Children spend more time at school than anywhere else other than their own home during the school year. Overall, schools are one of the safest places for children to be. However, some schools have problems, such as bullying, theft and other issues to make them less secure and harder for students and educators to feel safe.
Traveling to and from school
- Map out with your children a safe way for them to walk to school or to the bus stop. Avoid busy roads and intersections. Do a trial run with them to point out places they should avoid along the way, such as vacant lots, construction areas, and parks where there aren’t many people.
- Teach children to follow traffic signals and rules when walking or biking. Stress that they should cross the street at crosswalks or intersections with crossing guards when they can.
- Encourage children to walk to school or the bus stop with a sibling or friend, and to wait at bus stops with other children.
- Teach children not to talk to strangers, go anywhere with them, or accept gifts from them without your permission. Tell them that if they see a suspicious stranger hanging around or in their school they should tell an adult.
- Help children memorize their phone number and full address, including area code and zip code. Write down other important phone numbers such as your work and cell phone on a card for your children to carry with them.
Riding the bus
- Have your children arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to pick them up.
- Make sure children know to stand on the sidewalk or on the grass while waiting for the bus.
- Teach children to make sure they can see the bus driver and the bus driver can see them before crossing in front of the bus. Tell them to never walk behind the bus.
- Be aware that often bullying takes place on the school bus. Ask children about their bus - who they sit with, who they talk to, and what the other kids do. Let them know that if they see someone being bullied, or are bullied themselves, they can talk to you, the bus driver, or another trusted adult.
With so much environmental change and stimulation, many kids may be on overload for awhile. Here are some suggestions of ways you can help your kids get through this period, as well as build self-confidence and family trust.
- Create an atmosphere of enthusiasm and confidence. Your positive attitude will rub off on them.
- Listen thoroughly when concerns or complaints are voiced. Take action if necessary.
- Be enthusiastic about their “learning opportunities.” Point out ways in which they get to learn a particular subject in such a better way than you learned the same subject while you were in school.
- Break down routines into small tasks to help kids get through this time:
- Help them organize homework assignments.
- Set up easy to follow tasks for laying out clothes and packing lunches.
- Give them “cheat sheets”
- Their daily schedule: At school, before school, after school.
- Emergency phone numbers, etc.
- Their locker number and combination.
- Give them a page of family photos (pets included) for them to “visit” during the day if they need a break or emotional support.
Finally, you can ask each child’s teacher what they expect their students to learn over the school year, and how you can best support your child’s learning opportunities. Many teachers have recommended educational books, websites, games and crafts.
Protect property while at school
- While cell phones are not allowed in schools, we know some families rely on them to coordinate schedules, rides and other daily matters. Remind your child that it is unsafe to share their security codes – even with their friends. Install the "Find My Phone" app and use it to locate their phone if it is misplaced or stolen.
- Record the serial numbers of all electronic devices or expensive items in case they are lost or stolen. This small step increases the likelihood that you will get them back.
- If your student rides a bike, buy and use a lock. Almost all bikes that are stolen are not locked. If you don't want to use a numerical combination lock, consider an alpha lock and pick a memorable password (like a pet's name) as the combination.
- Lastly, diligently monitor your student's social media websites. For more information on social media safety and parental monitoring, check out the Savage Police Department's Crime Time program, "Internet and Social Media Safety".
Learn more about how you can help your children with school safety tips before heading back to school.