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The importance of encouraging good oral hygiene at both homes

When kids have two homes their regular routines can often go out the window; one parent may well be more likely to allow more TV time than the other, for example, or prefer eating out to cooking at home. However one routine that it’s important doesn’t get lost during the change-over process is teeth cleaning and good oral hygiene, particularly amongst younger children. The noticeable long term habits of having a good teeth cleaning routine mean it’s worth the effort of establishing good habits now, even if your children are reluctant. Here are some hints and tips for encouraging good oral hygiene, and helping your kids form healthy dental habits that will last a lifetime:

Provide Help and Support

Many parents believe that simply providing access to a toothbrush and toothpaste is enough to encourage good oral hygiene habits, but in reality you need to be much more involved than that. Dental experts recommend that you should physically brush and floss your child’s teeth for them until they are at least six years old (and have the coordination skills to competently and consistently tie their own shoe laces). You should clean their teeth for them for at least two minutes every morning before breakfast and every evening before bedtime, using a fluoride based toothpaste and an age appropriate tooth brush. Once you have cleaned their teeth for them, encourage your child to then brush their teeth independently for another minute: this will build their confidence and encourage them to develop the skills they will need when they are old enough to brush their teeth independently. Once your child is over the age of six you should still supervise their teeth cleaning, to ensure they are brushing regularly and with good technique

Have Everything You Need in Your Home

When kids are switching from one home to the other it’s easy for things to be left behind, however if they forget their toothbrush this could give them the excuse their looking for to have an extended break from teeth cleaning. Given the equipment needed for good dental practice is so inexpensive, why not have everything they need permanently in your home? Buy them a tooth brush, tooth paste, and dental floss that they have constant access to. Why not take them shopping and let them choose their own? Toothbrushes are now available in a wide range of colours, designs, and even featuring their favourite cartoon characters, which could help to make teeth cleaning time a little more fun.

Model Good Habits

Children learn their behaviours by watching their parents and modelling on them, so it’s important to practice what you preach. Clean your teeth thoroughly morning and night, and take care of your smile. Why not clean your teeth at the same time as your child’s, so that you can form the healthy habit together?  Whilst regular dentist visits can be expensive, particularly if you don’t have dental coverage, it’s important that you visit the dentist regularly and that you take your child to the dentist regularly too. Dentist trips are no fun for anyone, and your child is likely to be reluctant and apprehensive, but it is the best way of ensuring your child better understands the importance of taking care of their teeth, and of dealing with any dental problems as soon as they arise.

 Talk About What Will Happen If They Don’t Brush

It can be difficult to deal with a reluctant tooth brusher, and most parents don’t relish the thought of having to hold down their distressed child so they can brush their teeth, so finding other strategies to encourage good oral hygiene is preferable. Talk to your child about cavities and tooth decay, explaining how germs will affect their smile and that once teeth have been damaged by decay they cannot be repaired: if your child is a visual learner then showing them some images of damaged smiles and decayed teeth online might well help to drive your message home. Good oral hygiene is a lifelong habit that needs to be formed as soon as possible, so it’s important to use whatever tools you have in your armoury to get your child brushing every day.

A must watch: Simon Sinek – Millennials in the work place

We live in a world that is consumed by technology and social media. Relationships suffer, work and our ability to cope with everyday stresses are tough for our children. Children born post 1982 have been brought up in a new and potentially damaging era, a time never seen by their parents. Mr Simon Sinek talks about how we have become this addicted society to social media, why it is so damaging and how we can change it and make life more personal, enjoyable, develop meaningful relationships and be more satisfied at work. Something our children must learn and its starts with us! A very interesting and en-lighting video discussion on what we can do.  It will be the best 18 minutes you spend this year 🙂 Oh, and put your phone AWAY when you watch it – unless of course your watching from your phone LOL

 

Can Richie be a good step dad?

can-ritchie-be-a-good-step-dadIn short, yes and no?

