a parent, but we know life isn’t going to be as patient with our kid if he won’t sit still in a boardroom. Teaching our kids to pick up their toys, manners, behavior at restaurants, laundry, cooking for themselves and more will be lifelong gifts.
Now let’s talk about setting up our kids for success by setting boundaries. Talk to your kids about the importance of setting boundaries and give them examples of how they have helped you in your life.
- Have you had to say “no” to someone?
- Were you bullied when you were little?
What did that feel like? Were you brave but a little scared? How did you use your words to say no, with kind words? We can teach our kids so many life lessons by sharing our own experiences and even practicing with them. These skills take work!!
Here are the 5 things you can teach your kids to get them started:
- Ask what needs to be different in the situation?
- Make the message clear and use firm language
- Be consistent and follow through. If someone continues to disrespect your boundaries, it’s important to let them know every time that it’s not ok.
- No means No.
- Treat others how you want to be treated.
Let’s set up our kids to value themselves and know their worth!