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Boundaries with caregivers

You may have heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. Which is great for hands on support, but what if the way in which your village thinks your child should be raised is different to how you want to raise your little one?


Although suggestions, opinions and comments may come from a place of good intention it can be a little disheartening, infuriating and somewhat condescending if that advice offered is very much different to the parenting style you and your partner have.


Whether your little love is cared for by a family member, enrolled at pre school or you have a lovely friend who you have on-call if need be, it is really important to have boundaries with people who take care of your child. Raising little people is a fun, exhausting, overwhelming, non-stop task that can have you loving every second to wanting to tap out and go back to or your old life all in the space of 10 minutes.


How you parent, the goals you have for your child and the way in which you teach, support, discipline, aid sleep and settling and feed your baby are your decisions, and yours alone. You are the voice for your child, the safe haven when they need you and the comfort of home that they will never grow out of. So lets talk boundaries; what are they and why are they so important?


What do boundaries with caregivers look like?


Boundaries with caregivers can mean a number of things. It could mean dictating when and where a caregiver visits, looks after or takes your little love on an excursion. It could be how they support and settle your baby for sleep, or how they deal with and manage toddler outbursts. It could be reinforcing that an ice cream at 4:30pm before dinner probably isn't the right time. It might even be communicating that it's okay that little Johnny doesn't want to give Pops a cuddle today.


Why is it important to have boundaries?


Boundaries are important to establish a great relationship and have support and consistency across all areas for your little one. Yes, daycare days or sleepovers at Grandparents are different, and that’s great. But it’s important to have similar routines for the sleep offered and reassurance and support for your little one through periods of developmental change, anxiety or tantrums. Boundaries are important for all three of you; the parent, child and caregiver. Having clear and concise expectations, contingency plans and a routine will help keep the continuity from home to your caregivers environment or daycare.


The key with boundaries is simple; communication. Communicate your expectations, what you would like your caregiver to do, the routine you’d suggest they follow (as a guide) and the food, support, and stimulation appropriate for their age. Likewise, listen to your caregiver. They might find it difficult to follow a routine, how can you combat this? They might prefer to do assisted naps then be stuck at home for sleep, is this an issue for you? They might also like to offer advice and suggestions along the way – some valued and some taken with a grain of salt.


“Setting boundaries can be really hard for those that are used to pleasing others and are sensitive to the feelings of others as it usually ends in hard feelings” - Sarah Bolitho, Secure Foundations


We all parent differently. Society has changed since our parents generation and the knowledge we might have now could be very different to what was available back then.


You know your baby best. You know what works for your family so keep this in mind when you voice any concerns or politely swipe aside any unwelcome comments. Communication is key; if theres something that doesn’t sit right with you it may be best to talk about this and if it’s not respected or heard than really reflect - is it worth the unsettled baby or disheartening feeling you may be left with? You do you! If your current sleep situation works at home then don’t feel pressure to change it just to suit a caregiver.



If you need any additional information or support please feel free to contact me at amy@littledreamers.co.nz to book in a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to talk about what is happening for your little one and how we can help.



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