Teaching Kids About BoundariesEmpower Your Children with Healthy Tools

It’s important to set boundaries for children starting at a young age. It teaches them which behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not. However, it can be difficult for kids with autism spectrum disorder to grasp this concept. To help you teach your child about boundaries, we’ve put together a few tips below.   

Provide Examples They Understand   

The first thing to do is to sit down with your child and explain the difference between appropriate and inappropriate actions. For example, you could talk to them about why they shouldn’t hit, push or interrupt people. It’s also a good idea to come up with a few boundaries together. Make sure your little one understands the reason for having a boundary so they will follow through.  

After agreeing on a shortlist of boundaries, use photos or visual cues as a reminder. It’s helpful to be as clear as you can on the boundary and what exactly you expect from your child. If your child crosses the boundary, try to give them feedback in real time so they know what to do if a similar situation comes up again.   

Last, make sure to practice what you preach. Since your child looks to you for guidance on how to think, act, and interact with others, you should model the types of behaviors you expect from your child.   

Consider Social Skills Training  

If your child needs extra help learning boundaries, you could sign them up for a social skills training group. This would give them an opportunity to practice key skills in a safe environment with their peers. Social skills groups are typically led by a special education teacher, speech pathologist or other clinician.  

During a social skills group, your child will learn how to:  

  • Start a conversation  
  • Greet other people  
  • Make eye contact  
  • Identify emotions, facial expressions, gestures and body language  
  • Adjust their behavior in specific situations  
  • Maintain attention on and complete tasks  
  • Regulate and express their emotions  
  • Assert themselves  
  • Solve problems  

Reinforce Boundaries Everyday  

When children with autism understand boundaries, it’s easier for them to navigate the world and meet the expectations of others. And when your entire family follows the same rules, it creates a consistent environment that reinforces the boundaries.