These are the limits within which behaviour is acceptable or what may, and may not be done. Boundaries are there to guide children and young people’s behaviour in the setting and it is very important for all staffs to consistently apply these boundaries fairly. Behaviour is learnt from what we see others do or say, so, it is very important for the staff to watch children closely and make sure that they apply the boundaries at all times.
The importance of staffs applying the rules and boundaries are: It helps children and people to know what is right from wrong. For example, when a child knows what is right from wrong, or what is acceptable and what is not, then they will be able to do the right thing most of the time. If they know jumping is not allowed in the setting then they are going to behave accordingly. If all staff applies the boundaries and rules of their settings, then children will not feel they are being misled. For example, one staff says they can bring snacks to school and another staff says they are not allowed to bring snacks. If this happens, a child will get confused and feel misled by one of the staff. It enables all the staff to be consistent in their approach in dealing with behaviour issues.
For example, if there is no consistency in staff applying the boundaries and rules then there will be chaos in the setting, and this will not help positive behaviour in children. But if there is consistency then every child in the setting will know that no matter whom they go to in the setting, they will always get one answer. The importance of all staff being fair, and consistent are:
It helps children to develop a sense of responsibility for their own actions and encourages them to think about the consequences of their behaviour. For example, the rule says no running in the corridor and staff keep reminding children about it all the time then, when a child runs in the corridor the others will tell him or her no running, and he or she will know that if they run, they will fall and when they fall, they will hurt themselves.
So, they know what will happen when they disobey. It ensures that the school rules are enforced and children behave in a responsible manner. For instance, when staffs are consistent in applying the rules then there will be order in the settings and the promotion of good behaviour. Children will also know what the rules and boundaries are and therefore behave accordingly. It ensures that all children are treated fairly by staff applying the equal opportunity procedures. For example, when two children behave inappropriately, they both must receive the same sanction, one should not be favoured over the other.
When two children fight, you have to listen to both sides and be fair in your judgement. Some children behave inappropriately all the time but they must not be victimized in situations but rather listened to and treated fairly as other children. It helps children with unwanted behaviour to improve and behave positively. For instance, if a child likes to pinch other children and all the staffs apply the rules consistently, that child is bound to change from that unwanted behaviour to positive behaviour. How to set fair rules and boundaries:
Setting realistic rules for the setting; For example, ensuring the set rules are appropriate for age and stage of development. For instance, setting a rule for one to two years that says, “No crying for toys or You must share,” that is not realistic based on their age and level of understanding. By involving the children in setting the rules and boundaries. If the children are involved in the rule setting then they will apply it because they will always remember and obey it. If everybody agrees on the set rules and boundaries. This means they understand what they are agreeing to so therefore, they can live by it and when others are behaving inappropriately, they will let them know it is unacceptable behaviour.