I hope Richie realises the importance of the decision he has made.

It has been all glitz and glamour for the Bachelor and lets face it, its not real world!

richies-girlsIt’s pretty easy to fall in love when you have 22 women literally throwing them-self at you and you are the center of attention. Locked away in a fairyland environment with a mansion, champagne, chefs and housekeepers, Ferrari drives through the countryside, day spa treatments, Learjet dates to exotic locations, picnics in the gardens of a beautiful homestead, Motorcycle and Helicopter dates in settings designed by an interior decorator – OMG!

You have to wonder what happens when you get home and the dishwasher needs emptying, the floor needs to be swept, dinner needs to be cooked and you have a 5 year old crying that wont sleep at 2am and you have to be at work at 8am for a meeting with you boss? Hellloooo real world… and this is the true test.
Real people will come out, they will not be masked by lavish, exciting and extravagant planned single and group dates that only James Packer can afford.

richie-and-alexMeet “Richie” an offshore Rigger from Perth and “Alex” an Events Manager from Melbourne – both real people.

It’s Richie from Perth that we are most interested in and how will he step up to be a good step dad? The decision to be Alex’s partner is a big one and not to be taken lightly, its a commitment not only to Alex but to her son Elijah too.

Being a step dad is similar to being a biological dad, Richie will suddenly have a child, Elijah is not a baby and Richie has not had the time to grow up with him and get used to fatherhood and what it takes. I’m not sure where Elijah’s biological father is, I hope he is around and is in Elijah life. Richie will be Alex’s partner and by default will be Elijah’s step dad which comes with responsibilities.

Richie will be a good step dad is he takes on board the following tips:

  • Spending time on the activities that Elijah likes such as football, swimming, homework etc the more time Richie devotes to Elijah the quicker he will accept Richie into his life and take the role of a step dad.
  • Richie likes camping and surf fishing, he will want to involve Elijah on all of those activities, not only does it connect them but lets face it, it will give Alex a break from time to time whilst the boys bond.
  • Communication is important and it will be great if Richie is open and honest with Elijah, he will need to listen to Elijah non-judgmentally, particularly if Elijah is the one instigating the chat.
    Always be a good listener and never get upset or yell if Elijah does something to upset you.
  • NEVER discuss negative opinions of Elijah father in front of him or with anyone else, it’s not your business or area to discuss. Each father has their own parenting style that their kids have adopted. Unless his father is abusive, keep your opinions to your self! And if the father is in Elijah life, respect and support the relationship in a completely positive way.
  • Everyone needs love and attention and someone who is interested in them. Be that person, show open affection and be the guy who hugs Elijah and is there for him whenever he needs you. If Elijah needs to cry, have your shoulder ready with a cuddle and give him the “time” he deserves.
  • Alex is the lead parent and her wishes on parenting take priority over your beliefs, So get on board with how Alex likes Elijah parented and support her. Things like, bedtimes, homework routines, cleaning up the bedroom and bathroom, putting their dishes in the dishwasher.
    After a while Richie will feel comfortable in the role as a step dad and start to take things a normal. For the rest of Elijah life Richie will need to check in with Alex on big decisions for him, Richie should not be making big decisions for Elijah without first running it past Alex. Things like, booking a holiday just for the boys, Buying him a play-station with shoot-em up war games, buying him a motorcycle when he is 18, taking him parachuting or taking Elijah on any dangerous adventures.
  • Alex is a mother and cannot always spend time with you alone, when you feel like it. There will be times when Alex will need to spend time with Elijah when you would prefer she was spending time with you “Welcome to the real work of parenting”. Yes it sucks sometimes but its reality!
  • Be a great example to Elijah, show him how to be a good person like volunteering for people not as well off as yourself. Show him generosity, how to save, how you treat girls/Alex, how you put your family first, how you respect the elderly, how to have a healthy lifestyle with no smoking, no excessive drinking and show him love.
  • Being a step dad comes with the responsibility of helping to bring up a child, its a leadership role, Elijah will need to understand boundaries, respect and manners. There will be conflict at some point, just be yourself and have patience, empathy and love through the troubled times.
  • Be yourself without the show, kids like honest and real people who are dedicated to the cause. Kids always like to be told that you love them, when you can, tell him often.

