With fall officially here and kids back in school, there’s no doubt your home life has transformed just a bit from the laid-back summer vibe to the busy school schedules. And while it’s easy to assume kids couldn’t be safer than they are at school, the unfortunate truth is that there are risks and dangers everywhere. Here are a few ways to keep kids safe while they’re learning:
- Always keep contact info on your child. With everyone using cell phones these days, it’s remarkable how many numbers we don’t know when we don’t have that trusted device. Make sure your child has your contact information with him at all times. A good idea is sticking a card or tag on his backpack.
- Don’t be obvious about labeling. Of course you want to keep your kids’ things straight, but big, visible labels on jackets and backpacks can make it easy for a stranger to call out your child’s name and pretend to know her.
- Get the 411 on emergencies. Talk to your child’s school administration to become familiar with emergency procedures. You’ll want to know what to expect if there’s a safety issue.
- Talk to your kiddo. Always ask your child open-ended questions about how school went. If your child gives you any concerns, talk to his teacher or counselor to see if there’s anything amiss.
- Get involved. Parents who are involved in their child’s school activities are more likely to know when and if something is wrong. Participate in the PTA or volunteer during the school day or at school-sponsored events.
- Set the safety rules. If your child walks or rides the bus to school, be specific about how she should do this. If you’re working, set a specific check-in time that she should call to let you know where she is.
- Go with the cell. While you might not be happy about handing a cell phone over to a pre-teen, there are several models available that only give kids access to a few preset numbers. This can be a good way to be able to communicate with your child anytime.
- Keep an eye out. Monitor your child’s sleeping and eating habits; if you notice major changes to either of these, you may want to dig a little deeper; there could be something bothering him.
- Get her involved. Friends are important for school-aged children. If your child is shy, encourage her to join groups or teams that will help her make friends. Sports and music are great ways to socialize with other kids.
Whether at school or play, your kids are your greatest responsibility. Let’s help keep them safe!