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Best Ways To Get More Privacy In Your Home

Living in privacy in the modern age appears to be getting more tough by the day. With an increase in CCTV cameras on every street and nosy smartphones users ready to record and post online everything they see, keeping your family home and it’s contents out of sight may appear impossible. Luckily, there are actually some great, creative ways in which you can make your homestead more private, and ensure that both your family and belongings are secure and out of reach of prying eyes. If you’re interested and want to know more, then read on to discover some of best steps you can implement to protect your property today!

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Fencing & Greenery

If your garden is open and stands without any kind of defensive border around the edges, the likelihood of people being able to see into your property is of course very high. In contrast, when you make an effort to install some kind of feature that surrounds your outdoor space, everything inside seems more out of reach. Whether you opt for something that seems more natural such as trees or tall plants that can create a green barrier; or something that’s a little more imposing and obvious to create a definition between your families sanctuary and the outside world, like a wooden fence or brick wall. This all depends on the kind of vibe that you are trying to give off, as you may already have a specific design that you need to stick to. 

Curtains & Blinds 

When you travel further inside, you have a few different options to choose from. Blinds can filter the incoming light whilst still blocking anyone from seeing inside, meaning you can still have a bright home despite installing extra privacy measures. They come in so many different designs and styles that any decor can accommodate a perfect set of blinds, but if you’re looking for something a bit more relaxed and rustic then perhaps curtains may be a better option. Curtains can be as thick as per your own personal choice, as there are even specific types of net curtains that allow you to see outside clearly, yet those outside cannot see in. Additionally, some are thick and covered with lush patterns to create a softer more homely kind of privacy, and they can also help to keep in some warmth when it gets a little colder. 

Security Features 

If you want to install some extra privacy features for security reasons, then luckily there are several different steps you can take. First of all, installing a camera of your own can actually protect your privacy though it may seem a strange concept, as it can act as a kind of preventative measure against any suspicious activity on or around your property. As well as this, you can measure your windows and invest in some kind of shutters. These can be made of several different materials, metal being the toughest, that close to secure your family and belongings safe inside.

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4 Different Ways To Use Small Outdoor Space

If your outdoor space is relatively small, it can be difficult to know how the space can be used to the greatest effect. Conventionally, small gardens have always been treated largely as bigger ones would – a play area for kids, a lawn, a space to sit, and similar – but just on a smaller scale. 

However, the confines of a small space can sometimes mean it is preferable to choose a simple theme and double down on it; using the entire space to service a single goal. Below, we have suggested four different ways that you can use a small outdoor space, as well as the benefits each option can provide… 

#1 – Create a haven for wildlife

Many gardeners choose to dedicate at least some of the space in their garden to wildlife by, for example, providing an insect hotel or bird feeders. However, you can take this a step further; all you need is a small seating area for yourself, and then the rest of the space can be entirely dedicated to wildlife.

There are plenty of different ways to ensure that your garden is as wildlife-friendly as possible. Bird feeders, for example, do not necessarily need to contain food – you could save one container and fill it with discarded pet hair, which birds will then be able to use for their nests. Wildlife ponds are also a great idea and require relatively little maintenance when constructed, and you can also add sheltered areas that small animals can use as hides during the winter. Finally, you can boost the number of bees and butterflies that visit your garden by removing your lawn and planting a beautiful wildflower meadow instead. 

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#2 – Use the space to add an extra “room” to your home 

The way that people use their gardens is changing, to the point where modern gardens are no longer just about plants, flowers, and trees. For many, their outdoor space can be used as a place to relax, cook, and gather with friends and family – a place of leisure that essentially functions as another room in their house. Using outdoor space in this way is a particularly popular choice with those who do not necessarily have the time to maintain a conventional, greenery-filled garden, but still want to be able to enjoy time spent outside. 

If you want to give this idea a try, it’s best to focus on weather protection first; the likes of Stylemaster Patios can install patios with opening roofs or covered decks that help to enclose the space and make it more all-season-friendly. With this in place, you can then look to add function; barbecues are a particularly popular choice, especially for those who want to entertain guests frequently, and a comfy sofa and a few decorative touches can add a sense of coziness. Last but not least, think about how you will provide heating to the space, especially if you intend to be able to use it throughout the year – patio heaters are usually the best choice for this purpose. 

