Setting Limits for 2-Year-Olds Creates Responsible Adults

March 6, 2018
Many parents see their 2-year-old children as too small for limits. However, it's important to set boundaries from a young age so that tantrums don't turn into a preferred method of getting one's way.
Setting limits for 2-year-olds is no easy task. It’s normal for kids to want to be independent and go after what they want at this age.Furthermore, they think that temper tantrums will help them get what they want. Therefore, it’s important to stay calm and in control.

When parents establish rules and boundaries, they do so, in part, to keep their children from always getting their way. Furthermore, they teach them to value and respect themselves above all else. 

With this in mind, how do we go about setting limits? And what are the benefits of doing so?

Who is responsible for setting limits with a 2-year-old?

Both parents are responsible for setting limits for their children. Mom and dad must agree on the rules and inform the rest of the family so that rules are respected and enforced.

Therefore, when choosing what boundaries to establish, keep in mind the abilities of each child.

7 tricks for setting limits with 2-year-olds

Limits are a must in order for children to learn how far they can go with their parents and other family members.

Below are some suggestions to keep in mind when establishing rules for your little one:

1. Parents should give specific and concrete orders

Given that 2-year-olds are unable to understand abstract messages, you should explain what behavior you expect of them. It’s not enough to say “behave yourself” or “sit up right.”

You need to be specific about what behaving well or sitting correctly actually means.

Setting Limits for 2-Year-Olds Creates Responsible Adults

2. Speak firmly and calmly

If your child misbehaves, you should explain what norm is in violation. When you do so, you should be calm and use a serious tone.

Something that can be helpful is to write the rules down and hang them in a place that’s visible for everyone. Obviously, you will have to rely on visible representations of the rules so that your 2-year-old can better understand.

If a child breaks a rule, it’s good to remind him or her of the rules, but without yelling, as this may only lead them to worse behavior.

3. Don’t give in, even if your child gets angry

Parents must remain firm when the answer is NO, and not give inChildren are often prone to beg, cry or even lash out when they don’t get their way.

If your child is successful in swaying your answer with these behaviors, she will only be even more likely to use them in the future. 

However, if you remain firm in regards to the rules you establish, your child will be more likely to respect them in the future.

4. Phrase your expectations positively

Children are more prone to obey rules that are expressed in a positive way. Rather than asking your child not to cry, you should ask him to speak in a clam, quiet voice.

For example, if your child hits another child, rather than telling your child not to hit, tell him he needs to treat others with love and respect.

Remember that your child is still developing his language abilities, and is not yet able to completely understand the words “no” and “not.”

5. Take into account your child’s particular personality

You need to consider your child’s personality and remember that not all children are alike. Some children need a mild warning, while others need more sternness in order to obey.

If your child doesn’t obey the first time, insist until she does.

6. Parents must be a united front

If a mother prohibits something, the father must back her up, and vise versa. If not, the child will learn not to obey, but rather look to the more permissive parent.

This creates a confusing situation for the child, and often brings him to disrespect the authority of one or both parents.

7. Create routines

Routines are extremely important for children, so we should establish and keep them. If you set mealtimes or bedtimes, these routines need to be kept. 

This will help your child know what to expect, and what is expected of him, throughout the day.

If your little one doesn’t want to go to sleep, you should still take him to bed and explain to him that if he doesn’t get enough sleep, tomorrow he will be tired and sleepy

Setting Limits for 2-Year-Olds Creates Responsible Adults

Benefits of setting limits with your 2-year-old

When parents set rules and boundaries for a child, they obtain a number of benefits, including the following:

  • As your child grows, she will learn the importance of following rules. This will be especially important in their teen and adult years
  • It will teach your children responsibility
  • Your children will know what behaviors and attitudes are expected of them, and they will have a better sense of right and wrong
  • Learning to follow rules will help your child develop a positive self-esteem

In conclusion, setting limits for 2-year-olds is necessary in order to achieve obedience and responsibility. Although it seems complicated, it’s vital to your child’s development.

We hope you’ve realized it’s much simpler than you thought. Raise your child with love and limits, and they will be sure to thank you for it as adults.