Parents: Do you know what your children are into this summer?
By Matthew Hite Amarillo, Texas
YIPPEE it’s summer time, kids are out and about, staying up late, sleeping in… Some organized activies but LOT and LOT of free time… WAIT! Parents this is a fun time for your kids but please be vigilant with what your kids are doing and where they are going.
Sometimes kids go and stay at their friends houses for a day or two or hang out all day places. Do you know where they are, exactly, and what they are doing? If they are staying at a friends or neighbors, cousins, schoolmates, etc; Do you know who else is there and what type activities go on there?
This is a breeding ground for lots of activities that you may NOT want your kiddos involved in or it could be a great safe and enjoyable experience for your kiddos. How do you know?
Did you know that Childcare’s are required to screen visitors and keep your kids safe but they are also required to allow parent to watch, visit, and see exactly what goes on in the childcare. Even with this policy bad things happen in childcares everyday. It would be GREAT if these same policies were in place everywhere our children go, but that’s not the case. If your kiddos are going somewhere and you don’t have access to them or can’t check on them…… Something is WRONG!
Here is a quick check-list of things you can do to make sure your kiddos are safe AND not into anything you don’t want them to be in.
- Keep in touch, Cell phones are a great thing
- Be honest and open with your kids about expectations while they are away from the house.
- Know and talk with the parents, adults and people that are around your kiddos
- An unannounced drop by to check on your kiddos is a GREAT idea, anytime.
- Check your kiddos social media and internet and see what they are posting and who they are with
- If you are uncomfortable with a situation just tell your kiddo(s) “NO” but be real with them and tell them why.
- Talk with your kiddo(s) make sure they know how to keep there body safe AND to get away if they become uncomfortable for any reason.
- Let your kiddo(s) know that you are there fro them and even if they are embarrassed or uncomfortable; they can trust you to be there for them, no matter what and that they can tell you anything, anytime! Open honest dialog.
- Be part of your kiddos life, do things with them and there friends. Take interest in them and their activities!
Please use this check-list when they go to friends houses, go to a camp, enroll in a program or spend a lot of time anywhere.
It’s important with all the drugs going around that your children know the boundaries you have set for them and that YOU help them keep those boundaries and help them stay safe and secure. There are many predators out there as well; know whom your kiddos are around and what influences those people have on them and what they are doing.
DO THINGS with your KIDDO
Did you know that enrolling in a class, program or activity with your child is a great way to get to know them and learn with them? You get to see their friends and interactions with others and become a more in-depth part of their life. Your kiddo will learn that we all learn, even as parents and its ok not to be in control all the time.
It is important to note that some kiddos get embarrassed when their parents are directly involved. Sometimes your kiddos need to be away to grow more independent and to learn on there own. As a parent you can’t shelter your kiddos and be there every second of everyday.
OPEN DOOR POLICY
The AAYC has an open door policy, we invite you to come to any of our programs with your kid(s). Join the program and participate if you’ like. The more adults and parent we have the better. All our programs are designed so that the kiddos can go independently or with an older family member.
The AAYC also screens all our volunteers and staff to make sure they are safe and our administrative team is always watching the classes, programs, activities, other adults, parents and even kids because we want YOUR children to be safe. Make sure the places your kiddos go are safe for your kids.
The AAYC Child Safety Initiative is one way WE work with our community, families and law enforcement agencies to keep your kids, our kids safe as we help develop them into future leaders of Amarillo.
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