Here in Minnesota, the school year lasts 165 days on average. Multiplied by eight hours a day equals 1,320 hours that children spend away from home. As children are preparing and excited to go back to school, parents now shift their focus to keep them safe while they’re away from home. Although life may be riddled with uncertainties, here are some back to school safety tips for families with children heading into the 2022/23 academic school year.
If you drop your child off at school, make sure to set a pickup schedule so you and your child knows exactly who is picking them up. It may be helpful to implement a ‘passcode’ that your child knows and the driver repeats to them when they come.
If your child walks, try walking the safest and most public route with them before school starts. It will get them familiar with the route and allow time for you to show them safe road crossing practices.
Engage in hygienic practices that teach your child when to wash their hands and clean a piece of equipment before and after using it.
Show your child safe internet practices. We all know that kids stubble on things on the world wide web that we would rather them not. Allow for your child to have questions, but make sure they know that not everything on the internet is real and that you do not have to watch everything someone shows you.
If your child drives, try using the Life 365 app which allows you to know your child’s whereabouts. Knowing that teenagers are obsessed with having their own freedom, gives them the incentive that the app will no longer be used after they’ve shown that they are capable of keeping you in the loop with their plans.
Arguably the most important of all, have uncomfortable conversations with your child. Though this may be a given, children and teenagers may feel reluctant to talk with their parents about their everyday life. Especially if they are scared of that you may not approve. They may feel like they’re being interrogated when you start to ask questions. Try finding an interest they have and relate to it. If your child is into gaming, tell them about the first game you remember hearing of. Talking to your child about their life and talking with them are completely different things. The latter requires you to divulge some information with your child that may be uncomfortable. The easiest way to get to know anyone is if they feel they have gotten to know you.
Parenting is not easy and the intricacies of child safety are not all covered in this short list. Some of these may not even work for you and your family. That’s okay. Parenting, at its simplest form, is trial and error.