Its going to be a different scene from the ones you have played out over the last couple of months. Don’t think about being a good step dad, just treat him as if he was your own and if you love Alex that much, you can love her child the same.

Best wishes for a happy future together.

 

 

 

Since when are Dads not apart of a safety network?

Thanks to one of our active Dads that came across this poster and instantly felt uncomfortable with the underlying message being told to children. It was sent home with the kids from their school in Melbourne. The children were being taught “body safety” (great initiative) that if they feel uncomfortable, frightened, scared or nervous about a situation they have been put in, then talk to a person who is in their safety network? See the hand with 5 fingers and guess who is missing??

Shame on you principle for not ensuring part of the safety network included Dads i.e. Mum and Dad or simply parents.

Body Safety Poster

 

 

Are we spoiling our kids’ with too much sugar?

Are Dads Spoiling Their Kids’ Diets with too Much SugarWe love to spoil our kids, and often sugar is used as a reward when they’re behaving well. Sugar is used in many foods to make them taste better. It’s contained in everything from the obvious, such as soft drinks, biscuits, lollies, and cakes, to the less obvious, such as bread, condiments, crackers, and even frozen dinners.

Unfortunately, the fascination with sugar can cause many detrimental health effects. It’s best to understand how it has a negative impact on our bodies first, and then work at slowly eliminating it from our daily lives.

Besides that old, but true saying, it rots your teeth, sugar actually contains no essential nutrients. It’s composed of a crystalline matrix, and unlike almost all other foods, has no vitamins, minerals, or essential amino acids. It does not contain any protein. If you choose to fill up on sugar, it can lead to deficiencies in the body. Sugar is processed from the sugar cane plant. In fact, if you ate sugar cane on its own, it would be far healthier. But it’s nearly impossible to find in the western world, except maybe as processed sticks, which aren’t so healthy either.

Besides the physical affects on the body, there are also the psychological effects too. Sugar can affect mood, and not in a good way. Sugar can work as an addiction on the body. Kids and dads may start craving sugar on a daily basis.

It’s all in the brain. When people eat sugar, the brain releases dopamine, from the accumbens region, which is a feel-good chemical. However, the more often you release this chemical through eating sugar, the shorter the effect can last. This is why the first night you and your child ate a few cookies, and then the next night you ate the whole bag. Harmless? Not over a long period of time.

Ironically, you can release dopamine during other times too, but the effects are healthier and last longer. For example, you can watch a funny movie with your kids, or you can take them to the park to play. These are healthier activities, and the brain knows the difference between an active lifestyle, and sugar.

You may have noticed how your kids can become hyper after eating sugar, and then shortly afterwards, they become cranky and moody. These are the negative effects of too much sugar.

So, how can you reduce sugar in a diet? Focus on more fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Fruits such as berries actually contain natural feel-good compounds, and have the same effect as sugar, except without the addiction or withdrawal symptoms. Switch out sugar for honey or agave syrup. These are natural sweeteners.

Now that you understand the detrimental qualities of sugar on your family’s bodies, you can begin to replace it with healthier choices. Letting the kids run off any extra energy outdoors can only help too.

Why it is important to know your children’s friends

Why It Is Important To Know Your Children’s Friends One of the best possible ways to influence healthy friendships for your child is to be aware of and involved in them. There is a fine line between being involved and being nosy, you need to make sure not to overstep those boundaries and make your child feel as if their privacy is being disturbed. One of the best good parenting tips is to maintain a positive presence and protective shadow in your child’s life and in their relationships. You should aim to keep an eye on these relations to ensure that these friendships, which are so fragile at a young age stay positive and healthy.

