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More Information on Setting Limits for Toddlers and Young Children

It’s all about safety and establishing a routine for babies and very young children, but even when speaking to young children, how you communicate these limits is important.

Explain the limit in a positive way that explain why there is a boundary:

  • “Hold my hand when we cross the street. There are lots of cars and you might get hurt.”

Use an “I-message:”

  • “I can’t let you throw sand, you might hurt someone in the sandbox. Unless you stop, we’ll have to go home.”

Consequences should be logical:

  • “If you yell loudly at the movie, we’ll have to go home because other people can’t hear.”

Use “when” statement to communicate your expectations:

  • “When you have washed your hands, you can have a snack.”

Offer choices:

  • “It’s cold outside, you can wear your sweater or your jacket.”

Further Reading

5 Ways to Set Limits  by Eleanor Reynolds

Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers: Creating Structures and Rules from the CDC