Establish standards and set limits for 4-year-olds It is one of the functions that as parents we must continue to put into practice day after day. Always with patience and with unconditional affection and love. Because if a child needs something beyond the love of their parents, it is to know how far they can go. And it is that setting limits and enforcing certain rules is also a way of telling our children how much we love them and how much we care about them. For this reason, below we leave you a guide of essential tips that you should take into account.
Although you think that with 4 years it is still too early to start establishing a system of rules at home and limits that should not be exceeded, nothing is further from the truth. The sooner you know what you can and cannot do and the consequences of your actions, the sooner you will learn to take care of yourself and respect others.
And it is that at this age, our children become more autonomous and demand more freedom. It is a stage in which they discover new possibilities of action not only physical but also social. Between 4 and 5 years the need for self-affirmation of our little ones continues to increase. The tantrums are still frequent because they like to command and have what they want done. Something that is not always possible and that they must learn, despite the anger and frustration that it generates.
So limits and norms at this age will also train in the development of their emotional intelligence launching a much-needed skill in the coming stages: tolerance for frustration.
1. Think about what limits your child needs
Take some time to think about what rules and limits are necessary and essential at this time. I recommend that you follow the maxim of less is more, so I advise you not to exceed 4-5 clear and consistent rules with the age of your child. For example, 'I cross the street holding my mother's hand'.
2. Explain the rule in clear language, adapted to their age and ability to understand.
Help yourself with drawings or an incentive table, the latter motivates children of this age a lot, who usually have a lot of desire to do what is proposed to them.
3. Use positive language
This means explaining and writing the rules avoiding using the 'NO'.
4. Be consistent, don't vary from day to day
Apply the rules you have decided despite fatigue, a bad day or because you have or are visiting.
5. Be consistent, do the same as you ask your children
Don't pretend that your children don't swear if you don't stop saying them in front of them, even if it's just watching a soccer game. Setting a good example is essential.
6. Be flexible
Perfection does not exist, neither in us nor in them, so that many times and more at first your child will not be able to perfectly fulfill any of the rules that you have established. He is learning and like any learning he needs his time. So try to make compliance more flexible if you see that he is trying but cannot do it alone. For example, picking up all your toys one day when you are very tired.
7. Avoid being authoritarian
An authoritarian style ends up having very negative effects on the emotional development of children, who become more insecure, liars and lacking in self-esteem.
8. Reward progress with praise, kissing, and enjoyable activities
An example might be reading one more bedtime story, for example. Avoid any type of material reward that ends up becoming a way of blackmailing the little one and jeopardizes the education that we intend to offer.
9. Applies natural consequences to breach of rules or limits violated
For this, it is necessary that we also take some time to think about the consequences that we are going to apply, otherwise we can fall into the error of arbitrariness and the widely used 'you are left without ...' as the only way to sanction the conduct.
10. Don't get carried away by the emotion of the moment
Together with the previous point, it is very easy to fall into the error of letting ourselves be carried away by the anger of the moment when our son or daughter refuses to comply with a rule or has exceeded all the limits set. In these cases, we tend to act impulsively by applying punishments that are difficult to carry out or by saying things that we later regret. So let's try to stay calm and think before we act.
This, in addition to being the correct thing, is one of the best ways to teach our children one of the basic competencies of emotional intelligence that we want them to develop: self-control. So try to empathize and be firm without losing the closeness that your child needs.
A system of well-defined norms and limits provide children of this age and of any other age, it also serves for adolescents and adults, the feeling of security, confidence in what they are doing and the possibility of feeling part of the group (whether family , school, sports team or society in general).
A 4-year-old needs to know how far you can go, learn what you can and cannot do, because this is how he learns the social norms that we have all given ourselves to live better. In addition, they are necessary for them to learn to regulate themselves, to understand that not everything is possible and that the world does not revolve around them.
In short, live in an environment without rules or limits is neither possible nor socially acceptable. We all need them, your 4-year-old also to properly integrate into any environment in which he will live with other children and adults.
You can read more articles similar to Guide to essential tips for setting limits for 4-year-olds, in the category Limits - Discipline on site.