Children need boundaries

by Dominik Flaig

Rules and boundaries

In everyday life we encounter many situations where rules and boundaries play an important role. Both when getting dressed in the morning, going out, cleaning up or sharing toys with friends: Rules and boundaries provide orientation and promote our social interaction. Nevertheless, a "No!" is often associated with resistance and can quickly lead to conflict or argument.

When children test or cross boundaries, they do not do so to annoy us, for example, but express their desire for orientation and security. In such a situation, children want to be perceived on the one hand and on the other hand they want to be taught how to behave adequately in such a situation.

Five essential aspects must be considered here:

  • clear pronunciation and expression. Speak in simple terms. Form short sentences. Use your voice consciously in a clear and calm tone of voice. Support the spoken word with body language.
  • give decision support. Provide a solution, such as you can be angry and scream, take your "anger pillow" and let your feelings run free.
  • logical and natural consequences. Mental or physical violence is not an option! Never punish but show the consequences of your actions. If the child does not want to get dressed, explain to him that we will be late for the day care centre and that there will be less time to play with friends.
  • consciously use rewards and reinforcement. Praise or reward desired behaviour in a targeted manner. Do not use rewards too often and do not use them for self-explanatory things like getting up in the morning.
  • talks and agreements. Communicate your own opinions and feelings and actively ask for them. But also, to represent one's own point of view, to seek a compromise in dialogue and to reach an agreement with each other.


Especially in new situations or if you have little time and patience, it is often difficult to find a good solution. It is important to be aware of the challenging situation and not to make too high demands on yourself. Children learn through repetition and continuity. The occasional “Schoggi” in the wrong place will certainly be forgiven!

In the globegarden childcare centers, experienced pedagogical and care experts are at your side as trustworthy contacts for everything to do with the glorious terrible twos-phase, autonomy, and self-determination of children. Because education is not what we do, it’s who we are.

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