Healthy Boundaries: Why are they important to teach to our children?
Working with people can be challenging as is, but working with people who are in the most vital part of their developmental lives like we do at Best Brains of Algonquin (aka, children) is a whole new challenge. Schools, learning centers, teachers, and parents play a vital role in children’s lives as we have a significant hand in the growth of their foundational values. It is important that we utilize this opportunity to teach these children valuable lessons and principles that will help them to grow into the next generation with a bright future.
We teach students much more than just Math and English; we teach kindness, empathy, respect, sharing, and so much more. However, one thing that we feel gets overlooked sometimes is the importance of boundaries. Just like any other person, it is vital to understand that children have things that they may or may not be comfortable with. Additionally, it is vital for children to understand that other people may have things that make them uncomfortable. While this may feel like a rather broad thing for a child to grasp, consent and boundaries are generally rooted in a fairly instinctual ideal: empathy.
Empathy and emotional intelligence are actually based in the same part of the brain as learning to speak and read, which means that children can learn them just as easily as they learn the fundamentals that they already are used to learning! Phrases such as "you are in my bubble" are easy to understand ways for children to grasp the idea of personal space while also being able to communicate their feeling of violation. This also helps children to have a stronger understanding that others have bubbles too and that sometimes they might be invading it. This can be taught to children via the adult role models they look up to on a daily basis: us. Teachers, parents, and other mentors can demonstrate this respect for boundaries, and children will inevitably follow suit.
Taking this time to teach children how to ask for permission while also encouraging them to hold others accountable for asking for permission has been proven to reflect later in their lives. When we teach children these fundamentals at an early age, they demonstrate them later in their lives which results in them being more empathetic, respectful, and kind people in the future.