No kid likes playing indoors all the time—they yearn for fresh air and the freedom of the outdoors. As parents, you may sometimes have to mitigate those desires with the need to keep your kids safe. To that end, here are three rules which you should teach your kids about how to play outside safely.
Don’t Hide In or Around Cars
Children who play outdoors need to be taught a fundamental truth: Cars have the potential to be very dangerous, even if they are parked. Kids love to play hide and seek or run near where cars may drive. As such, they should be taught not be hide in unlocked cars or under parked ones. After all, you never know when the driver may return to their car and drive off, accidentally taking the child with them for an unwanted ride. This also goes for cars which are parked. Fifty children are backed over each week because drivers could not see them. Children under five years old are the most at risk. This is why it’s very important to teach your kids to not play at the ends of driveways.
There’s a Difference Between Good and Bad Strangers
When it comes to kids and strangers, there is a tough balance to achieve. On one hand, we want our children to be aware that there are bad people in the world who have bad intentions, but on the other hand, the vast majority of people are good and well-intended. As such, it’s important that parents teach kids how to recognize the difference. Good strangers, for example, are adults in positions of authority. Bad strangers are adults who may try to separate kids from their parents or familiar places or adults who just make a kid uncomfortable. Teach them these warning signs, and remind them that it is okay to get an adult if they are scared or nervous.
Know When to Get an Adult
Kids who are old enough to play outside should know when they have encountered a situation in which they need a grownup. As such, parents and adults should be very clear: If you need help, here is how to get it, and here is where to find us. Common situations include a child being hurt, being approached by someone who makes them uncomfortable, hazardous weather, discovering unfamiliar objects (such as syringes or weapons), and finding injured animals. In situations like these, it’s always better to tell a child to err on the side of caution.
A child needs to learn independence and self-reliance in order to become a fully-functioning adult. However, they shouldn’t be expected to learn these lessons too early. As parents, your job is to try to walk that fine line between encouraging safety and helping your child learn how to be their own person. Follow these tips, and you will be well on your way to ensuring that your child can learn how to play outside in a way that is fun, safe, and enriching.
Playing outside is important for kids. Let Recess Cleveland create a great outdoor event for your kids!