Archive for May, 2011

Parenting Your Children: Keeping Them Safe While Online

The internet can be both a blessing and a curse as it can be a great resource for kids at school when doing homework or assignments however it also exposes children and especially teenagers to many dangerous situations.  Apart from supervising a child while they are online and educating children about how to stay safe while online there are a few things that can be done to help protect children while they are online.

Using an ISP filter or a filter from a third party is a good way to prevent children from accessing sites and material that is offensive.  There are many providers that offer filters which can be installed to protect children when online, many of these are available for free.

Monitoring a child’s use of social networking is also important as these websites such as Facebook contain information that may attract online predators.  While a child is logged on to a social networking site it is important to supervise the child and ensure that private details such as addresses and phone numbers are not given out to anyone you don’t know.

Another way to protect children from offensive content is to install a child friendly search engine.  As parents it is important to keep children safe when online and there are quite a few child friendly search engines to choose from such as Quintura which only gives G rated material on the results page.  Parenting your children will be a lot easier if you avoid exposing them to material that may frighten them or lead to a barrage of questions in which the child is too young to understand.

One of the best ways to keep children safe while online is to educate them about the internet and the potential dangers that are online.  Children are very quick learners so education is a great tool for avoiding problems while online.  There are also a few resources that can be accessed online which can help parents and children with this education process.

Even if you implement some of these suggestions in your home it is important to remember that there is no substitution for parental supervision.  While children are online the computer that they are using should be in a public place in the house such as the kitchen so either parent can monitor the websites they visit.  It is important not to leave a child alone with the computer as it is essential that they are supervised to avoid viewing inappropriate material.

Preparing Kids for the First Day of School

The first day of school is months away, but it’s never too early to prepare your child—especially if they’re stepping into a classroom for the first time. It’s a pretty harsh lifestyle change, after all, from TV and playdates to being cooped up in a classroom eight hours a day for the next decade or two.

Today’s Parent offers a detailed guide to preparing your child for school, from practical tips and safety measures to emotional conditioning. They start with some simple pointers, such as getting kids’ brains working by upping the reading time and waking them up early a week or two before to get them used to the new routine.

They also advised against doing anything big on Labor Day weekend, typically the last weekend before the start of school. Children should be able to relax the day before rather than go to bed tired. Lay out their clothes and pack their lunches before going to bed yourself, so the next morning isn’t too hectic. Pick a spot for their backpacks to avoid the last-minute scrambling for supplies before heading out the door.

Limit shopping to the basics, such as paper, pencils, and crayons. Teachers usually send kids home on the first day with a list of the things they’ll need—that’s a better time to hit the stores, as you’ll know exactly what to look for.

The authors also offer a few safety reminders; for instance, they said children should know the home phone number and address by heart by the time they start first grade. They should also know how to call 911. If they walk or cycle to school, do several test runs and make sure to point out areas to avoid, such as alleys.

According to the article, most school bus accidents happen when kids get on or off. Teach them to wait a good distance from the curb, and never to walk right behind or in front of the bus (or any vehicle, for that matter).

Emotional preparations are also important. Show enthusiasm for their first day, but don’t go overboard. Explain that it’s okay to be nervous, that teachers will understand if they are, and that making friends is a great way to cope. Sticking a note or a family photo into the child’s bag can help relieve separation anxiety. If possible, schedule a tour of the school so they’ll know where their classrooms are and meet their teachers.

Tips for Parenting Teenagers

Parenting teenagers can be rewarding however there are times when this can be the hardest job in the world.  Nobody is perfect when it comes to parenting and most of the time the parents just want the best for their children and to see them grow up into responsible adults who are able to look after themselves and make informed decisions.  The following are some useful tips for parents who are raising children who are teenagers and are looking for some strategies to help them along the way.

One way to create an important relationship with teenage children is to discuss issues rather than lecture them about things.  When parents lecture teenagers about issues it tends to alienate teenagers as they feel as though they are being treated like little children.  Opening a dialogue with teenagers and discussing an issue does two things it gives the teenager an opportunity to be heard and it also recognises that they have matured beyond being a child and can discuss things as an adult.

Another tip for parenting teenagers is to make sure that you don’t set unreasonable goals.  Children at this stage in their development are growing and changing and if you are setting unreasonable goals it may cause conflict and unnecessary stress in the relationship.  When considering what is best for your children it is important that they have a part in setting goals for things such as sports and also academic achievement.

Parents have an important role when it comes to encouragement and praise of positive behaviour.  It is very easy to criticize and point out mistakes when teenagers make them and it is also easy to just expect the positives such as good behaviour to just happen without any praise or thanks.  Parents need to recognise that there is great value in positive feedback.

Making sure there is room for family time in everyone’s busy lives is also an important part of parenting teenagers.  Setting aside some time to communicate with other family members on a daily bases can be as easy as having a meal together such as dinner.  Having a good relationship and strong communication lines with teenagers is important as it can be a way of monitoring things such as their health and well being.  Parents who are more distant in their relationship with teenagers can be at a slight disadvantage as they often take longer to recognise any changes with their teens that need support such as emotional or behavioural issues.