Oh, kids… They grow up so fast! One day they are teeny tiny bundles of cuteness and the next day they are stubbornly packing their backpacks for school. Because - of course, “I can do it myself, mommy”.
As we head into this first weeks of school, parents and teachers are equally looking forward to watching kids learn and grow. But there are some security must-dos that we need to abide by to help ensure a safe school year.
Make sure your kid’s route to school is as direct as it can be, avoiding as many street crossings as possible along with open areas, vacant lots, train tracks, and open fields. It would be best to look for crossings with guards whenever available.
Your children should know NOT to use headphones, cellphones, or other distracting devices while on their way to and from school. Teach them to always be aware of their surroundings and to wear bright colors so they can be seen by drivers from a distance.
Talk with your kids about stranger danger. They MUST know not to talk to strangers however kind they may seem, let alone accept gifts or rides. On the other hand, children should know who to approach if they feel like they need help, such as the police, security officers, their teachers, or other parents with children.
Know at all times where your kids will be before, during, and after school. With today’s over-booked schedules, it’s easy to lose track of activities. So, do whatever it takes to be in the loop of sports practices, ballet lessons, slime making seminars, and so forth.
Establish a clear set of rules for safety at home. Talk with your kids, partner, and other caregivers and determine if children will be allowed to use the stove or oven, rules for people coming in, screen time, etc. Being clear about the limitations of young members of the household will set you up for success. Doing it in a sincere and straightforward way will only reinforce your healthy relationship as a family.
Even the most responsible person can lose keys (guilty here ??????). A lost set of keys is a security hazard, and you should plan for it. However, don’t leave your spare keys in an obvious place. Be more creative than professional thieves. They already know the good places.
Be sure your kids know not to enter the house if there are signs of a break-in, like open doors or windows (that you don’t normally leave open), broken glass, or an unfamiliar car parked in the driveway. They should leave immediately and get help from a known neighbor, walk back to school and find a teacher, or call 911.
Work on an emergency plan in case there is a fire. Determine and practice the exact steps your kids must follow in order to exit the house immediately. Also, train them how to use a fire extinguisher.
Children need to know how to properly lock the doors immediately after they come home. They should not open the door, even for deliveries, the mail, or acquaintances. Instead, they should communicate with the visitors through the front door without opening it, and they should never make it evident that they are home alone.
Your cellphone number, your work phone, the number of a neighbor who can help, their home address, and the 911.
The foundation for every successful relationship is communication. Being able to talk openly with your children about the importance of security in their lives will help them grow safe and sound.
Make sure your children know that they can always call you at any time and for any reason. Work on establishing a strong relationship of mutual trust and support, so you are the first to know if they feel uncomfortable, bullied, or unsafe. That way, you are the first to be there to help them.