REBROADCAST - Boundaries with Kids


00:00:01    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 155. In this episode, we are sharing a snapshot into the Tiny Humans Big Emotions course with you. This portion is all about boundaries. We get so many questions about what it looks like to set boundaries with kids, to hold them, what if they say no to both choices, what do you do? How do you structure boundaries so that you can be in collaboration with your kiddos, rather than in conflict. Before we dive in,  I wanted to let you know about a free challenge that we're doing! We're doing a five day challenge; we heard from you loud and clear after our December workshop on re-parenting that you want guidance in this, so we have a five-day self-regulation challenge to help you, as the adult, cultivate self-regulation skills so that you can respond with intention. These are skills that we foster and we build in their muscles that we have to work. I created a challenge to walk you through this in five days each day. There is a video lesson from me and some bonus tools for what to do that day and how to implement what we're talking about that day. It's Monday through Friday starting this coming Monday, January 18th, and it ends on January 22nd. Monday through Friday, one lesson per day, a challenge that we're going to walk through together. Remember this challenge is totally free. So if you want to join us come on over to to sign up today and get access to this limited time, totally free, self-regulation challenge so that you can show up in charge of your own regulation and be the parent and person and partner that you want to be. All right folks. Let's dive into some boundaries. 


00:02:02    Alyssa

Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising Tiny Humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, sleep consultant, child development specialist and passionate feminist, Alyssa Blast Campbell. 


00:02:43    Alyssa

It can feel so intense to be on this journey and feel like there's so much work to do and maybe you're bringing things from your own childhood or maybe co-parenting is a challenge and you're trying to figure out how to navigate that. Maybe at each age and stage we are like wait, Alyssa, how do I do this? This new thing is coming up and I need support. as folks were coming into our Tiny Humans Big Emotions and Re-parenting courses, I found myself wanting to guide them through the courses. So not just give you the information but walk you through, step-by-step how to implement this in everyday life. You wanted a comprehensive space where we could continue to pour in resources and have bonus webinars and workshops and give you the opportunity to connect, not just with our team, but with other folks who are doing this work too, who have committed to raising emotionally intelligent humans and want to walk alongside you in this journey. As I was dreaming about this, I realized we can make it happen. I'm so excited about our village membership program where we're going to be walking you through this work, a space where you get to bring your biggest questions. As our social media grew it just became too much for me to do in DMs and in messages and I wanted to create a spot where my whole team can pour into you; where I can show up live and walk alongside you. We're dreaming up so many fun ways to support you inside the membership and some exclusive deals for our members. The membership sign-up goes live on January 22nd, so mark your calendars. The sign up will be open for less than two weeks, so reach out, send us an email: [email protected]  or come on over to Instagram and ask your questions. Let's dive into this. We want to make sure you are ready to go when signups launch so that you don't miss out on this opportunity. I want to support you in doing this work every day. Mark, your calendar for January 22nd to dive into community in our village membership, a space that I'm really excited to be able to raise my tiny human in. January 22nd, mark your calendar now. 


