One of the biggest worries that we have as parents, is ensuring that our children are safe at all times. We worry about them when they are at school, home or when they are playing out of sight. I do not know about you, but I am constantly worrying about them, but this is heightened when I know they are off on a school trip or worse still a residential trip where this means staying over night away from home. Infact I worry about them going on a sleepover at a friends house to be honest, but then I am a born worrier!
However, whether it is me taking my children on a day trip or their school, it is imperative that safety rules are in place to not only ease my mind and other parents’ minds, but to , of course, help to keep our kids safe.
Here are some tips on how to ensure kids are kept safe on days out while still ensuring they develop some independence:
Talk to Your Kids
Before going away on a day trip, it is important to talk to your children. Explain to them where you are taking them and where possible, tell them what to expect. Remind them that a day out is a fun treat but that they still need to follow the same rules they follow when they are at home. Remember, the more you talk to them, the better they’ll understand those rules, whether they be inside or outside the home.
You can begin teaching children about safety when they’re as young as two or three. Tell them clearly they must not and cannot just go off with anyone, not even someone they know, without asking you or the adult looking after them first. With older children, make sure they remember to tell you who they are going out with, where they are going and when they will be back.
Teach children to stay together.
From an early age, teach your children to stay close to Mum (or whichever adult is in charge of them) as your family moves around in crowded locations. Even at there supermarket, I have taught my to boys to stick together and if they lose sight of me, they must stay with one another and either I will find them or they can find me together. I gently, but firmly, remind them that it is their responsibility to keep up with me, not my responsibility to keep up with them, and they must not move where they can’t see me or go from one location/room to another without me/telling me first.
Point out safe people and adults in charge.
Again, whenever I take my children somewhere outside of the home be it a soft play centre, a supermarket, a campsite or wherever, I explain to them that if they were to lose me that they can approach adult employees by identifying uniforms or name tags. In busy public places, arrange somewhere safe to meet in case you get separated, like an information desk. Make sure children know what to do if they ever get lost, and explain who is safest to ask for help – a police officer, shop assistant or someone with a young child. Some places have a lost child safety meeting point and this is another place to point out to your child/children as well.
Of course it is never as easy as it seems when it comes to protecting your children and keeping them safe when out and about on holiday, on a day trip or even in a strange town or city. However much you think you have prepared you and your children for the occasion, something could easily go wrong. For peace of mind you could take extra steps to ensure your child is not able to be lost from you for too long. Keep a piece of paper on their person with your telephone number on in case they go missing and someone has found them and needs to contact you. Get your child/children to wear printed silicone wristbands which can be printed with your contact details so if your child gets separated from you the information is there for someone to get in touch with you.
There is no worse feeling than loosing your child or not being able to find them. It is the longest minutes of your life while you wait to locate them, and thankfully on the couple of occasions this has happened to me, my boys have been found safe and well. However, it just goes too show that no matter how prepared you are or think you are, kids are kids and they can slip out of your sight very quickly!