How to keep your children safe when they are away from home?
During the summer holidays, children will want to go and visit their friends, go to the park, go into town or generally want to be out and about. It is a learning curve in their development and the next step in their independence and maturity. However, as children may think they are old enough to go out alone, it has to be the parent’s decision to know if they are ready and sensible enough to face the real world and to understand all safety measures. It is easy enough to keep your children safe at home where you can see them and look after them, but how do you keep your children safe away from home?
For parents, it is to understand their child’s level of maturity and if they are ready to go out on their own. It also comes down to where they are going, who with and what they are planning to do? These are all important questions for every parent to know and to make sure you ask the child and for them to understand how important it is to be truthful. Set some boundaries and rules before they go out. This demonstrates you are trusting them to go out, but they are also respecting your boundaries to not go to certain a place and be home at a definite time. In addition, as well as letting them go out on their own and knowing where they are going, it is vital that you have some sort of communication with them and always have a way to reach them.
Safety measures and risks can vary depending on the age of the child. For younger, children going to the park or across the road to their friends, can be at risk of possibly talking to strangers or getting lost. For older children and teenagers, where they are going and what they are planning to do can be completely different. These can include, running into running into gangs, exposure to alcohol or drugs or grooming. However, for whatever age and for whatever risk, parents need to understand what risks are involved, how they can be prevented but to also ensure the children are aware of these and what to do if something happens.
Allowing your child to go out on their own is something a parent and child both need to be ready for. It is part of their growing up and their independence. As much as it might frighten parents for the first time, it is a way for a child to feel independent and to develop their confidence. It allows them to have their own responsibility and to their demonstrate maturity and their approach to facing challenges and risks that might arise.