During the school year, your children are supervised almost around the clock. From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., they’re in class, being looked after by teachers and school staff. If you’re lucky, some after school activity like sports or art class keeps them occupied and with adults until 5 or 6 p.m. Maybe by the time your kids come home, you’re back, as well.
Once summer break hits, you’re hit with the reality – you need some way to keep your kids busy and safe during a huge seven to nine-hour window when they’re typically at school. Even if you’re with them all of the time, you can’t possibly focus on them 100 percent of the time.
If they’re old enough to look after themselves, you’ve lucked out! Either way, prepping your home for the continual presence of your child means making it safe and fun for your child. Here are a few musts if your child is spending summer at home.
Secure Your Pool.
If you have a swimming pool, your kids are in for a fun and cool summer. However, your children will probably want to spend more time in the pool than you can spend supervising them. If you don’t already have a fence around your swimming pool, install one, put a lock on the door and keep the key somewhere private. It’s very important that bored kids don’t try to venture out to the pool on their own.
Some children can still hop the fence or find the key, which is why it’s important you have a strong pool cover. Make sure your cover can support the weight of a full grown adult, in case kids try to run across it, and that it forms a complete seal with the edges of the pool, so children cannot fall through it.
Keep Them in the Backyard.
Your children will want to play outside, but try to keep play contained to the backyard. Children playing in a front yard can be targets of kidnappers, or prowling burglars hoping to get information out of innocent kids. Make sure your children know to never share information with any strangers who approach them when they’re playing in the yard, but keeping them in the backyard should prevent this issue entirely.
Swap Shifts with Other Parents.
It’s time to team up with the other parents in your neighborhood. Create a Google calendar and assign babysitting shifts or playdates. If a parent knows they’ll have a free block of time when they can watch a group of kids, they can sign up to babysit. Preoccupied kids are the safest kids, so find out which parents have time for some outdoor activities, like setting up a slip-and-slide or taking them to the beach.
Clear Your Yard.
Since your children will be spending more time in the yard, you want to make sure it’s safe for them. Cut down any branches that have become splintered or sharp and spray your yard for poisonous insects. You should also make sure any sharp gardening tools are locked away, as well as chemicals like pool cleaners, paint and other DIY products. Give your yard a sweep each day before your children play in it so you can remove hazards.
Lock Up Their Bicycles.
If your children are still so young that they shouldn’t go on a bike ride by themselves, lock up their bicycles. A child can get far fast on a bike, and you don’t want that happening if you’re not with them. You also want to make sure your child always wears his or her helmet, and locking up the bikes and hiding the key can ensure that happens.
Check in on Them Remotely.
You can give your children a little space without losing site of them. If you want to let them play in the backyard or upstairs without your supervision, just check in on them via your smart phone. Your home automated surveillance cameras should connect to your smart phone so you can see the live feed at any given moment. This lets your kids feel like they have freedom and gives you peace of mind.
Set Perimeter Alarms.
If you know, you’re going to be distracted at home, set up perimeter motion sensor alarms around your property. These can keep curious kids from sneaking over to a neighbor’s house or wandering off the property to speak to a stranger.
Summertime instills a sense of adventure in children, which can be wonderful, but also dangerous. If you’re prepared, then having sudden 24/7 charge of your kids during the summer won’t come as a big shock.