Kids Need To Play Outside, How Do You Do That Safely?
If you are a baby boomer then you‘ll remember the good old days when you played outside all day and complained vehemently when you were told to go inside for the night. If you take a look outside these days the streets are fairly empty with few people even walking on the sidewalk or playing in the grass. We’ve become somewhat paranoid and the game has changed. It seems like the children have lost their freedom to play safely outside by themselves and with their friends. Instead we now have very controlled environments of driving your child to a friend’s house or taking them to various extra curricular activities. While this is still valid I find it a shame that we are victims of fear in this society.
We also have more children becoming couch potatoes watching TV or playing video games. You’ve probably noticed obesity on the rise in America and this is true for our children as well. But we can have some of the good old days back and here are some things you can do to make it safer to let your kids play outside; 1)If several kids on your street that play together, you can get together as adults and assign on a rotating basis who will keep an eye on all the kids while the others are getting important things done. But do this job with great care. You have precious little future adults that still look to you for safety.
2)Better still, play games with them. Someone who is looking to annoy, tease or do harm, is less likely to do so if active adults are on the scene. 3)Prepare for possible emergency. A family plan firmly in place and understood by all and *drilled*, may be more successful then not having a plan at all. An example of something you can do, is hang a whistle on a string. Every time the kids go out they put the whistle around their necks. They are taught that they blow the whistle hard in an emergency situation only! Tell them the cry wolf story and let them know what the consequences are for blowing the whistle in a non emergency situation. Can you imagine if all parents in your area are grooved in on this and you hear a whistle go off, you may have half a dozen people or more flying out the door instantly to investigate. 4)Last year on the Oprah Winfrey show there was a family that had an emergency plan in place that was quite ingenious. In a prior family meeting they developed a code and I believe it was a number code, but any simple code would suffice.
They were told never ever reveal the code to anyone for any reason. It paid off because a man approached their younger daughter and told her, that her parents wanted him to bring her home. She asked him for the code. He could not produce one and instantly she ran and averted a potential disaster. On the show, Oprah tried to get the girl to reveal the code but the little girl remained true and would not reveal it. She was highly praised by Oprah and I thought this was a fantastic plan the parents had come up with. It worked for them and could possibly work for you. 5)Adults are obviously much stronger than children but that doesn’t mean that a child cannot hurt an adult. Karate or Tae Kwan Do classes can be of benefit to boys and girls. It can not only build character and strength, but it can also teach them how to get out of certain grips and holds and where to hit in an emergency situation.
It may be enough to get away. Also, it’s a great way to keep them fit and healthy. 6)I think that the best thing you can do is teach your child to be aware. If children learn early on basic safety precautions, it becomes a life long habit. Do you remember as a kid walking down the street, staring at the sidewalk as you were walking? Teach your children not to do that. Have them scan ahead and all around. This will do two things; a) they can spot potential trouble ahead of time and b) it gets you out of your head and seeing the world around you. This is good for you to do as well. Kids need to play and be social and it’s ok to get dirty sometimes. I see it all the time with my grandchildren that they are the most happy and energetic when they are outside.
They actually fight less and work more as a team with each other and their friends when they can safely play outside. Make yourself and your children more aware and for peat sake, have some fun!.