When is a child old enough to cross the street alone?

When is a child old enough to cross the street alone

The first time that you drop that little hand and allow your precious offspring to cross the street alone you feel like your heart is going to beat out of your chest, but Junior has to grow up so if you don’t want to be holding the hand of an 18-year old while crossing, there has to come a point you decide he is old enough to let go.  But just what is this magical age?

Maturity

In most situations, there are some factors to consider beyond the child’s age because not all children of the same age are ready to tackle a challenge like crossing the street alone.  Every child is a unique human being with different levels of maturity, training, and experience, so each case must be examined individually.

As a parent, you are in the best position to determine the answer to the question of when is a child old enough to cross the street alone.  You alone have the knowledge of your child’s maturity and whether he or she is capable of being cautious enough to cross the street safely.  Trial runs are a good way to teach and give experience with you as a safety net.

Responsibility

Does your child understand the dangers?  You can teach safety without making your child excessively fearful.  Set some rules and make sure your child understands the rules and agrees to follow your direction. Spend some time learning the safety rules while out walking with your child.

As the two of you walk discuss safety rules, teach children the proper use of crosswalks if your neighborhood has these, and take time to point out what you observe regarding the cars and people on the street.  If you see drivers behaving unsafely, point this out to your child and explain the dangers.

Ask your child to observe the traffic and point out safe and unsafe drivers and situations.  Explore crosswalks with your child explaining how to use the crosswalk and other safety measures, such as not being distracted with a cell phone or earplugs while crossing and to be aware that caution is needed even when the walk signal is displayed.  Distracted drivers can easily run a red light.

Cutting the Apron Strings

There will come a time, whether we are ready or not, that our children will begin to venture out on their own a little farther each time until they fly away for good.  As sad as that might make you feel, you know it’s your job to make them self-reliant and ready to take on the world.  The only question is when will that be?

Experts say that the age to start allowing kids out alone is 11; however, as a parent, being allowed to go it alone at 11 has some specific limitations and conditions.  In a neighborhood with no through traffic, only neighbors and visitors passing through, and equipped with sidewalks, 11, or even slightly younger, is a fairly safe proposition.  However, if we are dealing with busy highways and heavy traffic, I would say 13 might be a better age.

In the end, no matter how much we try and want to protect our children from harm, we know that some day we will have to allow them to strike out on their own, even if it is just across the street.

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How to be a Positive Role Model as a Single Parent

Being A Single Parent

Whether it’s the result of death, divorce or by choice, the number of single parents in America today has risen exponentially in the past 30 years. Gone is the stigma of being a single parent.

Dads are raising daughters and Moms are doing the same for their sons. Is it easier to parent a child of the same sex? Absolutely.

But it isn’t impossible.

Has the American Dream Died?

In a word, no. But it has morphed since the two-parent household days of “Father Knows Best” and “Ozzie and Harriet”.

The American dream of owning your own house, feeling safe in your neighborhood and having a good family relationship is still very much alive.

The rising divorce rate in America has created an atmosphere of disposable families. While we still believe a loving two-parent household is best, we realize that kids will do better in school and in life without the tension of parents who are battling each other.

Communicate

Fear is the biggest killer of relationships because fear causes us to remain silent. You and your child need to talk all the time whether it’s about allowance, friends or starting to be more independent as a new driver.

If you talk honestly with your child and tell them what it’s like to be a single parent from your perspective, she will be more likely to talk with you about her issues as well.

Does that mean you should treat your kid like your BFF? No, not at all. But there’s no harm in saying things like needing to stick to your monthly budget when she wants to buy the latest designer wear. Explaining how budgets work, how life evolves by using open communication is a healthy way to be a positive role model.

Show Don’t Just Tell

Telling your child you love them is important to be sure. But showing them? That speaks volumes. Take time each day for you to play with your kids. Moms, throw a ball around with your sons. Time is the best gift you can give your child and that teaches them to value relationships.

This also extends to you as a parent reaching out for help when you need it. And let your child see that you’ve asked for help. It will show her not to be afraid of asking for help every now and again.

Set Boundaries

This can be as simple as speaking respectfully all the way up to making a plan with your teen when she starts getting together with friends and partying. Talk about what you will and won’t accept and make a plan together.

Opposite Sex Role Models

Avoid trashing an ex-spouse to your child and include friends of the opposite sex who aren’t romantic partners. This shows your kid that she can have male friends without it being a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship which helps her build solid relationships with both sexes when she gets older.

Single parenting is challenging but is also filled with the joy of showing your child how good life can be.

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Simple Ideas to Help You Raise Healthy Kids

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Every parent knows that raising kids is difficult at times. Raising healthy kids can be even more difficult. However, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to teach your children healthy habits that they can build upon as they grow up and eventually begin to live on their own. After all, the habits healthy kids develop when they’re young will follow them through their adult life.

Get Your Kids Involved With Their Food

Studies show that kids who are involved in preparing food learn more about proper nutrition than kids who just eat whatever their parents put on their plate. Having your kids involved in the food preparation process can also result in kids trying healthy foods that they might otherwise not want to eat – foods like fresh vegetables, fish and berries. Raising kids to be healthy and to understand the food they’re putting in their bodies is important.

Of course, you don’t want your kids cooking meals, but you can ask them to pick pre-chopped veggies for a salad or pick a vegetable side dish that you’ll prepare. Older kids can help with preparing dinner by cutting vegetables, but even younger kids can help you stir ingredients.

Keep Healthy Snacks Readily Available

If you want to have healthy kids, you need to make sure you have healthy snacks around the house. For most kids, snacks play a big part in the total calories they consume for the day since many kids don’t sit still for very long or are never hungry for larger meals. Healthy snack options include basic items like fresh fruit and sliced vegetables. Kids can also benefit from low-fat cheese, yogurt and lean protein sources like sliced chicken or turkey at snack time.

Giving your kids treats from time to time as snacks are fine, but foods like potato chips shouldn’t become the food your child expects come snack time.

Exercises with Your Kids 

Children often mimic their parents’ behavior, so if you sit on the couch with a bowl of ice cream instead of getting outside to do something healthy, your kids will think that’s normal, and that’s what they’ll want to do. That’s why it’s important to take your child outside and to exercise with them – to lead by example. You don’t have to do strenuous exercises, and you may not even be able to do your normal workout with your child. Simple things like calisthenics, taking a walk around the park or going for a swim in the summer are all excellent options. Doing these things regularly will make sure you are raising kids that will have good exercise habits as adults.