The Funnel is a Handy Tool

Joey and Carla Link

February 1, 2023

In last week’s blog titled “Do Your Kids need Fences?”, we talked about the funnel and what it has to do with parenting. The funnel is such a handy tool, so much so we are talking about it again to keep the behaviors your kids aren’t old enough or mature enough to handle in. Behaviors inside the funnel need parental intervention, meaning when their kids ask permission to do something that is not in the funnel, they have to pay attention to how this child is handling the freedom.

For Review: The funnel is a boundary, which parents need to put in place. The behaviors inside the funnel need boundaries too. Picture a funnel. I love that you can put all the behaviors your kids can’t or won’t manage inside it. That separates them from the behaviors they do manage well and have the freedom to do without supervision. 

Think of it this way: Your 6 yr. old makes his bed before you get around to reminding him to do it. Take it out of the funnel and stop reminding him to do it. It becomes a freedom because he is managing it on his own.

Your 8 yr. old however, won’t make his bed unless you remind him. His boundary around making his bed? He sleeps on the floor if you have to remind him. This is how you put a boundary around a behavior that is staying in the funnel.

No matter what, we can’t encourage you enough to stop reminding your kids to do what they know they have to do.


When one of our daughters was around 4 yrs. old, one of my least favorite things to do each day was checking to see if she had gotten her toys picked up and put away. I will admit to being somewhat particular about them being put where they went. 

Hers were usually put in piles but not put away, or just thrown into whatever bin was available and empty. My mom lived too far away to see her often. On a visit to see us, I told her we might as well go up to this daughter’s room and get her to get her toys put away the right way. I had plastic bins along the wall for the toys to go into. My mom asked me how Amy was supposed to know what went in what bin. I told her she could look inside and see that books were in one and blocks in another and so on. 

My mom asked me why I didn’t get different colored bins so she knew the books went in the red bin and so on. I told her the bins matched the color scheme of the room. My mom just gave me one of those looks. I got the hint and went out and got the different colored bins, glued a picture of what went into the bins on the front of each one and Amy had no more problems getting her room picked up.

I was expecting my daughter to do something she was not yet capable of doing. She wasn’t old enough to do it the way I wanted, meaning she was easily overwhelmed trying to figure it out. What seemed simple to me was anything but simple to her. Simplifying the task solved this problem for both of us. I learned this lesson well, and made sure my expectations were not set at standards that were too high and unrealistic when dealing with my children.

Jesus said, “‘For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light’

Matthew 11:30

Here’s the key: God’s boundaries for our lives are meant to give us direction for our purpose. They keep us on His path—the path we were created to follow. In the same way it is up to parents to create boundaries for their kids to keep them safe inside their funnel and not overwhelm them with too many freedoms.