Trick-or-treating is an exciting time for kids. Chances are, your children have been waiting all year to dress up and go house to house collecting candy. But just because your kids are excited doesn’t mean you are.
As a parent, you might be wary of your kids walking around at night. It makes sense that you’d be worried about their safety as they stroll the neighborhood in the dark. Luckily, there are ways you can keep track of your children as they have fun this Halloween. From teaching your kids to stay alert to monitoring their location, here’s how to keep your kids safe while they trick-or-treat.
1. Set Rules and Consequences
Before sending your costumed kiddos out the door, set a few ground rules to help keep them safe. For instance, let’s say your children are old enough to trick-or-treat without you. Instruct them on safely crossing the street and staying aware of their surroundings. Give them a designated curfew to be home and make sure they understand the consequences if they’re late.
You also want your kids to know the importance of staying with their group or near an adult (if they’re on the younger side). The last thing you want is for your children to wander off by themselves and end up getting lost.
Another rule you should set for your kids is waiting to eat their candy until you’ve had time to look through it. This is especially true if any of your children have an allergy to certain ingredients. And while most tales of tainted candy were little more than urban legend, inspecting their haul will help you rest easy. It’s better to be too careful than not careful enough.
2. Consider a GPS Watch
When it comes to keeping tabs on your offspring, a kids GPS watch can be a handy gadget. These kid-friendly devices resemble popular smart watches, but they come with safeguards. While these watches double as cell phones, they don’t come with internet access. That means you won’t have to worry about your child getting distracted by a game or app during their Halloween meanderings.
These kid-friendly watches even allow you to set “safe zones” for your child. This can come in especially handy on Halloween, as your kiddo moves from place to place. For example, maybe you only want them to trick-or-treat in a few specific neighborhoods. Make those the safe zones, so you’re immediately notified if they leave one of those areas.
3. Use Location-Tracking Apps
Perhaps you and your kids have iPhones. If so, you can easily track their location while they’re out on Halloween. All you have to do is download Apple’s Find My Friends app.
Once the app is installed, tap the add button and request to follow your children. You can have your kids do the same if you’d like to share your location with them. It’s important to note that they have to accept your request in order for you to have access to their location. They can choose to share their location always or just until the end of the day. Once you have permission to track their location, it’ll be easy for you to see their movements throughout the night.
Find My Friends also comes with privacy controls. For instance, users can stop sharing their location whenever they want, with whomever they want, and for however long they want. As a parent who wants to keep tabs on your children, you may not like this idea. That’s why it’s important to have a conversation with your kids, before they go trick-or-treating, about keeping their location on during the night.
4. Don’t Forget About Social Media
There’s a good chance your older kids have a social media presence. Did you know you can use certain apps to your advantage? Turns out many social media apps offer location-sharing features so users can keep up with one another. These apps include Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. With all three, your child can turn on their location so you can see where they are.
Snapchat’s location feature is rather simple. However, you can only see your child’s location when they have Snapchat open. With Facebook Messenger, your child can turn on the live location feature and drop a pin of their location at any time. WhatsApp is a messenger app where your kids can share their location for a specific period.
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In addition to social media, there are other location-monitoring apps you can download. Life360 is a popular app many family members use to keep track of each other. This app is similar to Apple’s Find My Friends, but Life360 works on both Android phones and iPhones.
5. Prioritize Visibility
Are you supervising your kids while they trick-or-treat this Halloween? You may think you’re observant enough to never lose sight of them, but it can happen. That’s why using a GPS tracker or location app is so important. However, there are other low-tech ways you can keep an eye on your kids.
For one, make sure your kids are wearing bright clothing. That could be a yellow jacket over their Halloween costume or neon sneakers. Either can make spotting your kids at night easier. You could also have your kids carry glow sticks or wear them as a bracelet or necklace so they’re more visible.
And don’t forget about flashlights! It gets dark early during the fall, so having a flashlight can come in handy. Alternatively, your phone doubtless has a flashlight app that will shine bright.
Parents, don’t let stress about your kids’ trick-or-treating spoil the holiday fun. Instead, use the tips above to keep them safe this Halloween and give yourself some welcome peace of mind.