In today’s busy, frantic society, it’s perfectly natural and understandable to worry over how much freedom to give your kids. Everything from their daily commutes to and from school to what they do with their free time can keep parents up at night, but thankfully, there are a few ways to ensure that you can feel more at ease about their whereabouts while giving them breathing room. Many of the Veriot team are parents with years of experience, and we’ve worked together to come up with a few suggestions to help fellow parents and guardians maximize their kids’ freedom while minimizing stress. Read on for our top tips!
Parental Controls on Devices
Whether they’re playing video games, browsing the web on their phone or using social media on a tablet, your kids are invariably going to be curious and see what they can get away with. However, there is a fine line to walk between being too hands-off with them and being overly controlling to the point where they lose respect for you. Find a common middle ground by implementing parental controls on devices that they use, being reasonable to avoid frustration on both sides. For example, set an acceptable length of time allowed for video games, but don’t shorten it to the point where it takes away their creative freedom or desire to even pick up a controller. You can also add specific websites and social media platforms to a blocked list in web browsers, unlocking specific access manually after they finish homework, complete chores, or exhibit good behaviour. This will help teach them the importance of appreciating what they have without overwhelming them with freedom to the point where they may act out. The trick, however, is not to be overly harsh but approach parental controls openly with your kids.
Encourage Independence and Time to Go Off on Their Own (Within Reason)
Instead of walking your kids to the playground or going with them every time they want to shop or hang out with friends, give them the space they need to mature on their own and develop a stronger sense of independence and self-confidence. To reduce stress and worry less, ensure that they’re well aware that to keep this level of freedom, they must remain in regular contact so that you know everything is all right. However, take caution and make sure that you’re not forcing them to check in every half-hour; moderation is key, otherwise they will experience even less freedom than if you escorted them in the first place. The need for regular check-ins is simply unneeded when inconspicuous monitoring is as easy as Veriot Venture makes it.
Responsibility is Key
From even a young age, every child can hugely benefit from learning to be responsible and aware of their surroundings. Give them the perfect opportunity to learn these crucial skills, motivating them to take care of their own meals before boarding the school bus in the morning, packing their own lunches, and attending to homework at their own pace. This can give them a greater sense of freedom and trust on your part, but it is also important to monitor their behaviour. For example, maybe take a peek at the first few lunches they pack and perform “surprise inspections” in later weeks, stick your head in on occasion to see if they’ve completed their homework or are working on it, and glance at the clock every now and then to see if they get out the door to school on time. With a considerate and distant approach, it’s never been easier to train your kids to be more responsible, and you’ll find that over time, you’ll need to fuss over them less and less.
Make Some New Acquaintances
It might sound a little strange at first, but what is the harm in establishing a connection with your kids’ best friends, teachers, and those who interact with them most outside of the house? This gives you the perfect opportunity to keep a close eye on them without frustrating them. For example, let a friend of one of your kids know that if anything happens, they can contact you for help, or speak with their teachers to check in on their progress, punctuality and attentiveness in class. This gives you greater peace of mind in knowing that someone is looking out for them once they leave the house, without having them feel like they’re losing their freedom. Again, a thoughtful and distant approach is critical, even when merely giving your phone number to a friend of theirs who comes over all the time.
Parenting is never an easy task, but it can prove to be even more challenging if you end up fraught with worry on a constant basis! Mitigate worry while giving your kids more freedom by focusing on motivating further independence, a sense of responsibility, and awareness of the world around them. In addition, try to show them that you mean to trust them, but aren’t afraid of taking some of that freedom away if they don’t stick to their end of the bargain.
How do you help your kids gain more freedom while reducing worry? Let us know!