How to Establish Boundaries in Parent and Child Relationships
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Boundaries can include limiting screen time for young children.

It’s not too early to think about boundaries -- even if your tyke is still running around in diapers. Boundaries evolve as your child grows, but the patterns you establish in the early years are patterns your child will live out in the future. Setting the right boundaries for toddlers and preschoolers sets the stage for an appropriate parent-child relationship. As your child grows, boundaries can help him learn to protect himself, take responsibility and respect the limits of others.


  1. 1
    Communicate your love for your child . Say it with words. Show it with hugs or other signs of affection. A child who knows she is loved feels secure. This creates a foundation for healthful child development in all areas.
  2. 2
    Set clear limits that are appropriate for the age of your child. Keep the rules simple and repeat them often so your child knows what is expected. Over time, your child will come to understand that rules are for his protection. A rule about not playing on the street, for example, is meant to keep him out of the way of moving cars.
  3. 3
    Explain what will happen if your child chooses to break one of the rules. Then, serve up immediate and consistent consequences for not following a rule. Choose consequences that are appropriate for each offense. For example, if your child does not pick up her toys after a second reminder, you might wish to put those toys in the closet for a day or two.
  4. 4
    Allow your child to offer input and make some choices. It is totally appropriate to be flexible and allow some negotiation in areas that are negotiable, like the breakfast menu or clothing choices for the day. This gives your child the opportunity to voice her opinion and to experience some freedom within the limits you’ve set.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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