Safety rules of behavior for parents of tweens

I'm very happy to welcome today's guest poster Kim Estes of Savvy Parents, Safe Kids. Kim is  a child safety expert with 15 years of experience educating parents who works tirelessly to help us keep our kids safe.

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Safety is rarely convenient. Model it anyway.

When it comes to teaching tweens about safety, “Practice what you preach” goes a long way.  Even kids with iPOds permanently glued into their ears are still watching what you are doing.  Watching, learning and repeating your actions. Sometimes a non-verbal safety lesson is the better alternative to just talking until you are blue in the face. Especially, since it feels like half the time they are tuning us out anyway!

Be a “super model Mom & daily safety Dad”! Every day you have subtle ways to model safety to your tweens. You may be surprised however, to realize how often you make unsafe choices. Yes, we are talking to you!  If you want your tween to grow up and make safe choices, then make sure you are modeling those behaviors yourself. By starting now, you will have less of an uphill battle over family safety rules if you have established them as a household rule that you all follow.

Model Behaviors for parents:

No child left behind.

You’re tired… your kids are hungry… there is a pile of homework to get started on. You just want to get home. Yet, as you swing in to pick up your kids, you notice 3 kids still waiting outside for a ride.  Stay! Here’s why staying is important….

  • Your kids know that even though it is not convenient to stay, it is the safe thing to do.
  • By staying until those kids are picked up you are sending the message that every kid’s safety is important.
  • The buddy system is an important tool in personal safety (even for adults).

Statistics indicate that the chances of a stranger snatching those kids are probably going to be rare.  However, as our tweens are out and about more, it is important that they practice personal safety and an important safety tool is using the buddy system. The buddy system is life lesson that will be of great importance as they enter work life and campus life in a few years. Now is the time to take a look at the bigger picture when it comes to our tweens safety. These lessons they learn now will help them be a safe young adult later.  That same young adult that will stop a friend from walking home alone across campus at night or asking for assistance to their car in the mall parking lot after work or knowing it is not safe to get in the car with someone who has been drinking or leave a friend behind at a party.

Want tweens to learn about safe driving habits? Start modeling good driving behavior. Tweens spend endless hours in the car and will learn their future driving habits from you.

  • Stop using your hand held phone while driving
  • Don’t text or e-mail while driving. Ever.
  • Watch your speed.
  • Pay attention to those yellow-but- just-about-to-turn-red traffic signals.
  • Be a more thoughtful – less aggressive – driver.
  • Don’t pick up hitchhikers (Yes! People still do this! )
  • Don’t drink then drive. (Think about it.. do you want your soon-to-be-teen to drink “just one beer” and then drive?)

Tweens are not “little adults” but in so many ways, they want to be treated more grown up. If you layer loads of safety rules on them that you are not willing to practice yourself, they will only see the rules as another way you are treating them like a “baby”.  When it comes to safety we want our children to be confident and strong. The more your tween see you modeling safe behavior, the more likely they will do the same.  Making safety a collaborative conversation and not a battle of the wills, can make the tween transition to safety a smoother one.

About the Author:  Kim Estes is the owner of Savvy Parents Safe Kids and has worked with parents for over 15 years, educating them on various parenting topics. Kim is a certified prevention educator through the National Security Alliance, the Kid Safe Network and is a Darkness 2 Light facilitator. As a Child Safety Expert, Kim has appeared on local and national TV and Radio shows, helping to raise awareness on the importance of prevention education. For more information about her work or to schedule a workshops go to: www.SavvyParentsSafeKids.com.  You can find her on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Filed under: Safety

Tags: driving, kids, leave, model, parents, safety, tweens

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