#3 – Dedicate the space to growing your own produce 

People growing their own fruit and vegetables has become more and more common in recent years, though in most cases, the activity is restricted to small sections of a garden or a few individual containers. However, the more space you are able to use, the greater your yield will be – so you could consider the majority of your entire outdoor space to the purposes of growing. 

To turn this idea into a reality, you’ll probably need to make sure you leave enough space to keep equipment – such as fertilizers,  plant labels, hand tools, and so on – in, but a small cabinet will usually suffice for most families. The rest of the space can be used to plant out fruit and vegetable seedlings. If you want to make the absolute most of the space you have available, square foot gardening is by far the best way to do this. Also think about vertical space and how it can be used; hanging baskets, for example, can be used to grow strawberries and blackberries, which can help to free up ground space. In time, you’ll be able to visit your garden rather than a store when you’re cooking a meal – so not only is this idea a useful way to use a small outdoor space, but it could also help to cut down on your grocery bills. 

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#4 – Create your own storage center

The idea of turning your garden into a kind of storage center may be unusual, but for some families, it can make complete sense. If you have run out of storage space in your property or your garage, then repurposing your backyard and dedicating it to storage can be a great way of easing this concern. 

Sheds are perhaps the most valuable way of adding to your home’s storage; while these (usually wooden) buildings are most commonly reserved for garden equipment, they can be used for anything – leisure equipment, out-of-season clothes, and anything else you’re struggling to find a home for elsewhere. Provided that you store items in water-tight boxes and add padlocks to ensure your items are secure, there’s really no reason not to use a shed as valuable extra storage space for your home. You may want to reserve a small section of the garden for a patio that you can sit out and relax on, but otherwise, it makes complete sense to utilize your outdoor space for storage purposes if doing so is the most practical choice for your family. 

In conclusion 

Exploring one of the ideas above gives you the chance to fully focus your time and resources to ensure you can use your small outdoor space as effectively as possible. Choosing a single focus is often simpler, and more cost effective, then trying to use a small space to create a multipurpose garden, so if you like the idea, it could well be worth selecting one of the ideas above and giving it a try for yourself.

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Wedding Craft Projects to DIY

You’ve got the partner, you’ve got the ring, and you’ve got the excitement of your family and friends asking you about all things wedding. Getting engaged to the love of your life is an incredibly exciting stage of life. You now want to get planning your special day to make it a truly memorable experience for everyone around as you get ready to say ‘I do’. The costs of all those special touches can really add up. Here are 5 wedding craft projects you can DIY to add a personal touch to your unique day. 

Bunting

If you’re going for a traditional country style wedding, there’s always room for bunting. Simple, rustic looking bunting can be made simply using ribbons and triangles of fabric that can simply be sewn together. Strung together with string lights for a romantic feel to your room. 

Toiletry Baskets for Bathrooms 

Baskets with miniature toiletries in the bathrooms can be the saving grace of any potential mishaps at a wedding. Place feminine hygiene products, hair spray, deodorant, breath mints and gum in baskets along with candies and perfume to help your guests to freshen up. It may not add a lot to the grandeur of the occasion, but it’ll certainly help maintain the cheerful atmosphere.  A thoughtful and personal touch to a wedding. 

Mr & Mrs Glasses …or ANYTHING 

Etsy and EBay are great resources to produce personalized touches for a wedding. However, there is also a lot of potential to make these things alone. Search websites such as vinylcuttingmachineguide.com to shop and compare vinyl cutters that can be used for many of your personalized wedding crafts. You can easily cut transfers for champagne flutes to give the extra touches to your toasts– they also make excellent keepsakes for after the wedding! 

DIY Photo Booths 

Photo booths are fun and memorable. It creates memorable keepsakes for guests and the happy couple themselves. Get creative with costumes, wigs and props and use Polaroid cameras-why not have your guests use their pictures next to their messages in your guest book? Anyone who has used social media in the past 10 years has run into countless fake mustaches. It’s easy, it’s affordable and it’s fun.

Centerpieces and Cake Toppers

Centerpieces don’t have to be show stoppers. They can also be functional and fun. Don’t have room for a photo booth? Thankfully, there will be no shortage of high-quality cameras and amateur photographers in attendance. Artfully arrange a bunch of fake mustaches and maybe a few sentimental things as well and let people make their own fun — and lasting memories for you.

