Back-to-school time is full of conversations about expectations and habits. It’s a natural time to remind your child how they should behave in all kinds of situations. You’re their first resource if they have conflict with their friends, are struggling in school, or don’t know how to tackle a problem.
You’re also their first safety resource. You’ve probably already had conversations with your child about crossing the street, avoiding burn hazards, and safety with sharp objects. Back-to-school season is a great time to remind your child of safety rules, including rules that can help protect them from kidnapping or sexual abuse.
If your child walks home or to a bus stop before and after school, know their route. Children are safer in a group than alone in these situations, so help your child remember to stick with other children.
Be aware of predatory tactics
Help your child recognize signs that an adult might want to hurt them-before it happens. Remind them that adults don’t need to ask for help from children, and they don’t need to keep secrets with children.
Trust their gut
Let your children know they can say no and find another adult if any adult does something that makes them uncomfortable. Children should know this may be a stranger, or it may be someone they know.
Remind your child (often!) that they can always come to you if a grown-up does or says something to them that makes them uncomfortable.
You can protect your child in other ways, too. Make sure they’ve memorized their full name, address, your telephone number, and most importantly, 9-1-1. Have a safety plan for your child’s walk to and from school, or if they’re home alone after school, and help them think through how they would handle unexpected situations safely.
If you’d like more information for you and your child, KidSmartz, a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has great resources here.
To learn practical ways to protect your children, schedule our More than Stranger Danger workshop. Contact Desiree Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org.