On the day you became a parent, you assumed the greatest responsibility of your life — to protect your child in every sense of the word. It's a big job! While there is no one way to parent, and your child's needs are always growing and changing, your instinct to protect your child will remain a constant. Here are five things to help you foster a safe home environment, prepare your children for daily life, and stay involved as a parent.
Prevent Household Poisoning
Most houses are stocked with a lineup of cleaners, detergents, and medicines. And as a parent, you know that it's important to keep these things in safe and secure places, out of reach. The question is, do you actually do that? Children are naturally curious, which explains a lot as far as household poisoning goes. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to prevent accidents. If you have older children, don't underestimate their ability to deal with an emergency if necessary, or help to keep a watchful eye out on any younger siblings.
Give Pests the Boot
Outdoor play is so important for the health and happiness of everyone, especially children. But a fun day outside could easily be ruined by angry wasps — so while you're all gearing up for another fun summer outside, make sure your home and yard are safe zones first. Hiring an eco-friendly exterminator to locate and address any issues is invaluable for the health and safety of your child, and your peace of mind as well. And if anyone in your house is allergic to stings, this is an absolute necessity!
Teach Street Smarts
One of the most critical things you can do for your children is to prepare them for everyday life outside of your home, from basic common sense to knowing what to do in an emergency. For a little backup support and ways to introduce sometimes sensitive topics, add a few books to your home library, and read and discuss them together. Of course, actual experience can be the best teacher of all, so remember the importance of encouraging independence. Even the littlest kids can learn a lot from taking a walk around the neighborhood with you, learning about crosswalks and watching for oncoming cars. Older children could be given the freedom to take public transportation to meet a friend, or walk home from school. You know your child best, so use your best judgement.
Make Helmets Mandatory
It's a well known fact that wearing a helmet goes a long way in preventing major injuries. Make this a hard and fast rule: nobody gets on a bike or scooter or skateboard or anything with wheels, until their helmet is on (and fits correctly). And since your child looks up to you, the last thing you want to do is discount your credibility by not adhering to the same rule. Always lead by example, and wear your helmet on your next family bike ride.
Monitor Online Activity
With so many children becoming tech whizzes by kindergarten, children are more connected today than ever. This can be a really positive thing, or a parent's worst nightmare if not managed well. What your child does and is exposed to online is definitely your business, so be prepared to add this to your list of ever growing responsibilities. Having a chat with older children about the potential dangers of online activity can be a bonding experience for the two of you, letting your child know that they can trust you, and that you have their best interest in mind. And if they don't get that yet, they will someday. Promise.
There's no question that parenting can be a lot to handle. Life has a way of throwing curveballs, sometimes more often than you'd like — but by teaching, communicating, and working with your child, you'll rest easier, and so will they.