Now that the beautiful weather of spring is here, all you want is for your kids to come home from school eager to play outside with their friends. Of course, that’s if you can pull them away from video games and the internet for awhile! Though you might fight for it from time to time, there are huge benefits to sending your kids out to play, just like in the days before television. They’ll enjoy time with friends and neighborhood kids, which assists them in the development of mature social interaction skills. They’ll burn off a bit of that built up energy from being stuck in school all day, which should help if they struggle with behavioral problems. And they’ll also get in some natural exercise. With childhood obesity becoming more of a problem with each and every passing year, the importance of physical activity at a young age cannot be overstated. But you also need to make sure your kids are safe and secure out there, even when you’re not around to watch them. The backyard should be a haven for this sort of activity, but any doctor’s emergency room records would say different. So here are a couple of tips to keep kids safe in your backyard.
If you haven’t already, you might want to consider fencing in your yard. This isn’t to create a prison for your children, but to keep the dangers of the outside world where they belong. Prowlers will be far less likely to accost your kids if they’re safely behind a fence. But you also won’t have to worry about things like an aggressive neighborhood dog getting into your yard and wreaking havoc. Just make sure that you properly maintain any fence you install. Rusty nails and sharp edges can do more damage than any fence might prevent if you’re not careful.
Next, look over any playground equipment you have in the yard. You’re probably thinking this is silly. After all, previous generations did just fine with whatever equipment was in the park, much of which was made from metal and recycled tires. But if you have young children, even a swing set can be dangerous. Look over the equipment from time to time, just to make sure everything is properly maintained. You’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for any broken parts that create sharp edges, loose connections or screws that could lead to a big fall, or peeling paint and rust damage. You should also make sure your kids know how to use each piece of equipment safely. Walk them through it when you first bring it home, and keep an eye out until you know they’ve got the right idea.
Detritus in the yard can also be a big problem. At the beginning of the season, walk the length and width of the yard and look for things that can trip up a child. That means holes in the ground that could twist an ankle, roots of trees that have come up and could grab a foot, and rocks that could cause falls and skinned knees. Keep the grass neatly trimmed, so you’ll be able to notice anything like this before it does damage. And make sure your kids know that throwing rocks or sticks isn’t allowed, especially when any other children are around.
Finally, look for safe distractions you can put in the yard to keep your kids occupied. When children have things that grab their attention, they are far less likely to seek out trouble. Children have active imaginations and short attention spans, two things that don’t serve them well during unattended playtime. Bring in hula hoops, light balls, and yard games that are designed for children. Make sure you use dining tables for outdoor living on your patio, so you won’t be worried if they turn this furniture into the walls of a fort. As long as you call it a day when the sun goes down, your children should be completely safe.