This is a hard time for a mom when a child reaches the age of ten. Children vie for more freedom yet with the way our world is today children cannot run the neighborhood like we did as children 30 and 40 years ago. A child when I grew up everyone knew everyone living around them for blocks. Parents watched out for and reprimanded children who were getting out of control, without the fear of reprisal from the kids or parents.
If you did something wrong at your friend’s home and a neighbor saw you, chances were that your mother knew what you had done before you made it through the front door of your home, because the neighbor had called to tell her what happened. People looked out for each other and felt a sense of community then, unlike today where neighbors shoot each other over getting the wrong mail and where one parks their car.
We no longer know those living around our home, except for those living directly next door. Who can your child go to in an emergency? Which neighbor is safe if a child is lost? How do you keep your child safe while he or she waits at a bus stop for the school bus? Although cell phones are a wonderful convenience in reality they take time to turn on and use in an emergency. Safely kept in a pocket or purse how does one manage to get it out and dial for help to mom when they are in need of advice. Two-way radios might be safer option than a cell phone for younger children.
My 10 ˝ year old has taken to walking the dog several times daily. I imagine this is because with walking the dog there is a sense of freedom. Since he has decided to do this on his own, without his big sister accompanying him, we have decided on a few safety rules when out walking the dog.
• I know what route he takes every time.
• When he wants to vary the route he must tell me before hand.
• He knows not to talk to strangers.
• My son carries a two-way radio with him when he leaves the house.
Two-way radios are nice as they come in smaller sizes for younger children, and are relatively easy to use, once they master holding the button the entire time they are talking. In an emergency the radio can be used while running or one can be taught to simply deploy and hold the talk button so mom can hear if something is happening.
For instance, if our dog meets another dog and a fight might ensue. By deploying the button while talking to our dog I can hear that he is concerned there might be a problem and head out the door. There is no reason a child this age cannot carry a cell phone in addition to the two-way radio in the event he or she needs to call 911.
My son has his own two-way radio marked with his name and the charger is kept in his room on the desk. My daughter has one in her room and the parents have one as well. This allows him to be responsible for keeping his radio charged. When he is ready to go on a walk he turns on his radio and brings mom her radio.
He announces when he is leaving and checks in about half way around the block, and he announces his return to home base. The funniest part about the whole deal is our beagle mix, Abi-normal has quickly picked up on the cue that when my son gets his two-way radio out of his charger she knows it is time to hit the road. Safety goes hand in paw I suppose we could say.
How does your child stay safe when he or she walks to a friend’s home, the local park or walks the family dog? Feel free to visit the free Missing and Exploited Children Forum and share your ideas after reading this article. Until next time stay safe, it’s a jungle out there, over and out good readers.