Holiday season is here, and with that comes a sense excitement! School breaks, festivities, and the promise of quality time with family and friends creates an atmosphere of joy and celebration. But there is an element of caution.
While the holidays are a time for fun and relaxation, it's crucial for both parents and youth to prioritise safety. So lets, explore some practical tips and guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday experience for all.
Communication is key -
Open and honest communication between parents and youth is the foundation of safety. Discuss plans, expectations, and any concerns beforehand. Encourage teens to share their plans with you, including details about where they'll be, who they'll be with, and when they plan to return. If away for an extended period have them send updates via text or calling and ask them to keep their phones accessible (and charged); explain that it's not checking on them through lack of trust, but just for peace of mind that everyone is safe.
Have an escape plan -
Choose an ‘SOS Emoji’ - it’s an emoji that your child can text you if they want to leave a situation, but can’t call or text a long message. Choose something a bit obscure that you don’t use often, - maybe the octopus or the piece of cheese? Promise you’ll collect them immediately if they text you that particular emoji.
Get to know who they’ll be with -
Not just the friends but their families too. If possible, offer to take them on outings with their friends and collect them and return them to their homes. It's another way to get to know the parents and feel comfortable about the relationships your child/children are forming.
Establish Clear Boundaries -
Have clear boundaries regarding limits, curfew, alcohol consumption, and party attendance. Understand the importance of responsible behaviour and the potential consequences of risky actions. Safety comes first. Know when to walk away. Foster an approachable relationship where it’s comfortable to reach out if an unsafe situation arises.
Plan Safe Transportation -
Whether driving or relying on public transportation, ensure that plans include a safe and reliable way to get to and from the destination. If driving themselves, remind them to avoid distractions, wear seat-belts, and never drink and drive. Encourage the use of ride-share or public transportation if needed.