We want our kids to be active. We want them to put aside their screens and get out in the fresh air and get some healthy exercise.
But we worry about their safety. The trick is to teach them. A good New Year’s Resolution is to actively engage in teaching our kids how to get out and about safely. You can even start right away, no need to wait until the New Year.
Street Smarts for Parents and Kids
It’s dark and rainy and bleak, all of which makes it harder to see pedestrians. We want our children to get outside and play and be active. So, it’s important to make sure they are trained to be safe.
When I walk with my grandchildren I talk, I talk about why I am taking a certain route, about how to identify crosswalks and the steps to take before stepping off the curb. Recently I was out with my granddaughter and saw her turn toward a stopped vehicle at the crosswalk. As we started to cross, she explained that she had made eye contact with the driver to guarantee that he saw us. Good for her.
What can parents do to help their kids be safe on the streets?
I believe the most important is to be a role model. If you grab your youngster and run across the street mid-block, realize that you are teaching her how to cross the road. Is this what you want her to learn?
When you are out walking with your children teach them about road safety. Besides being a good role model talk about what is going on in the streets all around you. With younger children make it interactive by having them point out all the traffic signs they see and ask if they know what they mean.
Always cross the street at the intersection and walk your kids through the process. They need to stop, make sure the vehicles have stopped. Tell them that it’s a good idea to make eye contact with the driver so you are sure he knows you are about cross.
Look left, right and then left again before you cross. And listen to see if you can hear any vehicles.
And teach them to walk briskly straight across the street.
Walk with your kids to the park, their friend’s place and the schoolyard. When you walk teach them the safest route. They should also avoid short cuts through parking lots where drivers are more distracted.
If you are chauffeuring kids around the law requires that the child use a booster seat until they are 4’ 9” tall or at least 9 years of age, so make sure their booster seat goes with them wherever they go.
You also need to talk to your older kids. As they become more independent, they’re probably looking forward to unsupervised outings with friends. It’s important to go over the rules of the road with them too, especially since an adult won’t always be there to guide them. Help them plan safe routes they can take with their friends and give them a road safety refresher – remind them to never cross a street mid-block, put away their phone and remove their headphones especially when crossing, make sure all lanes of traffic have stopped before they cross and discuss the importance of making eye contact with drivers whether at an intersection or in a parking lot.
When we teach our children from a young age how to walk safely from one place to another, we are raising kids who will be more active. When they and their friends do not need to always count on a parent with a car to get to the park and play, they will be able to get outside and play. And we all want our kids to be getting more exercise and fresh air.
Teach them well. Walk with them at first, then have them take the lead and tell you what they are doing and why. Include the friends they are likely to be playing with in the instruction.
Then open the door and let them enjoy the magic of play in the outdoors.
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
Next time you’re sitting in the doctor’s office, lying on the couch fighting a cold or on transit and wish you had something to read, think about Parenting Today’s digital parenting books.
You can choose from Who’s in Charge Anyway? which talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women.Vive la Différence focuses on specific parenting issues.
The first two are also available in print. Just log onto the store on the site and they are yours for the reading.