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Back to School Safety Tips For Kids and Grownups!
Get ready — the start of yet another school year is upon us! Maybe you’re eagerly counting the days until the kids come back or maybe you’re just a little anxious when your kids go to Kindergarten for the first time. No matter how you feel about the end of summer vacation, it’s definitely time to start preparing for the start of a new school year and all that it entails. In between supplies and shopping for the latest fashions, take a few minutes to review some safety tips as we prepare for the next 10 months of school activities, sports and after-school programs, play dates and everything else in between.
· Is your child starting a new school or nursery?
· Will they walk to school or wait at the bus stop?
· Will they be spending after school hours in a program or at a friend’s house?
Here are some helpful tips for both younger kids and older kids, as well as some good, timely reminders for parents!
FOR OLDER CHILDREN:
1. From Kindergarten, children should know your Mobile phone number. You can also put an ID card in their backpack with relevant contact information, and let them know exactly where it is if they need it.
2. Go over exactly who is allowed to pick them up from school… and keep the list short so it’s not confusing. Review every day as part of your drop-off ritual, especially if there are different people picking up on different days. IE“Don’t forget that grandma will pick you up today.”
3. Create an “Ultimate Safe Adult” a list of who else is allowed them up in a crisis. Limit to 3 safe adults… ie Grandma, Aunt Sue, one or two of their friend’s moms.
4. Tell your children that you would NEVER send someone they don’t know to pick them up. If someone else tries, they should immediately go find a teacher or another mom with kids and ask for help.
5. Don’t trust a family password or code word until your kids are at least 8 or 9 years old. Younger children can’t be trusted to remember the password or ask for it if someone else tries to pick them up.
6. Be ON TIME/EARLY at the time of admission. Tell your child exactly WHERE your pick location is to prevent them from wandering off. And remind them to NEVER leave school to look for you.
7. Don’t put your child’s name on the outside of their belongings. If you must label, use initials or put their name on the inside of the clothing, jackets, backpack, etc.
8. The “Touch Rule”: Let your child know that they are the HEAD OF HIS BODY and that their private parts are private! Simply put… “no private parts/touch games with other kids or adults.”
9. Potty Rules: By kindergarten, children should be able to use the bathroom by themselves. If they need help, be specific about who they can ask… usually it’s just the teacher or teaching assistant. Don’t be surprised, however, if your school has strict rules about teachers not being allowed to help in the bathroom. Many schools are now super-cautious about teachers in bathrooms, changing a child’s clothes, etc. Find out exactly what your school is. politics is
FOR YOUNGER MALAY CHILDREN:
1. There is no “right” age for when children can walk or bike to school on their own. Consider your own child’s maturity. Can they be trusted to cross streets safely? Would they know what to do if a car stopped and tried to engage them in conversation? Or if an older child tried to bully them?
2. Kids USE the buddy system. It’s more fun and much safer.
3. If your child walks to school on their own, plan the route ahead of time and practice it with them a few times first. Always stay on the road. No shortcuts.
4. Identify some “safe stops” along the way. A thrift store, business, or friend’s home along the way that they can run to if they need help.
5. NO distractions. Kids shouldn’t be walking to school wearing headphones, playing their DS, etc. Teach them the importance of always being aware of their surroundings.
6. Check your state Megan’s Law website to see if there are registered sex offenders living on your street or in the area.
7. Use your “safe smart”: Don’t accept rides, candy, gifts, or other items from people they don’t know – NO MATTER WHAT THAT PERSON TELLS THEM.
8. Safe Adults Don’t Ask Children for Help – Children should not “help” strangers who need directions, help finding a lost pet, or any other assistance.
9. Check First: Never accept a ride or go somewhere (even with someone they know!), without first checking with yourself or another safe adult.
10. Review personal safety concepts in simple, plain language – not scare tactics. Kids will “tune us out” when they think we’re being overprotective or snappy about this topic. Let them know that you value their independence and just want to be sure they are clear on the “do’s and don’ts.”
FOR ALL CHILDREN:
· Remind your child to trust his instincts: that “uh-oh” feeling If someone EVER makes them feel uncomfortable, they need to get away from that person and tell you as soon as possible.
· No secrets from Mom or Dad…especially if it makes you feel “weird” or gross.
· Children have a right to say NO to anyone, even an adult, teacher, sports coach, etc. if they are asked to do something that makes them feel gross, scared or uncomfortable. If someone says “Don’t say…” SAY.
Remember, the world is still a safe place and most people our children interact with it is not dangerous or waiting to hurt them when we’re not looking. Teach safety skills in a nimble, non-shy way – just like you would teach any other life skills. A little common sense goes a long way.
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