Not only this but by maintaining a positive role model image in front of them by only allowing healthy and positive friendships for yourself also, introduce your child to your friends and show them the importance of you both being involved (to a certain extent) in each other’s relations and being aware of who is who.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to open your home to your child’s friends. Let them feel comfortable in coming over and hanging out with your adult supervision in the background, this way you know what they are up to and it is an excellent way to get to know these new friends. When they are relaxed and in the mood to talk, you can get to know more about them.

However be sure to note your child’s reaction when you are talking to their friends, some children may feel comfortable and happy that you are taking an interest in their lives and friendships however some kids may not be too happy if you are being over friendly and taking the attention away from them. Stay friendly but don’t overdo it and intrude on their time together too much that your child’s guests or your child themself feels uncomfortable. It is important to note that when you take an interest in your child’s friendships, you are portraying a healthy message to your child that their friendships are important to you also.

It is important that you learn the names of your child’s friends, this way you will be able to keep up with all the stories your child has to share with you about their adventures. Not only this, but once you get to know their names and a little more about them, you can list their contact details and their parents contact information in your family address book.

Whenever possible, at school gates or when dropping kids off at each other’s houses, try to get to know the parents of your child’s friends also. By working with their parents you can ensure that your children’s friendships remain positive for all and you will most likely find that you both share the same concerns and values. This is a great way for you to also meet new people and increase your social life!

By getting to know other parents, this is an excellent route to face and possibly fix any issues your child may be having at school. Such as difficulties with a particular subject, if you find both your kids are having a difficult time you could arrange for them to be tutored together of if there are more serious issues then you can both speak to a teacher to express your concerns.

If your child’s school is hosting an event, try taking the time out to attend or stay a little longer when you go to drop your child off. Ask them to introduce you to their friends and ask questions; get to know them better so you can get a better impression of who they are.

Although some children who feel they are growing up may want to spend more time with their friends and less with family, you can change their mind by inviting their friends along too on your family getaways. You can get to know their friends and your child will be more than happy to spend time with you also.

However if you have younger children who are more fond of going to the park or having sleepovers, allow them do so or arrange fun events and get-togethers for them where you can supervise. You’ll find you’ll be having just as much fun as they are once you help arrange games and movies for them.

When it comes to birthday parties you can arrange fun surprise parties for them by inviting all their class members, this is a great way to help your child’s confidence also and help them make more new friends.

If you ever see your child’s friends out and about, try to go out of your way to give them a quick greeting. Many teenagers will actually appreciate seeing a familiar friendly face, especially if they are working somewhere.

Your child is safer if you know where they are, who they are with and if you befriend the parents of your child’s friends too, they can also keep an eye out and make sure your child is not overstepping any boundaries you have set for them. Some teens can be prone to making mistakes such as participating in drugs or taking up the company of unsuitable company, so by keeping an eye on this aspect of your child’s life you can help them make the right decisions and guide them in the right direction. Not just your own child, but of any other younger children that you befriend, who perhaps feel less comfortable talking to their own parents openly about any pressing issues.

Become great at parenting

I remember when I first separated, I didn’t have all the parenting skills needed to be a great parent.  I felt I needed to put some time and focus into learning a few things.  I also had the issues of a busy career which became in someways second place to my new role as a parent.

If I wanted to become great at parenting, something has to give.

I definitely valued and appreciated my career and what it provided.  Don’t get me wrong I kept doing a good job at work but shifted my drive from climbing the corporate ladder to climbing the parenting ladder.  There were some nights that I was free so I stayed back at work to keep on top of things, but I needed to get out of work at 5pm a couple of nights a week and start at 9am instead of 8-8.30am.  I was able to do this by having an understanding company and boss.   I also needed to slow down my social activities, and be more on my game as I found parenting full time requires a lot of effort.

