Setting limits with your kids can be challenging to say the least, especially if they are of a certain age; toddlers, children, or adolescents. If you are prepared in advance with the tools you need to set limits, it will be easier for you to set them when you need them. Children thrive on structure so do not be afraid to provide healthy boundaries in your home.
Try adopting the A.C.T. system in your home. The A.C.T. system is used therapeutically in a play therapy setting and is known behavior tool amongst play therapists, like myself. My monthly newsletter subscribers were able to get an exclusive sneak peek at this system earlier this month and I received a lot of positive feedback from subscribers that the information was helpful so I wanted to share on my blog as well! If you want in on exclusive parenting tips, make sure you sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website.
The A.C.T. System
First, you’ll want to acknowledge your child’s needs or wants. Secondly, you’ll communicate a limit with them. Lastly, you’ll help them target an alternative way to express their behavior, action, and choices. I listed some examples below to help!
Acknowledge – child’s needs and wants
Communicate – limit
Target Alternative – action, choices
–A: I know you want to hit your sister – she hurt your feelings – that made you angry
–C: She is not for hitting
–T: You can use this bop bag/pillow when you’re mad
–A: You want to draw on the wall with a crayon
–C: The wall is not for drawing on
–T: You can draw on the paper with the crayon
This system isn’t foolproof and may not work every time, for every situation, or even for every child. It will work for most children, most of the time. Most importantly, be consistent. The more you follow through with your children and stay as calm and consistent as possible; they are more likely to listen and follow directions. When they comply, make sure to praise them somehow with a hug, a high five, or even just a simple “Thank you, I love you, and I am proud of you for behaving responsibly.”