“When we create firm structures, regular and rhythmic life habits, we give our child a sense of safety. Out of safety grows an inner sense of freedom.
“We can foster the openness of freedom when we give our children multifaceted opportunities for self-discovery and self-expression. They may experience this through open-ended creative play, through the arts, through stories and music, or through the exploration in nature.
“We can think about creating the container in the same way we envision creating an orderly, predictable play environment. The toys are mindfully selected and lovingly cared for.
“Each toy or play material has it’s ‘home’ and at playtime’s end finds its way back to its proper basket. Everything is brought to order and to rest. but during playtime, there is spaciousness, ‘anything can be anything.’
“There is tremendous freedom to explore, to create, to experiment. It is in this weaving back and forth between the mindfully structured orderliness and glorious open space that the strong container full of emptiness is created…
“We can hold this image as we move through the many questions that will arise in our parenting. As situations present themselves, we can ask ourselves, what are the firm boundaries that this situation calls for, and how can my child experience freedom within these boundaries? By holding this question, we recognize and care for the many needs of our young child’s being.
“This child needs physical safety, warmth and nurturance; emotionally, she needs love, guidance and modeling. Spiritually, she needs inspiration and freedom to become the person she will be. The right balance of structure and freedom will meet these diverse needs…
“(When) your child is still pushing, he is clearly asking you to create a safe boundary; he wants you to define the container for him. This is how he discovers the parameters of his world. Like the early explorers, he is pushing the envelope, finding the edges of his world’s map.
“Understanding this can help you respond with the two match words of discipline: firm and kind. With firmness and kindness, you can draw the boundaries, making his world small enough to be safe and understandable, and yet large enough that he can freely walk the path of self discovery.”
~For more insightful advice like these excerpts above, I highly recommend this insightful book Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children