12 Tips to Safeguard Your Kids School
You cannot stop bad things from happening. Accidents and other adverse events may happen, whether your kids are tucked away in their beds or out in the world. Hopefully nothing bad ever happens to anyone you love, but that’s not the point. Your job as a parent is not to stop bad things from happening, but to deal with situations and help teach your children to do the same.
Kids grow up quickly, your children go to school and you can’t be with them at every instant. What can you do to help keep them safe, even when they’re out of sight?
Empower your child to become aware and take responsibility for his or her safety.
1. Your child must know emergency contact information.
Full name, home address, parents’ full names, and a contact phone number (probably one of the parent’s cell phones). By the same token, tell your child who is listed on her emergency contact form, and be sure she also knows about 9-1-1.
2. Ask your child about his day. Make this a part of the daily routine, and expect more than a simple “good.”
Ensure that your child feels comfortable bringing up concerns with you. Create atmosphere of safety and acceptance where a child can talk openly about fears and "compromising" situations If anything concerning happens, talk to the teacher. Teach your child that it’s okay to tell you or the teacher about things that concern him, from bullying to bathroom breaks.
3. Teach your child to resolve conflict without fighting.
While this may be a natural impulse for some young children, explain that fighting can lead to them hurting themselves, getting in trouble, hurting someone else, or becoming an outcast or bully. Instead, tell them to talk it out, walk away, go to a friend, or, if it’s really bad, the teacher.
4. Tell your child that you want to know where he is at all times.
Emphasize how important it is that you always know where your child is. Make sure he knows the plan for how he is getting home every day, whether it be taking the bus or going home with Mrs. Johnson after soccer practice. Tell him he needs your permission to go over to a friend’s house. Tell a child never to get into the strangers car, or go with the strangers, even if they seen the stranger talking to you, or the stranger tells some kind of password. These days most of people have cell phones, so contacting you is available. Teach the child not to approach stranger, but to instruct them to call you for permission. This step will also reassure him that he can call you if he needs help.
5. A little role-playing at home can be very educational.
For younger children in a school setting earlier than first grade, a lot of teachers will work with children to develop their socialization skills. How to play with other children, how to share, and how to interact with adults are necessary skills but make sure you discuss the potential dangers and risks presented by strangers. Being friendly is a positive attribute but not when it comes to people you don’t know; children should be aware of potential danger and what to do.
6. Things change as your child gets older, so talk with your child about safety at the beginning of every school year.
For instance, middle schoolers can learn first aid and CPR, and younger children can learn not to touch someone who is bleeding and not to move someone who has been hurt. Your child will feel the safest if she knows when to help, and when to call for help.
Inform yourself about your child’s life away from home.
7. Get to know the neighborhood where your children go to school.
Use classic means like driving around, walk the neighborhood yourself, but also use online tools like local Crime Statistics trackers.
8. Get to know your children’s teachers.
Go to introduction nights, parent-teacher conferences and the like if possible. At the very least, send the teacher an email introducing yourself, and check in from time to time. Try to learn about what goes on in the classroom.
9. Learn about the school’s emergency procedures.
What role does the police play? What about the teachers? Are there parents around the school throughout the day? What emergency plans has the school prepared?
10. Get to know the parents of your child classmates.
Especially, the parent’s of your child’s closest friends, and they can become great allies. You all want the same things for your children, and developing a network amongst the parents can help stop bullying or other endemic problems before they get out of hand.
Get involved at the right moments.
11. Volunteer at the school whenever possible.
Read a book at story time, open those tricky milk cartons at lunch, or help out at the beginning or end of the day. You will brighten your child’s day if you visit every so often, and your mere presence will (perhaps subconsciously) make your child and all the kids at the school feel safer.
12. If something bad happens, take action to stop wrongdoing.
Don’t wait for the school to stop bullying, and if your child was assaulted on the bus or in the classroom, don’t assume that the school has taken appropriate action. Contact the school if something is amiss.
Copyright © 2016 by Julie Nou.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses with proper accreditation.