All of my available time was dedicated to keeping a good home, making the kids top of mind and providing a healthy and stable home.  This included making sure that they have their own rooms set up as they like it so it felt like a real second home.  I made sure that there was always good food in the fridge/pantry when they stayed.  I had activities planned and we went on outings with family and friends and just ourselves, there was routine and they were involved with their grandparents and extended family when possible.

We continued with homework just like “normal”, I got involved in school activities, just like normal,went to parent teacher meetings and got involved in their hobbies and sports, just like normal, i think this is the key.

We often did the shopping together and if I needed to go and pay some bills, they came too.  It was all about making their life with me as normal as possible.  Things became easier and parenting took less time.  It became second nature, it allowed me to spend a little bit more time on the things I wanted to do with my life.  I had achieved a happy functional home life for the kids and things started sailing along.

After some time (maybe a year or so when things settled and became consistent again for the kids) I could step back into work a little more but still keep the kids top of mind.  My decision to focus on becoming great at parenting has absolutely been the best decision I have ever made.

 

Why are you being so rude to me…I dont know?

Why are you being so rude to me...I dont know I’m learning very quickly about moody teenagers and trying to be tolerant, but I want to jump in a time machine and go forward 10 years because this is hell!
It seems like I cannot do or say anything that is right and any advise or solutions given feels like a lecture to them.

I understand that there are lots of hormones going on, our school had a night for year 7 parents and covered off areas around dealing with this change.

How to cope with teenage children:

  • Don’t buy into schoolyard arguments, the kids will work it out
  • Be a listener and be there but don’t try and solve their problems
  • Be encouraging and be there but let them work things out in there own time

Adults brains apparently have a hormone called THP which has a calming influence, In our teenagers this same THP heightens anxiety – of course it does 🙂 . I keep reminding myself they are going through many new experiences and having to cope with new challenges like: hormonal change, body changes, developing identity, pressure from friends, and a developing sense of independence.

I am sure they don’t like the moods either. I asked her once..

Why are you being so rude to me? She replied “I dont know”?  

So I just left it and I understood she wasn’t meaning to be rude and she didn’t like it either. I could tell she knew it was wrong.

These reminders are my savior, Thank God there are times where she is calm, happy, respectful and loving otherwise I would go completely out of my mind! So I am just trying to roll with it, provide support and stability. Still setting ground rules for respect as I expect her to be respectful to all people. I pick my battles, remain calm and try to redirect the negative behaviour.

A couple of tips in this areas could be:

  • Pick your battles. If your teenager is basically behaving, ignore minor annoyances such as shrugs, raised eyebrows, or bored looks.
  • Sometimes, teens may be inadvertently disrespectful. (Again, their brains are developing.) Calmly ask about their intention — for example, “That comment came out sounding pretty offensive. Did you mean to behave rudely?

I know its a stage that lots of kids go through, she is a beautiful girl and has a kind warm heart. If she is rude and I do discuss it, I make sure I talk about the behaviour not the person. I’m always  trying to affirm her worth as a person even as I explain why her behavior was unacceptable.

Through the next few years (OMG), I’ll always be involved and interested in her everyday life and be interested in her sport and activities. Even during the times when she is unlovable, I will still give hugs, words of praise, little note in her lunch box with words of love often, because they need it and want unconditional love to help them get through it.

I came across this YouTube video and it reminds me that sometimes they DON’T KNOW why they are being rude and we shouldn’t get upset or take it personally.

How to solve family disputes

how to solve family disputesEveryday we are trying to balance work, home, blended families and health. Our family issues are often left unattended, they can simmer for years and spiral out of control and be that ugly elephant in the room. Working out family problems are not as hard as some would think? There are some intentional efforts you can apply to get the back on track, here are some ideas you could follow…

  1.  Try to understand that family issues are normal and apart of normal life so don’t feel you need to hang on to the issue as tomorrow it can subside.
  2. If it continues to be an issue, get someone to mediate and who can stay impartial
  3. Try hard to understand their point of view and only then see you you can be understood.
  4. Remember that time can heal and the reason of the argument can be often forgotten. Be patient and be ready to accept honest love and a willingness to change.
  5. Remember everyone deserves to be heard and each persons point of view is important. Don’t buy into the thought that everything would be better if only….
  6. Truth is paramount, only communicate using the “whole truth and nothing but the truth” philosophy.

