As a parent, caring for and keeping your child safe is your number one priority. However, that doesn’t mean that you should keep a watchful eye on them every minute of their lives. The day your little one starts asking to play out alone or with their friends can certainly be scary, but it’s one that we all must deal with eventually. As long as your child is mature enough to go out alone, there’s little reason why they shouldn’t. To ensure that they stay safe, here are five helpful tips.
Establish Some Ground Rules
Your child may be mature enough to be sensible and take care of themselves, but that doesn’t mean that they should be free to do whatever they want. After all, some places simply aren’t safe for children of any age or maturity. For this reason, your kids should know exactly where they can and can’t go, as well as the reasons for this. They should also be told a definitive time to come home and the consequences that they will face if they break any of the rules you have set.
Speak About The Dangers
While you shouldn’t scare your children into staying indoors, you do need to teach them about the dangers they may face when they head out alone. Getting lost, exposure to drugs and alcohol, traffic, bullying, and strangers are all much bigger threats when you’re not around to protect your little one. Your child should not only know about these risks but how to avoid and escape them. Learning to cross the road safely and find trusted adults is particularly crucial.
Give Them Your Details
Before letting your little one roam the neighborhood, you must ensure that they have memorized your name, phone number, and address. After all, if they get lost, they’ll struggle to make their way home without it. If they have a hard time remembering these details, then you may want to consider buying them a phone and installing the Family Orbit app. This ensures that you and your child always have a way to contact one another and means that you can track their location.
Build Up Their Confidence
Giving your child too much freedom too soon can be a huge mistake. They could get lost or hurt themselves, which puts them in danger and can make them scared to go out alone again. For this reason, you should start this process slowly and build up your child’s confidence over time. Begin by letting them play in the front yard by themselves and then around the neighborhood. Eventually, harder challenges, like walking to school alone each day will be fun and easy.
Talk About Their Outings
Even after your child has been spending time outside alone for a while, you should still discuss their outings when they come home. This shows that you’re interested in what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with, but also allows you to spot any potentially dangerous behaviors and nip them in the bud. If your child mentions going somewhere unsafe, for example, you can ask them not to go there. If they’re secretive when they come home, you should look into the reasons why.
Letting your child play outside alone is definitely a scary decision, but, with the tips above, you should be able to keep your little one safe.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.