It’s a sad fact that the days of leaving the front door wide open are gone. There isn’t the same level of trust today as there was decades ago, and this is a problem for parents. We crave a child friendly neighbourhood. But if you can’t trust people to act accordingly around your children, you’ll always feel as they aren’t safe
The last place kids should be insecure is in their homes, and the wider community applies as well as your house. The last thing you want is for them to stay inside all day because the streets outside aren’t safe enough for them to play.
The question is, how do you do that with regards to the community as a whole and create a child friendly neighbourhood? It’s not as if you can control how others behave. While this is true, you can influence your kid’s behaviour and that of the society in some respects. Although it sounds tough, it’s not as difficult as it might appear at first glance. With that in mind, below is a handful of ways you can make your community more child-friendly; all you have to do is continue reading.
Research The Area
Everyone has had the talk so a baby shouldn’t come as a surprise! There is meticulous planning that goes into raising a small human, and choosing a home is on the list. However, it isn’t all about positive equity and how much profit you’ll make in the future. A proper place to bring up a child is somewhere that is safe and secure and doesn’t pose a threat.
While you can’t promise this to your kids, you can lower the possibility of incidents with the right amount of research. The next time you’re in the market, check out the crime stats, the location of the closest police station, and how the locals feel about their presence. As a rule, these are safety indicators and high numbers (apart from the latter) shouldn’t put your mind at ease.
If you didn’t do this before moving, you might want to act retrospectively. Selling up and buying a new home is a big step yet it’s one that might be necessary if the stats are eye-opening. After all, your children’s well being is priceless.
Encourage Them To Be Forthcoming
Children often don’t know how to express themselves. Often, this is displayed by their inability to open up and talk about things that are happening or that they have seen.
Encouraging your son or daughter to forthcoming gives you an insight into their life. Let’s face it – it’s not possible for a parent to know everything and that makes things tough. What if they are being bullied or picked on and need help? Letting them dictate things and using the excuse “they won’t talk to me” isn’t good enough.
Thankfully, there are cues and you can spot them if you are vigilant. The best way to do this is to get used to your child’s rhythms, almost as if you understand their actions before they do it. Then, if they act differently, you can gently encourage them to open up and explain why they aren’t themselves.
Connect On A Parental Level
As a parent, you’ll often remark to your significant other about how it’s you two versus the kids. Sometimes, it feels as if you’re at war, especially when they are unreasonable and try and pit you against one another to get what they want. Sneaky devils. But, this changes when you go up against another parent. Suddenly, the instinctive urge to protect kicks in and you don’t back down.
Although looking after your kids is essential, it’s not wise to cut off your nose to spite your face. Why? It’s because parents are the adults and can sort through things maturely without resorting to name calling or violence. Then, the things that have the potential to be a problem, such as bullies, cease to exist. The only way to speak on a level like this is to connect with other parents in the community. You don’t have to be friends, but once you respect them, you’ll understand their actions and they won’t be as divisive.
Plus, if you scratch their back, they’ll return the favour. This means you can learn about issues in advance and deal with them proactively rather than reactively. Think of the parents in the community as a kind of neighbourhood watch group for the kids.
You don’t want to be that parent who is overbearing and power-mad; it’s not a good look. More importantly, it gives mums and dads an excuse to put your good intentions down to your need for attention and the kids lose out. Have you ever tried to work with parents who don’t respect you? It’s impossible to get them to listen and take your words and ideas seriously.
A caveat is if you’re in a position in society to take control. The obvious examples are police and community support officers who try to make communities better places. Within the legal framework of the law, you can use your resources to improve the community by cracking down on the things that harm kids. That means stopping the flow of drugs and dealing with spikes in crime. And, if you think it’s unrealistic, check out an online criminal justice associates degree and find out more about how you can defend people.
The great thing is you don’t have to balance a hectic schedule by working during the day and studying at night. Online courses are remote and doable from home. Plus, police-related positions are the tip of the iceberg as you can become a paralegal or a counsellor too.
Part of taking control in today’s era is setting boundaries, both physical and digital. The internet is a wonderful thing yet it’s an incredibly dangerous place for a child. With this in mind, always be safe rather than sorry and set parental controls that safeguard them from online abuse.
They won’t like it, but it means limiting their screen time as well as banning websites.
Sadly, society as a whole doesn’t take the environment seriously enough. There is only one planet and it’s being destroyed by people who litter. Take a walk around your local park and you’ll spot a host of things that shouldn’t be there. For the most part, litter isn’t a danger yet there are things which can be destructive. Everything from broken bottles to dirty needles and dog excrement is a risk to your child’s health. They do not make a child friendly neighbourhood and they need removing.
Councils are understaffed and underfunded, so you can’t rely on local councillors to do the job. In the end, it falls to you and other parents to clean up even if it’s after others and it wasn’t your fault. Don’t worry because it’s not about spending all weekend roaming the parks with a rubbish bag and a litter picker. Instead, it’s about raising awareness. If you see something that shouldn’t be there, dispose of it but don’t let that be the end. Tell parents, MPs, and anybody who will listen so that more is done to clean up the community for the kid’s sake.
Nobody likes to snitch but reporting people who brazenly let their dog foul or throw things on the ground is a deterrent too. They’ll think twice next time if they are hit with a fine or a potential jail sentence.
Making people aware of problems in the community doesn’t centre on moaning about the state of things to other parents. Yes, it will raise awareness but it won’t go past the social group and nothing will change. The key is to mobilise yourself and as many others as possible to ensure people understand the scale of the problem.
To do that, you need to attend local council meetings and challenge the guardians of the community to act. If good-hearted citizens aren’t there to hold these people accountable, life will trundle along as usual and your kids won’t be any safer. Yes, it’s boring but you can take it in turns or form a parental group to go along to the meetings and keep track of proceedings. If you want to help create a child friendly neighbourhood your voice needs to be heard.
Some people even run for the position of local councillor or MP to try and make a difference. Remember that you don’t need a degree. Often, people react to candidates who have policies grounded in reality and seem genuine. Today more than ever, you don’t have to be qualified or privately educated to mobilise people and enact change.
Making a child friendly neighbourhood is about being open to discussions as well as being proactive. But it starts with you and me.
Do you already live in a child friendly neighbourhood? Or perhaps your neighbourhood has some room for improvement? Do leave a comment and share.
*This is a collaborative post