If you have an on going problem with a family member, maybe its time to take a lead role in trying to resolve it and find a solution that will satisfy both parties.

A Date with Dad

A date with dadThe power of a “Date with Dad” is all about “being there” and spending time talking with your kids,  it is so profoundly meaningful that we often miss it.  Kids thrive when their dads take the time to be 100% present and are available to them.  A regular, “Date with Dad” with each of your kids separately is a great place to begin intentionally investing in the overall health and well-being of your child.  Date nights, days or even mornings do not have to be complicated. They can be a simply getting an ice-cream and going for a walk or sit in the park and chat.

Remember to Listen, be affectionate and never embarrass them.

If your looking for ideas on something new to do? Below I have listed a few ideas.

  • Choose a nice recipe and pick up the ingredients  at the supermarket and then return home and cook it up together.
  • Have a movie night.  Rent, buy or download a movie that you’ll both enjoy, make popcorn, and get relax on the couch.
  • Go for a bike ride or long walk together.
  • Get coffee/milkshake or hot chocolate at your favorite cafe – just spend time talking to one another.
  • Go swimming at your local pool together then sit afterward and have a relaxing chat.
  • Go to a theme park walk around and get on a couple of rides together.
  • Head to the zoo or museum. Stroll through the exhibits and discuss what you see and learn.
  • Attend a concert and sing out loud – even if you’re more Beethoven than Bon Jovi, is a great stress reliever.
  • Take a sculpting or drawing class together.  Your local council normally have short course.  Your art will give your son or daughter a new window into your personality.
  • Visit a golf driving range, bowling, pool hall,  for some old-fashioned fun and friendly competition.
  • Go to the footy together, even if you don’t stay for the whole game, have a game can be fun.
  • Fill up a picnic basket and head to the botanical gardens for a relaxing lazy lunch. Don’t forget your picnic blanket.
  • Act like tourists in your own neighbourhood.  Go to your major city and take photos, and pretend you’re seeing this place again for the first time.
  • Draw sketches of one another. Even if you can’t draw, you’ll have fun and create a lovely memory. Sign and date them.
  • Visit your nearby paint ball or laser tag facility.
  • Glide around at your nearest ice skating rink.
  • Investigate your local planetarium open hours and tour dates and book in for star gazing.
  • Go indoor rock climbing, this sort of activity is fun but also helps fathers and children to build trust.
  • Volunteer for a worthy cause together. Visit the ill, organize a fundraiser for a non-profit, or work at a shelter. You’ll spend time with each other, but you’ll also make a difference and help others. You can see what volunteer opportunities there are in your city by clicking here.
  • Have a tournament of your choice – Battleship, Monopoly, cards, Playstation, etc.
  • Maybe go for breakfast to a funky new cafe instead of lunch or dinner?
  • Go to the movies and have a milkshake or similar before or afterwards.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride.
  • Watch the sun rise or set from a great location.
  • Get your child to choose a restaurant, give them a price guide i.e. $ cheap. $$ medium, $$$+ expensive, suggest some locations, they can use Urbanspoon to do the research before hand and let you know where you will be having your Date Date.
  • Hire a fishing charter, they usually go rain hail or shine, they will also clean and fillet the fish, just take an esky to bring your catch home and have a cook-up on fish and chips.
  • Accomplish a fun home project together i.e.  Paint their bedroom.  You’ll work as a team and feel a whole new kind of satisfaction when you’re done.
  • Have high tea complete with scones and cucumber sandwiches at a ritzy hotel
  • Get an hour foot massage together at one of the Thai massage centers around town.
  • Write or get printed a few vouchers and have on them – “Date with Dad” voucher, valid for ever and include on each one an idea, outing or activity of what you both could do.  They can then cash them in  each time you plan a date.