00:05:19    Alyssa

One of the things that we get the most questions about is boundaries. You guys, boundaries are crucial. Let's look at why; boundaries are how we communicate expectations. Communicating expectations has been the biggest game changer for me in relationship with others, whether it's with my partner, with my mom with my in-laws or with kiddos, communicating expectations is key. When you find yourself getting frustrated with expectations not being met, it's time to look at where your boundaries lie. Maybe this is a good sign that you need to set a new boundary or tweak the boundary. A boundary might look like I won't let you hit me or the TV is going to be turned off after one show or after 30 minutes. In which case, we would definitely want to have a timer so that they know when 30 minutes ends. Boundaries provide safety and structure. Without boundaries kids feel like they have to be in control and that's an overwhelming amount of responsibility for a child. We all look to boundaries for safety and structure. We want to know that if somebody comes in and robs our house that a police officer is going to help us. Or at work: we want to know what is the expectation here of your employer. The worst is when you're doing your work and you get yelled at or you disappoint your boss for not doing something that they never communicate it to you. I want to make sure that we are being clear about our expectations and boundaries with kiddos so that everyone's on the same page. Boundaries are not to be used as, like, "if you don't do this then I'm going to do this", boundaries are a way to communicate our expectations. Boundries are also an opportunity to build trust if we are consistent. For example, if you say "I'm going to finish getting dinner on the stove in five minutes and then we can play together," but then you don't go in and play, you decide that "Oh now I'll go throw in a load of laundry. I'll go whatever", then we're not building trust. We're saying we're going to do something and we're not doing it. What a kiddo learns is "Oh, they don't mean it when they say it. I can't trust what they say." This is the same if we say the TVs going to go off after one show, but then they throw a tantrum so we're like fine. You can watch another one. They're losing trust in what we say, so boundaries are crucial. Here is an opportunity to build trust with our kiddos. So, how do we do this? You guys, when we are setting boundaries, I want to provide choice in how, not what. So if we're telling a kid. "Oh, we are going to turn the TV off after one show", and when that show ends then we're going to hold the boundary by giving them two choices. We use choice theory which means you just provide two choices because otherwise it's overwhelming. It's like when you are like, "oh, what do you want to eat tonight?", And if you live in my household Zack says, "what do you want for dinner?" And I'm like, oh anything I'll take whatever and he's like, "Oh do you want stir fry?" and I'm like "no...." "Okay. Do you want to have some pasta?" "No, I don't really know." It's like too many choices like when you go to like Netflix to pick a show and you're overwhelmed with all the choices. So we want to provide just two choices for kids. With Choice Theory and we're providing how it's going to happen. So I'm not saying that they can watch another show. What I'm going to say is "Would you like to turn off the TV or should I do it? I'm going to set the timer and in 10 seconds when it beeps, I'm going to turn off the TV if it's still on. If you want to turn it off you can go do so now before the timer beeps." Its in how, not what. We're not talking about whether or not the TV is going off. We're talking about how it's going to happen. This is the same thing for getting into a car seat. Whether or not you ride in a car seat, not a choice. Who puts you into the car seat? Do you want to climb in by yourself or should I put you in? That can be a choice. One of the huge huge huge things here is to use a timer or counting to communicate the timeline expectation because if you say "you can turn the TV off or I will" and you don't communicate when you will that's not fair to the kiddo. The goal here is not to put up a wall. It's to show them where the door to come in is, right? So if they want to turn off the TV themself, the door to come in is within the next 10 seconds. If they want to put their own shoes on to go outside the door to come in might be within the next five minutes. We are never using timers as a threat. And when we are using Choice Theory, it is imperative that you as the one setting the choices are fine with either outcome. If your hope is that you're going to set this boundary and they are just going to follow, my friend you are going to be disappointed. I've never set a boundary for kids and had them say great, I can't wait to follow it. Never you guys. That cannot be your expectation here. It is your job to set the boundary and it's the kiddos job to push it to see if its real, to see if you mean it when you say what you're going to do here. We talked about that trust-building. It's their job to push it and say, "can I trust you when you say this" and you get to let them know, "yeah, you can. Now when I'm setting boundaries, I'm setting them based off of three things: health, safety and development. So health could be that we have to get a diaper change, because it's not healthy for you to sit in your own feces for an extended period of time. Safety could be getting into a car seat. And growth and development could be putting on your own jacket, right? So I would set that boundary and it doesn't mean that they're always going to do it. It might mean that sometimes with the growth and development, I'm setting a boundary and I'm going to have to step in and help them. This could be like cleaning up toys. But they can't get out a new toy until they've cleaned up the old one, if you're going to set that boundary that would be based off of whether or not it's developmentally appropriate for them to be cleaning up their own toys. You wouldn't ask a one-year-old to do that because it's not developmentally appropriate. 


00:12:57    Alyssa

Are you ready for the hardest part of boundaries? Buckle up, babe. They are allowed to be upset about the boundary. What a doozy. You guys, they don't have to be happy about turning off the TV. The goal in life is not happiness. It's that we have a toolbox to process whatever feelings come our way. They might feel disappointed or frustrated or angry at the boundary that you set and that's okay. Hold space for that emotion. You don't need to fix it. You don't need to let them know, like oh, you know what? We'll get to come back to the playground next time, like we have to leave now, but we get to come back tomorrow. No, just hold that space. It's okay for them to be upset that you're leaving the playground right now. They don't have to be happy about it. You're not failing if they aren't happy. You're succeeding as an emotionally supportive parent if they get to feel their hard things and know that you're a safe space for them to break down, too. And babe, it's going to happen a lot with boundaries. 


00:14:22    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of your Village. Check out the show notes for this episode and all past episodes at Did you know that we have a special community for all of you to be a part of so that we can all gather together to raise emotionally intelligent humans? Head on over to Facebook, search Seed and Sew: Voices of your Village and dive into that Facebook group. We cannot wait to hang out with you and collaborate on raising these humans, if you're digging this podcast head on over to Apple podcast, scroll down, click those stars and leave a review. It really fills my heart to hear from all of you. 


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