Communicating Limits- Part 2 of 4 in Our Summer Blog Series

Part 1: Acknowledging your Child’s Feelings
Part 2 of our summer blog series touches on the importance of boundaries within relationships. Limits are vital for the summer months, as there is more freedom, more fun, and less structure in each day. However, boundaries are not only helpful in these warm vacation months, they are also imperative in parent-child relationships, teacher-student relationships, peer relationships, etc. Limits preserve these relationships. Set your child up for success by using limit setting this summer!

When limits are needed, feel confident in setting them by combining the skill learned in Part 1 of our Summer Series with the limit setting learned in this article. As a review, in our last post, we talked about acknowledging your child’s feelings. Doing so will 1) convey that he/she is understood, 2) develop his/her ability to identify emotions, and 3) immediately reduce tension. When the opportunity for limits arise this summer, start off by identifying and naming how your child is feeling. For example, try saying, “I know you’re ANGRY, BORED, SAD, LONELY, or EXCITED”, leaving them feeling understood and heard, immediately reducing confusion or tension. Following this step, it is necessary to communicate the limit.

Communicating the limit is ideally done without judgment or anger, in a plain and matter-of-fact tone. This is best shared using the outline,”__________ is not for _________.” For example, one might say “the chair is not for standing on” or “your brother is not for hitting”. By using this format, the child is not hearing “you are bad for doing this”, but simply “that is not for that”. Like the first step of this strategy, it also reduces tension.

Let us look at a quick example. Johnny is bored at the house and is bouncing the ball on the wall. Putting the first and second step together, limits could be set by saying “Johnny, I know you’re bored, however, the ball is not for bouncing on the wall”.

In our next blog article, we will learn how to redirect your child to find appropriate strategies for boredom, frustration, sadness, etc. Tune into the next part of the series to learn the next step of summer limit setting!

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