Dr. Rebecca Bailey, Bay Area resident, is a leading family psychologist and author of the recent book Safe Kids, Smart Parents: What Parents Need to Know To Keep Their Children Safe (Simon & Schuster, June 2013) from sister company Simon & Schuster. Here, she shares her top ten tips for keeping children safe – in the Bay Area and beyond.
No matter where you go in San Francisco, you will find opportunities to have fun and to practice awareness and safety. San Francisco is a crossroads, a melting pot of sounds, sights, smells and cultures. You can teach your children to listen, using the clatter and bells of the cable cars, the bark of seals and screeching of seagulls and you can teach them to be alert as you cross the city’s busy streets. You can teach them to trust their senses when the fog rolls in at 4 p.m. and they reach for their sweatshirts. You can teach them to look as they tour any one of our city’s fine museums.
Summertime is filled with opportunities to teach children to be alert and aware of their environment especially in big crowds at the Fourth of July at Fisherman’s Wharf, the Union Square Chef’s Event or the Afrosolo Arts Festival. Teach them not to be afraid, but to be alert and aware. Practice picking a spot where you can meet in case you get separated. Communicate: it’s is a big part of learning to pay attention to your surroundings.
Children need to develop critical thinking skills. That means assessing a situation and responding appropriately. Using real life situations is a great way to show children how to keep themselves safe and to encourage self-confidence. I am not suggesting hyper-vigilance or fear, rather conversation with children about their surroundings. Let’s take advantage of our beautiful city to practice awareness and safety!
10 Tips For Keeping Your Child Safe From Safe Kids, Smart Parents
Acclaimed family psychologist Dr. Rebecca Bailey – along with her sister and registered nurse, Elizabeth – shares easy-to-follow tips for how to keep your kids safe.
- Share age appropriate information. Keep it simple!
- Set ground rules and clear boundaries, so everyone knows what the expectations are. Older kids can sign a Ground Rules Contract.
- Teach children to be aware of their surroundings — Make it a game! Dr. Bailey encourages “I Spy” and “Be A Lert”
- Show them you love them. Love equals strength
- Teach your child to assess his or her surroundings using a Safety Equation.
- Promote good self-esteem and self-worth. Have your child make a list of positive qualities and memories and participate in activities that promote positive self-image.
- Establish rules for social media sites and keep computers in common areas. Maintain access (as a “friend” or other access) and keep computers and other devices in a common area.
- Create a “Safe List.” Involve your children in creating a list of contact information of trusted friends and family members.
- Know yourself. The way you act can influence your children so consider how you view the world and be conscious of the messages your children receive.
- Don’t be afraid. Encourage discussion with your children and empower them through knowledge.