Give Your Child More Freedom While Keeping Them Safe
Many parents feel like their children aren’t afforded enough freedom and that their lives are more restricted than they once might have been. At the same time, it can be difficult not to worry about your children when it comes to very real dangers. Balancing allowing your children independence and freedom with keeping them safe can be tough, but it is possible.
If you want to give your child more freedom but make sure they stay safe at the same time, there are a few things that you can do to help them expand their horizons. Take a look at some of these tips to increase independence for your child.
1 – Decide Which Risks Can (and Should) Be Managed
Assessing risk is one of the most important things that you need to be able to do when it comes to your child. The difficulty is in being able to work out which are the real dangers and what’s scaremongering and fear that you can do without. It’s also necessary to keep in mind that you have to be able to accept some level of risk. When your child rides a bike, there’s a risk that they could fall off. But is that risk big enough to outweigh the benefits? Some risks can be managed, for example by making sure your child wears a helmet when riding their bike, while others can be all but ignored.
2 – Give Your Child the Skills They Need
Teaching your child the skills that they need to keep themselves as safe as possible is a key part of allowing them more freedom. As your child grows, you need to equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the world. You should be teaching them how to stay safe while crossing the road, how to swim, and even how to assess a situation to determine the level of risk. Of course, different children have different levels of maturity, so teaching them certain skills won’t always be enough on its own. They also need to be sensible and capable of following the rules they have been given.
3 – Keep Track of Your Family
When you allow your child to have more freedom, this might include allowing them to choose where they go and getting themselves to different places. It’s natural to worry about where they might be, but it doesn’t mean they should always have an escort.
One of the ways you can ease your mind is to give your child a mobile phone, making it possible to contact them whenever necessary. As outlined in this Family Orbit blog entry, you can also track your child’s mobile phone location. When you share locations with each other, you can see where they are and they can see where you are. If you do this, you should be open about it, rather than secretly track your child.
4- Set Rules
Clear rules for behavior are a must if you want to give your child more freedom. You want them to be able to make their own choices, but it’s also necessary to set boundaries for them. Not only will it help to ease your own anxiety, but it can be comforting for children to know what they can and cannot do. Think about what behavior you expect from them, whether it’s letting you know where they’re going and what they’re doing, or only allowing them to engage in certain activities.
5 – Gradually Build Trust
Being able to trust your child is also important if you want to allow them more freedom and independence. They should also be able to trust you and that you will give them the freedom that you have promised. Trust is something that you can build gradually, by allowing your child to take on different challenges. Setting tasks like going to the corner store with a shopping list coming home on time after going out to play will allow your child to prove that they can be trusted.
6 – Talk About Important Issues
Remember to continue talking about important issues and dangers that your child can face. This will help them to be prepared for the world at large so they can stay safe. Discuss things like stranger danger (as well as the risks posed by people they may have met before), traffic safety, and staying safe online too. Stay up to date on the risks that your child might face, while avoiding fear mongering noise that isn’t helpful.
Giving your child more freedom doesn’t mean letting them run wild. You can promote independence while also setting boundaries.
Photos by Wokandapix