As summer heats up and children are freed from school, your kids will probably want to spend more time playing in your back or front yard. And you should encourage them to do so because that’s much healthier than staying inside all day playing video games or going on their laptops. But if you are lucky enough to have a yard that your kids can roam around in, just make sure you consider these safety tips and discuss them with your children.
Go inside if someone approaches
If your yard isn’t fenced in or doesn’t have a locked fence, then solicitors and other strangers may enter your property when your kids are playing outdoors. Instruct your children to go inside the moment that happens, and to yell to notify you that someone is on the property. If the stranger did mean your child any harm, it’s important that your child loudly vocalizes that someone is on the property so the stranger knows that an adult is inside, and monitoring the situation.
Don’t answer strangers’ questions
Make sure your children know that they shouldn’t answer any stranger’s questions. Anyone can walk up to your yard and ask your unsuspecting child things like, “What time do your parents leave for work in the morning?” or “Have your parents bought any new, cool things recently?”
Never chase a toy into the road
Your children should always ask for help if a toy, or a pet, finds its way into the road. They should not pursue these on their own. Even if something winds up in a neighbor’s yard, your children should still get you and ask you to retrieve the item.
Swing sets should only be used as intended
If you have a swing set, monkey bars, or other recreational equipment in your yard, tell your children that they cannot use it any other way than how it’s intended to be used. That means no climbing up a slide, or hanging from the swing chains. Using play sets in an unconventional way can lead to injuries.
Kids shouldn’t accept treats from strangers
Instruct your children never to accept treats from strangers. If someone approaches them and offers them a popsicle, lemonade, or anything intriguing, they should politely turn it down, and go inside to find you immediately so you can assess the situation.
Notify you of strange activity
In general, teach your children to tell you if any stranger spoke to them. Kids aren’t great at identifying strange behavior, but if they relay something to you, you can know to be on the lookout for a person who is approaching children. If anyone ever asks your child personal questions, invites them into their car, or tries to give them food or a drink, your child should notify you immediately.
No unlocking the gate for strangers
If a locked gate protects your yard, instruct your children never to unlock it for a stranger. If someone approaches asking them to open the gate, they should go inside and get you.
Children shouldn’t tamper with security devices
You may have security cameras, decoys, wiring, and other items related to your security system on your lawn and around your property. Make sure children know never to tamper with these. If possible, enclose them in a casing or move them higher up so children cannot reach them.
Lawn equipment isn’t a toy
If you keep lawn equipment around, tell your children that that isn’t a toy. If possible, lock lawn equipment—and other items that could be hazardous like gardening chemicals—inside a shed.
They should always stay within view
If your children cannot see you, then you probably cannot see them. So tell them that they should always play in an area from which they can keep an eye on you. If they can’t spot you, they need to return closer to the house.
It’s wonderful to let your kids enjoy fresh air in the summer, just remember that your yard isn’t nearly as guarded as the inside of your home, so you need to keep a closer eye on children playing outdoors.