Knowledge is power. We send our children to school to learn, but really, learning starts at home. Who better to equip them to face the big, wide world than those who know and love them most?
Help your child know how to stay safe at school by following these steps:
Have your child memorize personal information. Your child needs to know mom and dad’s full name, address, and phone numbers. If possible, make sure they know this information for any other adults that will be picking or dropping them off at school. There are lots of ways to do this, but the key is repetition. Whether in song or by writing games, the more you do it the more it will stick in their mind.
Label discreetly. So that strangers can’t see your child’s name in a single glance, label your children’s clothing, backpack, or school supplies in a discreet spot. This may help keep your child safe from someone who might make themselves out to be more familiar with them than they really are.
Know school emergency policies. Talk to your child’s teacher and other personnel and find out the various plans in place for emergencies that might take place at or during school. Share this with your child and make sure they are also familiar with what to expect should an emergency arise.
Set rules for car and walking travel to and from school. Depending on your child’s age, it may be wise to make it a rule that a parent or close friend accompany them to and from school. For older kids who may be mature enough to walk alone, make sure they know the main route and alternate routes, as well as areas they need to avoid (e.g. vacant lots, construction areas, busy intersections).
Discuss bus travel rules and behavior. If you child rides the bus to and/or from school, make sure they know the rules for riding the bus safely and how to treat their bus driver and other students. Help them to see where boundaries need to be between themselves and those around them.
Let school staff know about health or emotional concerns. If your child’s teacher and other staff at school know of health and emotional concerns specific to your child, they will be better equipped to teach your child. It’s amazing how far just a little extra knowledge will go in a child/teacher relationship.
Be involved. Take an active interest in your child’s school network. Regularly interact with teachers and other staff as well as other parents. Get to know the kids in your child’s class and call them by name. Talk with your child about them, too. Ask questions and really listen. If possible, be part of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or volunteer a few hours a week or month.
It’s said that “it takes a village to raise a child.” That holds true more now than ever. So take an active role of your child’s school life and make sure they can navigate it and the world around them safely.
You can find out more at the following helpful links:
What Parents Can Do to Keep Kids Safe at School (National Crime Prevention Council)
6 Rules for School Safety (Scholastic)