The kids are back in the classroom and it's a whole new routine! It's easy for simple safety precautions to get missed during the back to school shuffle to it's important to sit down and discuss your family safety guidelines and behavior expectations.
Take the opportunity to open the conversation about personal safety, social and situational safety and peer pressure.
If your child walks to school or the bus stop, remind them about the importance of paying attention to where they’re walking and other safety precautions. Texting and walking have been blamed for several accidents. Walkers should always be aware of their surroundings, especially when traffic is involved. Drivers should take extra caution and be aware that school is back in session so keep an eye out for school zones and school bus stops.
When waiting for the school bus, point out a safe zone for your child to stand that is away from the street. If you are concerned about the safety of your bus stop, call into your local bus service and discuss your concerns, together you can make arrangements in the best interest of your child.
If a sidewalk is available, always teach your kids to use it. Remember to remind your kids of stranger danger and under no circumstances should they get in the car with someone they don’t know. Go over trusted contacts and who to seek out in case of an emergency.
Look both ways before crossing the street when getting onto or off of the school bus. Don’t assume just because the bus has come to a stop that traffic will too. Remind children to walk in front of the bus where the safety arm has extended and never step behind the vehicle. The driver will not see them there. If it's the first time your child has taken the bus, spend one morning going through the routine.
Teenagers driving to school need to be reminded of the rules of the road. Buckle up, slow down, no texting while behind the wheel and be on the lookout for other students walking to school. Remind your driver that though they may be careful, others may not take the same precautions so always be aware.
Another important safety issue to consider and talk about it bullying. Parents should be aware of the warning signs associated with bullying. These are some of the more common signs victims of bullying experience:
Unexplained physical injuries
Missing or damaged clothing or items
Changes in eating habits
A Change in Personal Hygiene
Isolation from friends and family
If you suspect bullying, work with the school on the situation. Talk to the child’s teacher, a counselor or the principal. Don’t take it upon yourself to confront the bully or the parents. Schools have plans in place to handle these types of situations with trained professionals.
Though we don't want to think of our children as being the bully, parents need to be aware and keep a close eye for signs that the bullying stems from their child. Here are some common signs that a child is bullying others at school:
Fighting verbally or physically with others
Their friends are bullies
Blaming others for their problems
Unexplained extra money or new items
Same rules apply here too. Talk to the teacher, counselor or principal if you suspect your child is being a bully. Remember, bullying doesn’t just happen at school or on the bus. Cyber bullying is a growing problem. Limit screen time for your kids, make sure you have access to their social media accounts and don’t let them go to sleep with their devices. If your child witnessess someone being bullied, remind them it’s important to let an adult know. It’s not tattling. This information could help save a life in the long run.
Do some safety checks with your kids throughout the school year and encourage open discussion about what's going on around school. Stay involved and help teach your kids how to make healthy, smart decisions and recognize unhealthy behaviors.