If pedagogues, psychologists and especially teachers agree on something, it is that boys and girls must have clearly defined rules and limits. This shows them the way and lets them know where they can move and how far they must go, without ever stumbling on that path. But what is the most effective way to establish them? Can you put rules and limits on children from play? What steps do you have to follow?
These first limits and norms are those that, in principle, must come from the homes themselves and from the family environment, and I say ‘in principle’ because on many occasions it is not like that. Often rules are adopted in the family that are copied from school or sports or some activity that the child does. Children are the first in need in which these norms are established in the first place from the family.
In schools, these rules and limits are usually quite well marked, so that the boys and girls know which is the ‘furrow’ through which they must walk and which is the border that they should not cross, and if they pass it they know very well what it will be. the consequence they face, and they are also usually easier to comply with because they are group-level rules that everyone complies with, and the corrections, as a general rule, usually come from their peers.
Some ways to set limits throughout the game are:
- Establish what is the limit or the normal one that we want to set, we are going to set a rule for three-year-old children, the limit is: Mom and Dad are not yelled at or hit.
- Clearly explain the limit we want to set ‘Mom and Dad are not yelled at or hit’. That could be a rule or limit, but it would be poorly written. We would need it to be explained in positive so that it is loaded with value. We cannot forget that language and how we speak to our children is very important.
Therefore, we could establish that the norm would be: ‘Mom and dad are spoken to with affection and embraced’.
- We repeat the norm until all family members know it Once we have the norm or limit formulated in positive and we have told it to our child, what we do, as if it were a game, is that each Family member must repeat it 3 times a first time with their own voice and the other two with the voice of someone they know (a grandfather, a grandmother, a cartoon character, a cousin etc.). Thus, for fun, the norm is penetrating the family and especially the child.