In the end, the most important part of a wedding is not the decoration. It’s not how much it all costs. Focus on what matters — the ceremony itself — and have fun with the rest. Spending a fortune is not what makes a wedding memorable. Use the money on the honeymoon. Get creative on the rest. It might be a lot more fun than you might expect. 


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Nine Fast Hacks To Improve Your Health

Being busy makes it easy to fall into bad health habits, like staying up too late, skipping the gym or relying on fast food. If you want to live a longer, healthier, happier life, you need to invest in your health. Here are some simple health hacks that even the busiest person can squeeze into their routine.

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  1. Work on mindful eating. Pay attention your appetite to help you make better food choices and enjoy your food more. Sit down at a table to eat your meal, instead of eating off your lap in front of the television. Chew your food slowly, instead of trying to scarf it down in a rush. Pay more attention to the flavours and savour your food. This will help you to recognise when you’re full, making you less likely to eat more than you want. 
  2. Put a small drop of lavender oil on a tissue and tuck this inside your pillowcase before you go to bed. The scent of the lavender works as basic aromatherapy to help you relax, and drift off to sleep a little easier. 
  3. Make sure your primary care doctor is someone that you like and trust. Your doctor will be your first point of contact for any health issues, so it’s important that you feel able to talk with them about any concerns you might have. 
  4. Floss daily. Flossing is one of the best ways to promote gum health and keep your whole mouth feeling clean and healthy. 
  5. If you spend a lot of your day looking at backlit screens, whether phones or computer screens, take better care of your eyes by taking regular screen breaks. Try the 20.20/20 rule, which means that after twenty minutes looking at a screen, look away for twenty seconds at an object over twenty feet away. 
  6. Try meditating. Your mental health is just as key as your physical health, so don’t forget about caring for it too. Meditation, if only for a few minutes each day, gives you the space to focus on your breath and let go a little. If you’re new to the practice, try a guided meditation app to learn the basics. 
  7. Take a stretch break. If you’re sitting down for most of the day, your muscles can quickly end up feeling tight and uncomfortable. Take a short break and spend a few minutes stretching your muscles out to release tension and ease tightness. 
  8. If you commute to work on the train or bus, get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way. This is a great way to sneak in some extra exercise every day and get some fresh air and added steps. If you work in an office all day, walking some of your commute means you get to be outside in some daylight for a short while, instead of being inside in artificial light the whole day. 
  9. Go to bed a little earlier. Sleep is one of the best things you can do to ease stress. Not getting enough sleep means your health will suffer. Instead of sitting up late every night, try and get to bed a little earlier. Even just an hour before your usual bedtime can make a lot of difference in making you feel refreshed in the morning
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How You Can Manage Your Personal Health

In this busy world, many of us barely have any time to stand still, never mind taking time out to worry about our own health. But it’s important to take a step back and to focus on yourself, and how you can manage your personal health. Here are some tips on how you can do that.

Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

The most important thing about a healthy lifestyle is that it’s easy to maintain. A lot of people decide they’re going to go to the gym every single day, or give up chocolate for the rest of their lives, or try out the newest fad diet, but the truth is that they aren’t the way to stay healthy. It’s about your entire lifestyle, allowing yourself what you love in moderation, and not beating yourself up when you don’t end up going for that run after work or if you throw your hands up in despair and order pizza when that new kale recipe doesn’t turn out the way that you wanted it to. Moderation is key: eat healthily, but treat yourself. Make sure you stay active, but don’t worry about running any marathons if you don’t want to.

Be On Your Team

It’s important that you are part of your own medical team. Make notes in your doctors’ appointments, ask questions, and do research on websites like Inspire so you can learn more about the medications that you may be taking and the conditions that you may have. Being your own advocate is a crucial step in learning to take control of your own health.

Have Regular Health Checks

Having regular health checks is the best way to make sure that you’re on top of your health. Go to the doctor and make sure that you get your blood pressure checked every two years and, if you’re a woman, make sure you get regular pap smears and pelvic exams to make sure that you don’t have any irregular cells that could lead to cervical cancer. Older men should ensure that they get regular prostate exams, and past forty, people should also make sure they get regular breast checks, cholesterol checks, and eye exams. Although eye exams might not seem important to you, you need to make sure that your eyes are in good shape – you may need glasses to drive safely.

