The world was a lot simpler BC – Before Children. Remember when you could leave things around the house without worrying little people would eat it or injure themselves or others with it. Once the kids come along suddenly everything becomes a consideration for their safety, and seen in a different light. Of course, we wouldn’t give them up for the world so we create spaces in our homes and lives where we can be sure they are safe. One of the most important areas has to be a safe, fun and spacious play area. Pergolas or other shaded areas are perfect. Being close to the house you can keep an eye on the kids and this also provides shelter from the elements.
Designate a Kids Area
One of the issues with regards to kids playing is a play area, if it isn’t given a specific defined area can quickly take over the whole house. While you may start off with a kids only area soon you find toys, bikes, lego pieces and discarded cups everywhere! It is important for the back garden to be a space the entire family can enjoy, which is why designating a kid’s area is essential. Make sure the kids understand that in their designated area they can play to their hearts content and leave things lying around, but any toys taken outside the area must be put back in their place as soon as they’ve finished.
Visibility and Safety
Another benefit of having a kid’s play area is you can control the environment. Make sure the area is visible from the house without too much effort, and easily accessible if you need to step in. It’s also a good idea to make sure pavers or grass are kept neat and maintained to prevent too many accidents. Perhaps try and have the area with a soft surface, as you won’t be able to convince the kids to slow down!
In our harsh New Zealand sun, it’s vitally important to make sure kids are protected from sunburn. As little as ten minutes in direct sunlight during a hot day can cause damage to delicate child skin, and with studies showing links between childhood sun burn and adult skin cancer, you can never be too careful. Creating a shaded space is one of the best ways to ensure that your children stay safe and cool.
Pergolas, louvres and shade sails are available from Auckland Pergolas Patios and Carports. Ph 09 281 4623 – www.appcltd.co.nz
As scary as it may be, parents need to talk to their kids about people who might want to hurt them. The best way to protect your children is to get them involved in their own protection:
Parents need to be aware of possible predators. Typical signs are: someone who seems too good to be true, who offers extensive help to your family, who knows too much about your kids or kids in general, especially if they don't have children of their own. You should know all adults who you allow to have contact with your child.
Talk to your kids about pedophiles as soon as they can understand what you mean. As early as 3-5 years old, when kids begin to interact with the world, they're subject to being victims.
Tell your child you love them no matter what. Remind them that they can tell you anything and you will still love them with all your heart.
Don't be afraid that you're scaring your kids, but don't ask them to deal with adult issues either. Speak to them in age-appropriate language and give them instructions about what to do. They will feel empowered by knowing how to protect themselves. Be careful sharing your own experiences if you were a victim of sexual molestation, for example. Providing too many details and rehashing the tragedy can create a sexually charged environment and be harmful for your children in the long run.
Kids need to know that they have the right to say no, yell, or ask for help. It may contradict what they know about respecting adults, but if they feel threatened, they have permission to make a scene, or to run away to a public place. And they need to know they won't get into trouble if they were wrong. Let them know that no one has the right to hurt them. Teach your child to call you if a stranger arrives when there are no other adults around.
Make sure your kids know what is acceptable behaviour, and what is out-of-bounds. Make sure they understand that there are private areas of their bodies that no one else should touch.
Rehearse your child's response to danger. If he/she doesn't practice it, your child won't really know what to do. Telling your child to yell for help isn't enough. In the face of danger, a child could forget, so rehearse, role-play, and practice what your child should do.
Remind your children that predators don't necessarily look scary or strange. A dangerous person could look like the person next door, or even be someone they know.
We love to Linku2 childcare options, information and advice for those little treasures in your life!