It’s important for children to understand their boundaries. And in this case, the boundaries I’m referring to are the literal kind. Physical Boundaries.
There are times when you need to keep your child close to you for safety, or times you need them to stop moving toward something dangerous like the top of the stairs or a hot barbeque.
The word “stop” is a good one to be sure to teach your child at a very young age I taught my oldest boy the word “stop” shortly after he began to walk, around10-months old. Here’s how I took some time to teach this word.
- First I held his hand and walked a few steps and then I said “stop!” and we stopped.
- I repeated this several times until he seemed to be stopping on his own even though I was holding his hand.
- The next step was to walk and let go of his hand having him walk beside me and say “stop,” stopping myself very quickly. He had no trouble stopping with me, and we continued the little game of “stop” until he would stop automatically when told.
- Then we both walked around the yard going in our own different directions and I would say “stop” and we would both stop in our own places. ( It was a fun game, kids like games.)
- The next step was for me to stand in place and allow him to roam alone, I would say “stop” for him to stop clapping my hands and cheering every time he did it just right all by himself.
- As he continued to roam around I would have him stop periodically.
I did this on a day when I also wanted to get some yard work done. Our yard is near a busy street and I didn’t want him to get close to the road. So, I decided that he would be allowed on the grass (separated from the street by a flower garden) and on the walkway (which was separated from the road by the driveway.) I began weeding some of my plants and continued to play the game, giving generous applause for the stopping. It worked a treat, and I was sure to let him know “What a good boy! Look at you!! You can stop! Good boy!”
And since kids love to show off, I added reinforcement to it by telling his Dad…”look at this! He can “stop!” He was one proud little toddler. And he had learned a valuable lesson. Two actually: a safety lesson; and the lesson that people will be pleased with you when you do as you are told.