Making a safer world for kids and in particular my kid….
There is always a level of inner peace while my ten year old sleeps. Although tall for his age, in his dream state he is just a baby, all snuggled up and safe.
However while awake, similar to all parents of active pre-teen boys or girls, I struggle on a daily basis to get the balance right; the balance between keeping him safe and letting him develop his independence, explore his sense of adventure and to use up some of the never-ending energy that keeps him constantly on the move.
I strongly believe in an active lifestyle- he plays sports (predominantly soccer and cricket) and is encouraged to be outside. I detest seeing him inside moving from one screen to the next.
So although I am not convinced my approach is perfect, I see wisdom in prevention over cure and although I do not want him to feel that he is wrapped in cotton wool, stifled from experiencing life or fearful to try, I do believe education is the key to making the world a safer place for kids. Why wouldn’t I arm him with knowledge on how to keep himself safe? From the earliest age he has been shown how to cross a road, to look left and right and left again, to listen out for cars, to the point where it is now instinctual. Not to run in car parks, to let a ball go without chasing it onto a road and to check the depth of water before he jumps in. To definitely climb a tree, but to look what is under and consider how high he should go. He knows how to cook using a stove and an oven… the BBQ is next. The cooking still supervised for now, but practising every time for the day it isn’t.
He has bikes, scooters, a billycart-like contraption, but the rule is simple, no helmet equals no wheels. Lastly, I try to stay vigilant and know where he is and what general activity he is up to. At the end of the day, I am the adult, the parent and responsible to lead and guide where he is unsure or unaware.
So, will my approach work to make it a safer world for kids, and in particular my kid? Only time will tell, but I hope and think so. I know a preventable accident can take split seconds to change lives and, by their very nature, were never meant to happen. So I will keep teaching, showing and explaining so if one of those split seconds ever comes our way, he is prepared…….