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How to Raise a Safety Conscious Tween

by Lori Sciame | December 4th, 2014 | Safety, Tweens

tween girl (400x400)Parents have a lot to worry about when it comes to children.  They worry about providing the right nutrition, the right environment for learning, and the right amount of loving discipline.  Add another worry to the list: a child’s physical safety.

On top of everything else, a parent must teach a child to be wary of certain safety hazards.  For example, in cold climates, a child needs to be taught to stay off thin ice, as drowning is a real concern.

But how does one go about making safety a priority?  As a parent of three children, I can relate a few tips on how to do just that.

First, make safety issues a priority in family discussions.  This does not mean that a parent’s goal is to scare the child about possible scary situations.  On the contrary, focus on being matter of fact about safety concerns.

A great example concerns bicycle safety.  When your tween wants to ride his or her bike, review the rules, including helmet use.  Remind the child that cars weigh over one thousand pounds, so it makes sense to be a defensive rider!

And remember, just because a tween is becoming more independent, that doesn’t mean he no longer needs reminders about bike safety.  Even adults can forget that a bicycle is considered a vehicle, so one should ride with traffic if not on a bike path.

Basically, keep the dialogue on safety concerns flowing, and you are one step closer to a safe child.

Another way to raise a safety conscious teen is to reward safe behaviors.  Think about it.  We jump to punish a child who has acted recklessly, but do we remember to reward a child for acting in a prudent manner?

Take, for instance, the tween girl who remembered to call home the first time her mother allowed  her daughter to walk the quarter mile to her friend’s house.  The mom should thank the child for being responsible, and let her know that one simple check in meant all the difference to her!

Getting in the habit of rewarding safe behavior will come in handy in the future as well. When a child grows into a teenager – one who obtains a driver’s license – those who value safety will most likely be better drivers.  Most know that teens who drive safely, and who resist speeding, will invariably be rewarded with lower insurance rates.

A final way to promote safety in your home: act in a safe manner yourself.  I know it can be difficult to be a role model, but doing so will certainly enhance your efforts.

If, for instance, you use a ladder in an unsafe manner, you begin to negate your efforts to promote a safe household.  And if you run with scissors, your tween will certainly turn a deaf ear to your plea for safe behavior.

Yes, being a parent can be an overwhelming job; however, if you help to develop your child’s safety sense, you won’t have to worry quite so much.


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