It is hard to believe that summer is nearly gone and kids are getting ready to go back to school.  Some of our kids may have already started back.  Between the hustle and bustle of shopping for school supplies, registering for classes and choosing the latest fashions for looking cool at school we lose sight of simple tips to keep our kids safe.

 

Where does is start?

Parents safety starts with you.  As responsible parents we need to make sure that we take time to get to know our kids.  Get to know who they hang around with.  Get to know their teachers.  Get to know their friend’s parents.  Take an interest in their online behavior and research their chat habits, social media accounts, and website browsing.  In this day and age knowledge is power and by building a network of communication between your children, their friends, other parents and teachers you develop a network of safety for your children.

 

Build fundamentals of safety.

Now that you have taken the time to get to know what is going on in your children’s lives, what do you do with the information?  Talk to your kids about what the dangers are out there.  Prepare them mentally for things that they may encounter.  Make sure that they are aware of their surroundings.  Talk to them about strangers.  Talk to them about people that they know and should not go with.  My kids know that if their mother or I have not told them someone else is going to pick them up they are not to go with them even if it is an uncle, aunt, grandmother or grandfather or a close family friend.  Bottom line, if you do not tell them it is okay, they should not go.  It is much more likely that a child will be kidnapped by someone they know than by a complete stranger.  If they walk to and from school, make sure they walk in a group.  Watch who they chat with online and make sure that they don’t chat with anyone they don’t personally know.  These fundamental strategies will help keep your kids safe.

 

What if the unthinkable happens?

No matter how well we prepare our children and ourselves the possibility is out there that something horrible may happen.  In law enforcement we train for the 5% of the time when complete chaos rears its ugly head.  Training ourselves and our children is no different.  How do we train our kids?  Once you have established good fundamentals you can start working on more aggressive defensive tactics.  When they are in danger all rules go out the window.  Hitting, scratching, screaming and wiggling until they are free are all acceptable.  Once they are free they need to run for help.  Most importantly make sure they have the right mindset.  Teach them to never give up, to do whatever it takes to keep themselves safe.  As parents it is our duty to make sure our children have the confidence to be survivors.

 

This is the bottom line.

Safety is a real concern for our kids.  It is important that we as parents take an active role in keeping our kids safe.  Get to know what is going on in their lives.  It is not an invasion of privacy, it is building a relationship based upon respect and boundaries.  Give them the fundamental basis for safety and then train them to survive any dangerous confrontation.  Most importantly build them up and give them the confidence and mindset to handle the situation.  Help everyone have a safe and productive school year.