Parents who set limits for their children show them that they love and care about them. The following suggestions may help you to set fair and appropriate limits for your school-age children.
- Be a hands-on parent and pay attention to what your children are doing.
Are their activities harmful or dangerous? For example, do they consistently follow your safety rules while bicycling?
- Get help in knowing what is right for your children's developmental level.
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- Set reasonable limits for your children, and spend time explaining those limits.
Family rules and the consequences of breaking those rules should be well defined and understood.
- Be ready to reassess limits.
As children mature, they will continually outgrow some limits. You might ask your 6-year-old child not to leave the yard when playing outside. By age 10, your child may be responsible enough to play within a larger defined area, such as your cul-de-sac or block. Most children can appreciate the idea that they will be able to do more activities when they are older.
- Discuss limits as a family.
It may be helpful to give the children a voice in the process. This can help your children to feel that their opinions are important and to gain confidence that their positive behavior will be rewarded. Eventually, when your children are ready, you can give them the opportunity to set their own limits and, in doing so, teach them self-control.
You can also help your children build healthy habits by being a good role model. Your everyday actions greatly influence your child's behavior.