Are you concerned with the media’s frequent devastating news about child abduction, child molestation, or even the always-surprising school shootings?
It seems that, from year to year, the risks for children continue to increase drastically, or at least more light is being shed on them. 2020 may have allowed you to be closer with your child more frequently, but with 2021 vaccinations spreading rapidly, it should be of parental concern how we can keep our children safer each year to counteract the negative statistics.
Like any parent, you are probably concerned and wondering what actions you can take this year to protect your kids. It’s important to take steps without letting the stats get to your head and make you overbearing, which often happens when you feel you can’t control the situation.
While you may not be able to control what your child is doing out of your sight, or what strangers are doing to children, there are some things you can do that will provide you with more control and feelings of relief and reassurance.
Having a tracking device installed into your child’s mobile device, developing better communication within your child’s community, and encouraging open communication with your child are three strategies you don’t want to neglect.
Mobile Device Tracking
Your child, unlike pets, does not need a chip installed or a collar around their neck to tell you where they are at any given time. Your child’s “chip” or “collar” is their mobile device(s), which is basically attached to most people, adults included.
Thanks to the smartphone, tracking your child is easier than ever. An easy method is using sites like Family Orbit, which gives you the ability to track your child’s phone, therefore them.
As a rule of thumb, you should let your child know that you have the ability to track their phone, was there a situation in which they were not responding. To make it “fair” to your child, and give them a sense of security, rather than punishment or distrust, you can also give them permission to track you for the same reason. This privilege and communication will inspire a stronger bond with your child, as they know you are just doing it out of love for them.
A Child’s Community
Children are more active than any age. Whether they are in sports, at school, hanging out with friends, or attending one of their interests, your child has a large community we don’t often think of.
A child’s community consists of various people, such as teachers, friends, friends’ parents, coaches, instructors, and the list goes on. The first step to building a stronger connection and safety net around your child’s community is to get in contact. Make sure you have the contact information of your child’s friends (who have cell phones), their parents, coaches, and instructors, etc. Teachers are not obligated to give out this information, but anyway you can develop a meaningful relationship with your child’s teacher will ensure that they are looking out for them too.
The second step is to develop authentic communication with these individuals. Letting them know that you want to build relationships with these people, not necessarily close like best friends, will help establish that relationship, build a sense of trust, and strengthen the safety net as other adults are looking out for your kid, and you theirs.
Open-Communication with Your Child
Parents tend to believe that they cannot develop a strong relationship with open communication with their kids until they are adults and can “understand” something better. The truth is, you can begin developing open, honest, and loving communication with your child right now.
Letting them know these changes from a place of love helps them understand why you are concerned, why you want to be more involved with the people in their lives, and how you plan to be more involved with them. Any change you make, you should discuss openly with your child, especially things that make them feel punished, restricted, or less independent. And you should honor their independence, by openly expressing your trust for them.
A great example is when they are sleeping at a friend’s house. Some parents will use the fact that they have their child’s friend’s parent’s number as a threat, so they don’t lie or make any mistakes. Instead, letting them know you have their number, and them yours, for safety reasons and honoring your word to only use it for safety reasons, builds integrity and is valuable to them!