Any other ideas you might have we would love to hear and share them with others.

If you could write a note to your younger self what would you say?

note to younger selfWow , Imagine if we were sat down in the lounge by our dad and he said…

Son, There are a few things that you need to know in life to succeed and I want you to remember them.

Firstly we would have to listen to the content without being a smug know-it-all teenager. Given that, I reckon I would still be married today, be financially set up for retirement, had lasting relationships with friend networks and generally enjoyed life more.

But unfortunately that never happened, not being smug, I was never sat down and given some “facts about living life”.

So for me, its about reflection and what have I learnt?

My note to self would look something like this…

  1. Focus and work hard at school, time flys so fast before you know it your out and into the real world
  2. Study a trade, probably a commercial electrician or a pastry chef…go figure?
  3. Catch up with your school friends often and keep them for life
  4. Go out with lots of girls, get to know what makes you happy and choose a life partner wisely
  5. Know that when you have children your life as you knew it changes for ever and so does your relationship with your partner. Choosing the right partner for the right reasons will become evident in the first 10 years of children
  6. Its doesn’t matter what your neighbours have, be happy with what you have
  7. Try not to be to serious, laugh easily
  8. Look after people who care for you without wanting anything in return
  9. Put in a solid days work and also as much effort in your private life, make sure you have fun at both
  10. Save money for retirement as soon as you start earning a wage, because again, time flys
  11. Don’t sell your real-estate assets, buy more and accumulate them
  12. Learn to cook and then cook for friends
  13. Treat your body well, relax and exercise often
  14. Travel with friends and on your own
  15. Help people less fortunate than yourself
  16. Remember there will be challenges, stay strong and hopeful.

I will be sure to sit with my child and have this conversation, maybe while we are in a cooking class or helping out the people less fortunate than us. I will let you know how that goes.

Listen to this post at Dads Online PODCAST

 

Would you leave your front and back door open whilst your kids are at home?

Online preditorsKeeping our kids safe from online predators is something we all must be aware of. Once upon a time we would keep our kids safe by simply making sure the front and back door of our house was locked before they went to bed. Today, if your kids have any public profiles on sites such as: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ooVoo, Snapchat, MSM Messenger, YouTube or Kick –  to name a few, then your front and back door is open 24/7. If you have kids that are using computers then we need to be knowledge up and prepared to understand what the risks are! There is no excuse for not understanding social media and the danger that it can bring to your child.

This video has a very clear and simple message and should be watched with you kids…

Here are some tips to keep your kids safe online and points for discussion

  • Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
  • Think carefully about posting pictures or video’s of your self.
  • Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.
  • Never give out your passwords
  • Don’t befriend people you don’t know.
  • Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online, speak to your parents or a trusted adult about people who suggest you do.
  • Remember that everyone online is not who they say they are.
  • Think carefully about what you say before posting it online.
  • Respect other peoples views, if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude.
  • If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off the computer if you want to and tell your parent or a trusted adult.

Some ideas to staying safe at home

  • Keep the family computer in an open area such as the lounge, kitchen or a room where it can be monitored.
  • Understand the sites and technology your kids use and know who they are talking to.
  • Create a list of online “rules” with the family e.g. time limits, list of ok sites to visit.
  • Educate your kids so they not to give out personal details without parental knowledge.
  • Make sure your kids know what to do and where to go if they encounter cyber -bullying.
  • Regularly sit with your kids when they are online and look over there shoulder. Let them know you are keeping track of there online activity.
  • Talk about online risks and what to watch out for and how you can be tricked.
  • Reinforce positive behaviors and values in the online world.
  • Install software or services that can restrict, block or filter offensive websites.
  • We cant ignore technology, kids and teens will use them, if they are not using it at home then they may use it at a friends house or in the school yard? so the best course of action is to discuss openly and educate.