Consider Your Mental Health

Mental health is a factor that many people end up neglecting, but it’s every bit as important as your physical health – in fact, poor physical health can affect your mental health, and vice versa. More and more people are finding that they suffer from anxiety or depression, and although you may be worried about slapping a name like that onto what you’re feeling, it isn’t a bad thing. Talking to a therapist, trying out cognitive behavioural therapy, or going on medication can all help you to live a healthier and happier everyday life. Therapists can help you figure out coping mechanisms that will improve your life.

Managing your health can involve a lot of factors, but if you do your best to lead a healthy lifestyle and visit your doctor regularly, you can’t go far wrong.

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5 Ways To Help Your Little One To Sleep

Helping your child to sleep can seem like an impossible task. You put them to bed, only to find that half an hour later, they’re wandering downstairs wide awake. Not only is this bad for your child’s sleeping pattern, but it also eats into your time of an evening, which every parent needs to unwind. But how can you help your little one to sleep, and is there any way to actually do so that works well?

We’ve noted down 5 ideas here, that have worked out for other parents. It’s worth a try, huh?

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#1: Make a routine

One of the most important things to do is to set a routine for your kids, so that they have a similar bedtime – and waking up time – every day. Whilst this can seem like it doesn’t really matter, it will work wonders for your kids sleeping patterns, and it could even mean that they have healthier sleep when they get older. Choose a reasonable time, and try to stick to it every night.

#2: Say no to screens

Another thing that can affect your child’s sleep is screens, so make sure that you limit screen time before they go to bed. Instead of putting the television on for your children, why not read to them? This could help them to sleep better, and it will allow them to relax properly in the process. Try not to allow them to use phones or games consoles an hour or two before bedtime, as this will help.

#3: Think about bedroom temperature

Your child’s issues with sleep may derive from the fact that their bedroom simply isn’t a suitable temperature for them. Children all have different preferences, but in general, a good temperature for a child’s bedroom is between 68 and 72 degrees (a little below and above this is fine, too). Visit an air conditioning showroom, and make sure that your house is kitted out for a good night’s sleep.

#4: Create some calm before bed

If your child is super hyperactive before bed, it’s going to be hard for them to relax and go to sleep. Try to create a calm environment an hour or so before bedtime; dim the lights, make sure that you’re all relaxing as a family, and certainly be mindful of what your kids are eating that could affect their sleep. Sugary foods and soda are (obviously) a bad idea, so you may want to eliminate these things, too.

#5: Work out what is interrupting sleep

Sometimes, the issues that your children are having with sleep are clear. Perhaps they’re scared of something, and they can’t sleep because this is playing on their minds? Make sure that you address this – perhaps by turning on a night light, or telling them that monsters can’t get into the house – and you should find that they fall asleep quickly without these worries hanging over them.

So, if you want to help your little one to sleep, then keep these 5 things in mind! Be sure to persist, and everybody in the family will be enjoying catching those zzzs.

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Six Ways To Make Your Home Feel Like A Luxury Resort

One of the best things about a vacation is how relaxed you feel, but once you arrive home, the stresses of everyday life can come rushing back all too quickly. Bring some of the relaxation home with you, and make some changes to your home inspired by those luxury vacation resorts. Bring resort living home, and get the rest of your house to match your hotel inspired bedroom.

