Summertime brings fun activities and laughter to young kids, but it can also mean stress and anxiety for parents. Children are outside more, often in a less restricted environment than a classroom, which means less supervision as well. It’s important to teach children certain tips and rules that will help keep them safe.
The most important tip is to just maintain strong communication when engaging in summertime activities. Teach children to always ask permission before going somewhere new with friends, leaving the yard or neighborhood that is considered the “safe zone” or trying something new with friends. Summertime brings many outdoor opportunities, such as swimming, hiking, bike riding and exploring. It’s important for parents to require their children to ask for permission before participating in such activities. Marc Klaas, whose 12 year old daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered in 1993, agrees that it is imperative for parents to be aware of their children’s whereabouts, and also for the child to know that someone is always aware of their location. This will allow the parent and child to be in sync, so that if a child became lost or wasn’t where he/she was supposed to be, action can be taken quickly to locate the child.
Summer camp is an experience that every child should have, but there are important guidelines to follow when sending your child off to any type of camp. First, when examining a camp look at things such as location, activities, etc., but also ask about staff experience, adult to child ratio during activities, first aid and what type of communication is available. Peter Stavinoha is a neuropsychologist who believes staying in touch with your child during camp is important. Some camps offer websites with pictures of the campers, while others allow cell phones so parents and children can keep in touch daily. Ask questions about the daily activities and the interactions with staff members so you know what’s going on with your child.
Many children spend summer days playing outside with friends, swimming, riding bikes, running, etc. During the hottest months of summer, it is important to keep kids hydrated so they don’t experience heat stroke. Many times, kids are so involved in their play, they don’t realize that their bodies are becoming dehydrated. Giving kids a water bottle and reminding them to fill it throughout the day is a good way to avoid dehydration. Thomas Grogan says that it really doesn’t matter what the child is drinking, whether it’s water, a sports drink with electrolytes or flavored water, but it’s the volume that is important. One way to measure whether a child is drinking enough fluids is to monitor how many times they have to use the restroom. If a child goes hours without urinating, he/she may need to consume more fluids.
Summertime can be full of new and exciting experiences. There are plenty of opportunities for kids to grow and develop new interests, but it can also be dangerous if parents are not monitoring their child’s behaviors. Following these tips and guidelines can help your child have a safe and enjoyable summer, which means less worrying for you.