(BPT) - Life changes a bit when school resumes in the fall. Traffic patterns become more regular, family schedules adjust and kids fill their hours with classes, homework and after-school activities. As children grow up, it can be difficult for parents to know how to stay connected and keep them safe.
Parents always want to know their children's schedules and locations, but they don't necessarily always have to be present as their pre-teens go about their day-to-day activities. The following tips help parents keep track of their children without being overbearing.
1. Arrange a carpool. Carpooling is a great solution for many of the issues faced by parents of pre-teens. Scheduling a carpool with another trusted parent helps to free up your schedule, and it also lets you know your daughter is safe and supervised. Pre-teens will like having a break from mom and dad once in a while, especially when around their friends.
2. Stay connected. Technology can help parents keep in contact with their children at all times of the day. TracFone Wireless is a low-cost way to provide your child with a cellphone and plan that gives him or her the technology they crave. You can also pass down an older phone you are no longer using and set it up with a plan. This way your child can text you when he or she gets to wherever they are going, call you after school to check with you about changing plans or even email you a photo of a shirt they want to purchase to support the school team. This connection allows you to stay fully informed of your child's whereabouts without having to actually be present, worry about a dropped call or not having signal.
3. Encourage activity planning. Maintaining a schedule is an important skill for all older kids to learn, and parents can encourage their pre-teens to start planning their own social calendar. Let your children know they are expected to keep you in the loop about what they are doing, who they will be seeing, where they are going and which parents will be attending.
4. Invite the friends over. Why not turn your home into the hang-out for all of your pre-teen's friends? Some ways to do this include having plenty of food available, good entertainment options and a fun, comfortable space like a fire pit or a pool. This way you'll know who's hanging out with your children and where they are, all without making them uncomfortable.
Take advantage of technological improvements and work with other parents to monitor their pre-teens, and try to avoid hovering over the youths' shoulders. Put these tips to use this year so you can keep tabs on your children and make sure they are safe, without having to actually be there with them.