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  1. Upgrade your bathroom. Depending on your budget, you can make large or small changes to your bathroom to get that spa bath feel. If you have more money to play with, switch out your bathroom suite for some serious luxury. A glass-walled walk in shower with a waterfall head, and a jacuzzi bath with jets will make you feel like a VIP everyday. If your budget is tighter, make small chances. Add a heated towel rack and swap your towels for high quality, super soft bath sheets. The large towel is much nicer to use. Add some plush robes, candles and luxurious toiletries, and even without a new suite, your bathroom will feel chic. 
  2. Create a resort worthy entrance to your home. Keep the front garden tidy, with some pops of color leading you to the front door, with large, well-kept plants. If you can find who sells palm trees nearby, add palms in beautiful pots by the front door for a beach luxe feel. 
  3. Turn your hallway into a hotel lobby. Buy a beautiful hall table, and top it with some beautiful pieces that attract the eye as soon as you come in. A pretty lamp, a vase of great smelling flowers, some bowls to contain knick-knacks and keys as you come in or framed pictures of the family all add personality and glam. Hang a piece of artwork or a mirror above the table to draw the eye. Mirrors are fantastic in small, dark hallways as they bounce light back into the space, making it feel larger and brighter. 
  4. Invest in beautiful curtains. Drapes in a luxe fabric with a nice texture instantly make a room feel more expensive. Choose the best you can afford and have them made to fit your windows instead of choosing ready made. Silk, damasks and linen all make for luxurious curtains. In bedrooms, hang blackout curtains to help you get hotel quality sleep. 
  5. Create mood lighting. Treat yourself to a beautiful light fitting for your ceiling lights. Use dramatic shades or chandelier style fittings if you have high ceilings, and use them to upgrade the look of spaces like over the dining table. Dimmer switches are a great way to adjust the light in a room, whether you’re in the mood for light and bright, or more dimly lit and romantic. Add lamps on side tables for softer lighting, especially in the bedroom. 
  6. Add flowers and greenery wherever you can. Resorts are always filled with plants, so do the same at home. Succulents, potted plants and cut flowers all upgrade the feel of your home, bringing in color, scent and beauty

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Your Outdoors Adventure Begins In The Garage

Ah summer! If there were only one season for road trips, it would be now. When the days are still long, and the nights are clear, there is no better time to drive around and explore your surroundings. Indeed, the weather makes outdoor adventures easy – as long as you avoid the lunch hour where the sun is at its peak. 
You could plan a fun getaway in contact with nature. A tent, a backpack, and your favorite hiking boots, and you’re ready to explore and even forage your meals.Admittedly, you’ll need to pick a campaign site to start with, as it’ll make your break a little more manageable and comfortable – because, no matter how much of an adventurer you pretend to be, you’ll still enjoy the running water in the shower facilities! 

However, before you head to the nearest site by the sea, you need to start packing your explorer’s bag. Getting your clothes and essentials right can take a little practice, but you’re likely to find plenty of brilliant advice online. But most people forget the next step, aka putting your bag in the car and driving away. You can’t go to your next adventure if you can’t rely on your vehicle. Here’s the basic explorer’s guide to prep your car. 

Your Outdoors Adventure Begins In The Garage

Protect your car from the weather

First of all, keeping your vehicle in pristine condition is going to make your preps smoother. Regular maintenance is a no-brainer. You can also protect your car from the weather – rain and sun can damage the body in the long term – by parking it in a garage. Alternatively, you can get in touch with landscaping experts such as Lifestyle Patios to discuss the build and cost of an elegant carport. Ultimately, looking after your vehicle is adventure rule 101. 

Always pack the essential tools

A car takes you from A to B. Most of us don’t think much about our vehicles. It’s no more than necessary transportation. However, unlike public transport services, when the car breaks down, and you’re on an isolated road, you can”’t expert a provider to come and fix the issues. You need to be able to tackle some of the most common car problems when you’re exploring the country. Did you know, for instance, that the majority of drivers are uncomfortable changing a tire? They list three reasons to call for help. Firstly, they don’t have the right tools. Secondly, they don’t know how to. And thirdly, they don’t want to engage in a manual task. But if you don’t want your adventure to stop dead at the first flat tire, you need to keep a handy toolbox in the boot and watched a few tutorials online. Additionally, if you’re keen on playing the adventurer, you need to become a real-life MacGyver. You have to be the person who can fix what’s broken to move forward with the exploration. 

Avoid beginner’s mistakes

Who says outdoor exploration says leaving the beaten track. You need to know how to free your car from mud, sand, or anything else.There’s nothing worse than ending your journey because the car is stuck! 

You can pick an exciting destination and pack your best-hiking boots. You can pack your camera for the fantastic landscape photos. But without looking after your vehicle in the first place, there are little chances that you can enjoy your outdoor break!

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Safeguarding Your Future Health To Enjoy Your Golden Years

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Retirement seems like a million miles away yet it creeps closer each year. There is nothing wrong with aging as it’s an occupational hazard of growing up. Still, nobody wants to spend their golden years struggling to remember the most basic of things. After all, they are some of the most enjoyable years of life. The key is to safeguard your health and you can do it right now regardless of your age with the right care. Whether you’re forty, fifty or sixty, it’s never too late when you put the following tips into practice.

