But, I’m not sure if I’m a Free-Range Mom, either.
What I know I am, is a mom who wants her kids to always be as protected as possible- especially when we can’t be physically with them.
We want our kids to be as independent as they can be without feeling neglected or abandoned, or ignored.
We want them to be as nurtured as they can be without feeling coddled, spoiled, or completely dependent on us.
That’s all we want.
A balance of all things. Not too hard, right?
I don’t have all the answers, but I’m prepared to list a few things we strive to do in order to imbue some healthy habits in our children that will help keep them safe.
And here they are….
1) WE TRY TO EAT REAL FOOD AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
We work hard to keep food as natural as we can. We aren’t 100% organic, but we do pay attention to the Clean Fifteen and The Dirty Dozen. We eat fruits and vegetables on the annually updated Dirty Dozen List only if they are organic- and I’ve learned that if I don’t have access to the list, that pests like to eat food that is sweet. (So, if it’s sweet and it has an edible peel, I tend to err on the organic side of things, whether I have the list immediately available on my iPad or not.)
2) WE TRY TO EAT FAST FOOD AS INFREQUENTLY AS POSSIBLE
To minimize the lure of fast food and bad snacks, we take granola bars, bananas, fruit and nuts with us on outings. This also helps us to save money in the long run.
3) WE TEACH OUR KIDS TO WASH THEIR HANDS
And, we use hand sanitizer after going to places like common, germy play areas. Anyone ever go to the mall and come back with hand, foot and mouth disease? Yep. Potty Training on a public toilet? Sanitizer at the ready. Double-dose.
4) WE ALSO PLAY IN THE DIRT AND THE MUD
We don’t stress about being outside in nature. We get out there. It gives us some sunlight and essential Vitamin D, that clears up pimples and amps up energy levels. But, it also exposes us to some germs that we need to help build our immune systems.
5) WE PRACTICE FOR EMERGENCIES
We’ve talked about where the kids should meet us if we get separated in large gatherings. For example, “If you lose Mommy and Daddy, go stand by the bathroom with the red door right over there. We will come to find you.”
6) WE TEACH OUR KIDS WHAT IS ALLOWED WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR BODIES
In light of the recent Penn State Scandal, I think many parents are finding ways to talk to young children about how to prevent sexual abuse. I’ve asked our kids repeatedly over the last few days, “Where are your personal areas? What do you do if someone tries to look at or touch your personal areas?” They respond with “Run Away!” or “Tell Someone!” and “That is NOT Allowed!”
7) WE PUT SUNSCREEN ON THE KIDS WHEN THEY GO OUTSIDE
We live in a hot climate that stays above one hundred degrees for nearly half the year. A good sunscreen is essential since the effects compound over time.
8) WE MONITOR REPORTS AND INFORMATION ABOUT CAR SEAT SAFETY AND GUIDELINES
As our kids grow older and have moved from infant car seats to toddler seats to booster seats, we spend the time researching consumer reports to be sure that the seat we use is safe and installed correctly.
9) WE GIVE OUR KIDS OPTIONS AND A VOICE
How does giving our kids a choice in what they wear for the day or what they eat for breakfast helping to shield and protect them? I believe that it is helping to develop a confidence and a sense that their opinion and feelings matter. My hope is that by knowing that we value their choices and them, that they will grow into children and adults who can make up their own minds, assert themselves when they need to and to communicate their emotions.
10) WE TEACH THEM ABOUT INTEGRITY
That’s a big word for a little kid, but it’s an important one. We’re aiming to develop kids who know how to respect themselves and others. Along with this goes a respect for others’ ideas, property and feelings. Having integrity is pretty sound protection against ugliness of all kinds- and we try teach our kids about integrity through example and other life lessons.
For more fantastic ideas from Critters And Crayons Readers about how parents keep their kids safe, check out The Critters And Crayons Facebook Fan Page Thread About Healthy Routines That Help Protect Our Children
and you can also drop by the Healthy Routines Facebook Page!