It can be challenging to let your young children have fun while ensuring they are safe. Letting your children play at other friend’s houses, or go on excursions with their buddies can be risky if you don’t know their friends very well. Below are a few tips to help ensure your children’s safety, while supporting their development of an active and healthy social life.
Sign Them Up For Extracurricular Activities
If you keep your kids busy with extracurricular activities such as sports, arts and crafts classes, and summer camps, you likely know where they are and what they are doing as they enjoy the opportunity to play and socialize with their friends. If your kids have not yet found extracurricular activities that are a good fit, use it as an opportunity to keep searching until they find an activity they enjoy. They can even sign up for extracurricular activities with their current friends, or utilize extracurricular activities as a way to make new friends.
If They Are Going To a Friend’s House, Get To Know the Parents
Whether riding the school bus home with a friend after school, going to a birthday party, or staying the night at a friend’s house, try to get to know the parents of the kid’s house they are going to. Try to gauge whether the parents have the same values as you, and ask any questions you may have. Primarily, who will be home with the kids, who will be transporting them to activities outside the home, and find out how they will be spending their time so that you can make sure your child has everything they need. For example, if your son or daughter will be going to a pool party, you should make sure they have waterproof sunscreen, sunglasses, and any floating devices if necessary.
Make Sure You Know Their Schedule, And Double Check
It is important to know where your kids are at all times. If your child has a cell phone, you can install a tracking app, with or without their knowledge, so that you can find them at all times. However, as your kids become older, busier, and more independent, you may want to create a schedule so that you know where they are when they are not with you. Also create a system for letting you know if plans change, and make sure to double check where they are with surprise visits, and specific questions about where they have been.
Host Fun Activities at Your House
One way to ensure you know where your kids are at all times, while giving them the time to socialize and have fun with their friends, is to host fun activities at your house. These fun activities should require a bit more time and attention to detail than simply inviting someone over to play or spend the night. For example, you could host a game night once a month, a baking party, a costume party, a movie marathon, or a holiday event.
The above tips are just a few thoughts to keep in mind to ensure that your kids have a reasonable amount of independence and are able to socially interact with kids their age while stay safe.
Byline: Andrea Potter recently decided to throw a costume party for her son, Alex, in order to meet all of his friends and understand his social circle more. Alex dressed up as a teenage mutant ninja turtle, much to the liking of his friends.