Proactive Decisions

Wrong decisions have consequences, and not making any at all is a major problem. People who don’t take their future seriously end up alone and without help which is a big deal when your mind and body aren’t as effective. The key is to make decisions now with one eye on the future. Do you have a retirement budget? Are you visiting the doctor as much as you should? Is there a skilled nursing community you believe would be the perfect match? For the latter, you can kill two birds with one stone by sorting out care for elderly relatives while keeping an open mind to your arrangements for later life.

Moisturizer

Another ailment at the top of the list is wrinkles. Looking good is something everyone wants to do as they age, and loose skin isn’t the answer. Collagen levels decrease as the body grows old, so it’s tough to eliminate the signs of aging altogether. However, maintaining a comprehensive skin routine should result in firm, moist skin well into old age. The trick is not to over moisturize. Once or twice a day regardless of the season is plenty. Also, clean the pores by getting as deep into the cells as possible.

Diet

The things that go into your body will impact your health. From a beauty perspective, not eating fresh produce will result in greasy, oily skin. Your pores will clog and you’ll suffer from wrinkles, crow’s feet and bags under your eyes. Of course, there is the impact fatty foods have on weight gain and the vital organs. Going overboard with takeout will put pressure on the heart and lower your life expectancy. And, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol only compounds these problems. Try and eat a balanced diet and cut down on the harmful substances whenever possible. Your body will thank you for it in the short and long-term.

Doctor’s Appointments

You can’t see what’s going on under the hood. And, if you could, there would be no way to understand the picture. After all, you don’t have a medical degree and years of experience in a hospital environment. That’s why doctors are essential – they can diagnose and offer advice on how to safeguard your health. Never assume you should only see a medical professional once something is wrong – scheduling a regular checkup should help you regulate your lifestyle as the doc will spot any issues before they become a major problem.

Your health depends on the choices you make which is why incorporating these tips into your lifestyle is an incredible move.

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The Ultimate Balancing Act: Giving Your Kids Independence, While Keeping Them Safe

Independence and safety is a constant battleground for parents. We want to let our children have some freedom as they grow up. We want them to able to go and play with their friends, to stay for after-school clubs on their own, and even to go to events with friends and on their own. We know that to grow up to be responsible, careful and streetwise adults, this freedom in their younger years is essential. But, we worry. When they first start playing out alone, we sit trying to watch them through the window. Those first few weeks of them walking home from school alone, we’re constantly checking the time and fighting the temptation to call them.

We want to give them freedom. We want to show them that we trust them, and we want them to be able to grow up, exploring their own personality and character in their own space. We want them to be sensible, independent and responsible. Yet above all, we want them to be safe. It’s a delicate balance between protecting them and letting them go a little bit. Here are some tips to help you to get it right as your kids get older.

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Educate Them

The very best way to keep your children safe as you start letting them out into the world alone is with education. Teach them about stranger danger and who to call in an emergency. Tell them what to do if they need help and make sure they know your name, address, and phone number. But also teach them things like local public transport information, take them out walking so that they know the local area on foot and teach them anything at all that you think that they need to know.

In today’s world, online safety and independence is another concern. The Family Orbit iPhone App can help you to keep them safe but teaching them as much as you can about keeping themselves safe online can also be a massive help.

Set Some Ground Rules

Rules are often the key to safety. Give them times to be in. If there’s somewhere you don’t want to go, make it a rule. You might want to say that they can only go out alone on weekends or once homework is complete. It’s also ok to tell them that they need to check in with you with a text or phone call at regular intervals. Rules keep them safe and help everyone to feel more at ease.

Encourage Honesty (Without Hounding Them)

It’s crucial that your kids feel happy talking to you about what they do, who they see and how they feel. Ask them questions about their friends and what they’ve been up to, without it seeming like you are grilling them. Talk about your own day, ask natural questions and encourage an open and honest relationship between you. This will mean that they are much more likely to come to you if they need help.

It’s Ok to Worry

All parents worry when their children start to become more independent. It’s normal and natural, but you shouldn’t let your worries hold your children back.