|Taking A Stand|
|Ratting vs. Reporting|
|Staying Safe On The Way Home|
|Respect and Kindness|
|The New School Year|
Staying Safe On The Way Home
Often, as parents, we find it difficult to ‘let our children go’ and allow them go out into the world unsupervised (i.e. walk to school or a friend’s house). We tend to protect our children by continuing to drive them to and from school play dates or “holding their hands” the whole way even when they could safely walk with a group of children or with an adult walking with them/ watching from a distance.
While the age at which we or our children are comfortable walking without an adult will vary from parent to parent and child to child, it is important that we educate or “street proof” our children for unsupervised situations as early as is possible. Obviously we wouldn’t send small children out on their own, but equipping them with street smarts early will help them cope if they accidentally become separated from you. By the time they are ready to be unsupervised they will have a firm understanding of how to stay safe while gaining some independence.
Here are some tips you can incorporate into your own set of “street smarts” ground rules:
|1.||Establish a walking group to and from your child’s school by including other children who live near-by. The group can then walk to and from school together with a parent walking with them or watching from a distance.|
|2.||If you child is going to walk somewhere with other children without adult supervision, map out a route together beforehand and make it clear that your child is to follow that route.|
|3.||If your child is walking to a friend’s house, have the children phone you upon arrival.|
|4.||Provide your child with a few phone numbers of neighbours, friends or family members to call if you are unavailable and they need support.|
|If you have older children who are coming home to an unsupervised home (either on a regular or occasional basis), be clear about the time they are expected to be home and have them check in with you when they arrive. Establish clear expectations for what will happen if they want to stay late at school or visit friends. While they are alone, make it clear that they are not to answer the door.|
|Talk to your children frequently about their trip to and from school. Monitor for signs of fear. Are they asking to leave very early, or very late? Do they suddenly begin taking a different route?|
|If possible, try to be at home after school occasionally. Not only will you confirm who walks home with your children, they may appreciate you coming home early to spend time with them.|