As I’ve worked with children for over 10 years now, I see how essential it is to develop boundaries with children.
My friend from high school contacted me recently to catch up. It’s been over 10 years since I left school and we don’t catch up often, so I made room in my schedule to spend some time with her and her 2 y.o son.
Her son is simply gorgeous and she is a stress-head.
My friend and I have a good enough relationship that she feels comfortable allowing me to develop boundaries with him whilst she sits there referring to me as the “baby whisperer” and “wonders how I can do & say these things her son responds so well”
Today, he repeatedly threw his toy car out of his pram and he even threw it from the 1st floor at the shops to the ground floor. After the 3rd time of him doing it and his mum going down & back without making a comment to him, I stepped in (with permission from her) and gave him the option to either keep the toy with himself and hold onto it inside his pram or I would ‘mind’ it for him. 30 seconds later, sure enough, he threw it at someone walking past and so I took it. He resisted slightly but I spoke some kind, yet firm words to him saying it’s not safe to throw it etc.
His response: “ok”.
My friend stood there, utterly amazed.
Now, of course, part of my success was because the boundary was being implemented from someone other than his mum (children react differently to their parent’s advice compared to other adults) but part of it was because I put in a very clear boundary. I wasn’t concerned with how he would react because I wasn’t putting him in danger so if he had a meltdown, it wouldn’t really bother me, we’d deal with it.
I wasn’t concerned with how he would react because tantrums have never bothered me. I wasn’t putting him in danger so if he had a ‘meltdown’, that was ok with me, he could release the energy and then we’d move on. However, he accepted the situation and continued talking whilst we moved onwards.
I find it fun to play around with boundaries with children. It has been a while since I’d been in a direct position to implement boundaries with children that young.
Allow the process of implementing boundaries with children to be experimental and fun. Nobody gets it ‘right’ every time, so take the pressure off yourself.