How to set boundaries with your seven year old

Setting boundaries can be a tough challenge for parents. Writer and mother of three Chelle McCann explains how she makes it work.

As a family with three kids, as you can imagine, boundaries are hard to set. Everyone works to their own pace and we each have our individual needs.

Our two toddler boys (15 months and 2.5 years) are very much the leaders of the household right now, but that often means our seven year old girl feels left out. We have found that a few things help her remain settled and more confident too.

Setting boundaries in a pretty much child led household is really difficult at first and it does take time to get everyone on the same track. The first thing we did was to buy a whiteboard and mark it up with days of the week. Each day of the week there are set tasks so for example on a school day.

The simple tick list includes:

  • Getting dressed
  • Brushing hair
  • Brushing teeth
  • Making packed lunch
  • Getting shoes, coat and book bag ready

An evening checklist would be:

  • Hang Up coats
  • Homework or Reading
  • Make sure clothes washing is in the laundry bag
  • Put away toys
  • Clear the table after dinner

I have found that this works for us. A simple check list which also includes responsibility as well as self care means that we haven't made it too complicated for our daughter. She can easily see at a glance whether she's done what's expected or not.

Rewarding good behaviour has helped too.

This year we have introduced pocket money and for each day a completed check list is done £1 is added to her Saturday pocket money. Earning days are set as Monday to Friday and she is free to spend it as she sees fit.

Whether she saves or spends, that's her decision. I found her intention to splurge on a Saturday frustrating at first, but as time goes on it has taught her more about the value of money.

Obviously this only covers certain boundaries but we have found a knock on effect of starting this way has meant we haven’t needed to set too many. Good behaviour is rewarded and behaviour that isn’t responsible to herself and others means that pocket money is deducted or screen time is limited.

Obviously these are only the first steps in trying to find a routine to fit all of our children. I would love to hear some tips on how you manage boundary setting with your older children (and the younger ones too!).


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