First and foremost in any parents mind is the safety of their children. You only need to turn on the news or read a newspaper to find stories that will add to your fear. Teaching your child basic safety skills so they know what to do in an emergency seems like a great idea but how do you do that without instilling unnecessary fears? As with most things in life, you need to strike a balance of providing the right knowledge without scaring your youngsters so much that they don’t want to step outside. You certainly don’t want to impress your anxiety onto your children. You want them to grow up confident and fearless when out in the big wide world so here are some steps you can take to help avail your fears and help keep your children out of danger.
This may sound basic but from a young age, make sure your children know their full name, address and phone number. Teach them how to dial 999 and have other emergency numbers by the phone for them to use. As they get older and on the odd occasion are home alone, if they pick up a call at home tell them never to reveal they are on their own and to do the same when answering the door.
Your children should always have your mobile number with them and when out shopping with the family, if they get lost then they should go to the nearest shop assistant and stay with them until they get help. Letting your children go out with friends or on their own for the first time is a very stressful occasion for all parents. No matter how much you trust your child and how sensible they are, you have to get used to the idea they are growing up fast, they want to be independent and with that comes worry. The most common rule we teach our children is never get into a car with a stranger but also ensure your children know they should never be afraid to be rude to a grown-up if they feel unsafe. If they are scared of someone then they should run to safety and they should also know how to scream loudly, you all can have fun practising that together!
Setting up a code word with your children is a good idea so if a family member or friend that they are not familiar with arrives to pick them up, they can ask them for the code word. Your children will then know that it is safe to go with the adult if they know the word. They should also never be out on their own. Whether they are walking to school without adult supervision for the first time or are a teenager planning a weekend shopping trip, they should always have a friend or two with them as there is safety in numbers.
Ensure good communication between you and your children from the start. Maintaining and establishing a good level of trust and connection at all times will encourage an open relationship so as they grow up and become more independent, you can trust that they will tell you where they are going and with whom. Life is stressful and if, like most people you are juggling a busy work life as well as bringing up children, knowing where they are at any time could alleviate your stress. There are some tracking devices that can be used by children of all ages so you can see their location at any given time. GPS devices such as iSee:My Children are able to track your child anywhere there is a GPS signal or Wi-Fi. Via an app on your mobile phone, you will be able to see your child’s location in real time. You can also set geo-fencing zones so you will be alerted when they wander out of the assigned zone and again when they wander back in. An additional function includes an SOS button they can press that alerts you when they are in trouble so you can locate them in an emergency.
Like most aspects of parenting, good old fashioned common sense prevails. Ensuring good communication at all times with discussions about the dangers in life, in a language to suits that age of your children will prevent them from becoming scared. Establishing this line of good communication will ensure that this topic becomes normal and a part of their lives as common as telling them to clean their teeth.