1. Schools out! Which means older children could be home alone.
Set boundaries on what the ‘home alone’ rules are. This includes who can come over and what they can and can’t do.
Make sure your child knows the contact details or yourself, safe neighbours and a relative in case of emergency.
Don’t overdo it. Even a mature, responsible child shouldn’t be left at home too much. Consider other options such as programs offered by youth organisations, community centres and sporting groups to help keep you child connected and involved over the holiday period.
2. Are your Christmas presents internet safe?
Many high-tech smart toys connect to the internet. This could mean inbuilt cameras or microphones gathering personal data.
Make sure you do your research and check the privacy settings before you gift. For more info, click here to check out the Office of the e-safety Commissioner’s gift guide.
3. Take a snap before those busy Christmas events!
Heading to Carols by Candelight, or a Christmas pageant? It can only take a moment to lose sight of children in a busy crowd. At Constable Care Lost Child Points, one of the first questions we will ask is ‘what is your child wearing?’. It is surprising how difficult this is to remember when in a panic.
Therefore, our tip is to take a photo of your child before you head out, that was you can quickly refer to it, if you need to describe your child. This makes the reunification process so much quicker!
4. Make sure your kids have memorised your mobile number
This tip also comes directly from first-hand experience at Constable Care Lost Child Points. When a child is found without parents or guardians, the reunification process is much quicker if the child knows their parents phone number by heart. Try making a game out of memorising phone numbers!
5. Christmas is a time for sharing – not oversharing.
Think before you post. Are you sharing unnecessary personal or location details? Have you asked the people in the photo if they mind you sharing the photo to social media?
Don’t forget to also ask your children’s permission before uploading photos of them to social media. This is an important teaching moment, where you can model the importance of consent.
6. Make sure gaming doesn’t turn into gambling
The school holidays mean more time for gaming! But the line between gaming and gambling is a thin one. Many games rely on direct debit memberships or in-app purchases which can be dangerously addictive.
Be sure to research the games your children are playing and make it clear what they are allowed to purchase and what they are not. Also, remind your child not to share personal information when they are online.
7. Roads are not playgrounds!
Children should never play on roads – even quiet back streets. It doesn’t take much, a distraction or a speeding driver, for the day to end in injury or devastation.
8. Make test rides a family affair
If you give your child a new bike, scooter or other piece of riding equipment for Christmas, make a family day out to show your children the do’s and don’ts of riding on shared pathways or in bike lanes on the road. Ensure they have the correct safety equipment to stay safe.
9. Keep ball games away from the road!
Don’t set your new basketball hoop, cricket stumps or other games in the front of your house for kids to play with. With no secure fencing children can be distracted to chase a ball onto the road. Play safe and keep it in the back yard.
10. Combat stranger danger with a safe word
Teach your child about stranger danger. Consider choosing a ‘safe word’ as a family, so that if you send someone to collect your children, they will know it is safe to go with them.
11. Be smart when it comes to leaving the house
For all the parents out there, secure your home before you go away. Put lights and other electronics on variable timers and have someone collect your mail.
If you are leaving your vehicle outside, have some one move it periodically and don’t leave your bins out for extended periods so unwanted visitors know you are not home.
12. Be a good neighbour this holidays
If you feel there is suspicious behaviour happening in your neighbourhood and need Police assistance call 131444. If it is an emergency and you or someone else is in danger call 000. For any information about a crime you may have witnessed, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.