A little peace of mind…
So the latest parenting craze is all to do with ‘free-range parenting’, I’ve written before how I’m not a fan of parenting fads because they tend to lean-to the extreme, when in my opinion a variety of methods to suit your family and lifestyle is the key to raising healthy balanced children and keeping the family home happy and harmonious.
Having said that I love the beliefs behind ‘free-range parenting’ and have long-held many before being told what they were. It is about remembering that the dreadful stories of kidnap and horrific accidents we read about in the press are incredibly rare and that is why they are shocking to read. It’s arguing with the voice that says ‘it’s not safe’ when your child wants to race you home from school using a different route. It’s allowing the children the freedom we enjoyed in our own childhoods to freely explore. Letting go of the notion that children need constant entertainment and instead allowing them time to create their own adventures.
I do not just believe this is a nice idea, I believe it’s an essential part of teaching children skills of independent thought, decision-making and responsibility for their future.
It was easy in Ireland; the children got home from school, dropped their bags and went out, they may return with a horde of friends occasionally, they knew the limits of how far they could go and when to be home. The occasional look out onto the green to check where they were was enough, you knew other parents were doing the same and that someone would quickly come calling if there was an accident or more likely to tell tales!
It’s not as easy in London, not easy when there’s only two to play. We’re lucky though, we have a park at the end of our road, they want to cycle into and around it and then back again, just like we used to cycle around the block when we were children and I want to let them. Then that voice is there again, ‘it’s not safe’, ‘what if something did happen?’ They’d say it was my fault, they’d ask where I was – who are they? The same kind of people who attacked the parent’s of Madeleine McCann and April Jones when the worst did happen.
This is why I was so excited when I first saw a 1st Fone. It was my ‘peace of mind’ the key to allowing a little more freedom and knowledge that a calculated risk was managed…
1st Fones are a credit card sized mobile pre-programmed with numbers of your choice. It means that if and when there’s a need they can contact you, the phones accept incoming calls so you can always get in touch with them too. Conveniently they come with a layard so the children pop them around their necks and not give them a second thought. That’s all the do! They have no games, apps or anything else to distract or run up an enormous bill for you. They only phone the programmed numbers so are useless to others removing the risk of them being targeted by bullies or thieves.
When we go somewhere busy they wear them so we can easily get in contact with one another if someone gets separated from the group. When they go to after school clubs, sleep overs and camps they can pop them in the bottom of their bag just incase they have a wobbly moment and need to speak to mum (it’s not happened). They can ring their Grandad for a quick hello and often ring one another when they go places separately to tell the other what they’re up to – which I find incredibly endearing. Lastly they can cycle around the park together, the phone will not prevent accidents happening but I know they can get in touch if they need help.
1st fones come in a range of fun designs and everywhere my children have worn them they have attracted attention from all ages. The phone is priced at £55 on a pay monthly contract and £70 for pay as you go, pay monthly contracts cost between £7.50 – £15.00 per month and for either 50, 100 or 500 inclusive minutes.
I am delighted with our’s and think the rates are more than reasonable for peace of mind, we were given the phone and a month free for purposes of review and I will be paying personally to extend their contracts. The only complaint I have is that the children may check up on you too – the last time I left them with Grandma and went for breakfast with hubby I got regular calls to ask where I was, if I was ok and when I’d be home.
1st Fones are available online from www.myownfone.com where as well as the 1st Fone for children you may purchase a more grown up style for seniors.