Setting their own boundaries is quite difficult for many children, but not setting boundaries often leads to unnecessary quarrels and frustrations. So it is not a bad idea to help children a little with setting boundaries.

A hand puppet is a great tool to show children how they can set their limits. It helps when that puppet has a few conditions and characteristics. So he can show what he’s telling. I mention four here.

1. The puppet must have a name.
That may seem obvious, but I’ll mention it anyway because a puppet without a name can’t be called by his name. Everything starts with a name and with talking from the I-form. Give it a try and experience the difference.

2. The puppet starts from a healthy self-image.
When a puppet is used to teach children there are more effective alternatives to their behavior, it is useful to give the puppet a healthy self-image and not reflect the same behavior the child shows. The child doesn’t learn anything new when the puppet’s reflecting his behavior. When the puppet can show him alternatives which work better, the child can copy that. A child with a healthy self-image makes his own choices and always checks with himself whether he wants something or not. He may find setting boundaries quite exciting, but he takes them.

3. The puppet is not afraid to make mistakes.
Learning involves making mistakes, and it’s easier to accept the mistakes as part of learning. Making mistakes is allowed, everyone makes mistakes, and you can learn from mistakes. There is no need to blame yourself for mistakes or be ashamed of them. A puppet, who don’t make a lot of fuss of mistakes, makes it easier for children to try something new.

4. The puppet is without judgments.
No one is completely without judgements, but judgments often leave a mark on how you experience something. The puppet has no judgment about children who prefer to keep him at a distance, nor does he judge children who let everyone come close, the puppet does not think anything stupid or weird and mainly tries to get clear what moves someone. And whatever that is…it’s fine. So be aware of judgments that subconsciously enter your life and try to keep the puppet neutral. The puppet is primarily a friend, and friends are usually on your side.

Are you going to try it out? Let me know what you experienced, I love to hear from you.

With love,

Author

Helen Meurs (helenmeurs.com) is a pioneer in the field of Puppet Power, an independent trainer and developer. She offers online courses, is the lead instructor at the vocational training for puppet coaches, and authored the book ‘The Hand Puppet as a Educational Tool’. Subscribe to her newsletter if you want to know more.

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