Walk into any store right now that sells school supplies, and there they are. The confused parents trying to find the right school supplies. “But Mom, I need a pink binder,” “No, I don’t want that backpack – I want this one,” and on it goes.
With the summer break drawing to a close, the anticipation of a new school year is in the air. Parents and children are gearing up for the return to classrooms.
This blog post will highlight safety measures and tips to ensure your kids have a safe and enjoyable back-to-school experience – and I am not talking about school supplies. I am talking Back to School Safety!!!
1. Traffic Safety
If your child walks or rides a bike to school, review the safest routes and road-crossing procedures with them. Teach them to obey traffic signals and always use designated crosswalks. Ensure they wear reflective gear if they travel in the early morning or late afternoon when visibility is reduced.
2. School Supplies
Assemble a comprehensive school supplies kit that includes items for safety, such as reflective backpack accessories or clothing to enhance visibility, especially during the darker months of the school year. A sturdy backpack with properly adjusted straps can help prevent back strain.
3. Stranger Danger
Reinforce the importance of not talking to strangers or accepting rides or gifts from anyone they don’t know well. Provide clear instructions on what to do if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe when walking to or from school. The Cleveland Clinic covers Stranger Danger in 4 easy steps
4. Bullying Awareness
Talk to your child about bullying, both in person and online. Encourage them to share their experiences with you, and ensure they understand the importance of reporting any instances of bullying to school authorities or a trusted adult. For additional support, check the article on bullying by Parents.
5. Backpack Safety
Ensure your child’s backpack is the right size and packed properly. Overloaded backpacks can strain their shoulders and back. Teach them to use both shoulder straps and adjust them for a snug, comfortable fit. The National Safety Council has some Safety Tips for Backpacks to live by.
6. Fire Drills and Emergency Procedures
My favourite – Familiarize your child with the school’s fire drill and emergency evacuation procedures. Discuss the importance of following instructions and staying calm during such situations. I would encourage you to take this a step further and have a fire drill at home, teaching your family to go to your Family Meeting Place should you need to evacuate your home
7. Healthy Habits
Encourage your child to maintain a healthy lifestyle by getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious meals, and staying physically active. A well-rested and well-nourished child is more alert and better equipped to handle the school day.
8. Communication is Key
Open lines of communication with your child. Tell them they can talk to you about any concerns or problems they encounter at school. Listening to their worries and offering support will make them feel secure.
9. Respect Differences
Teach your child to respect the differences and diversity they may encounter at school. Encourage kindness, empathy, and acceptance of others.
10. What if a DISASTER occurs?
Make sure you have a list of family, friends or neighbours who have permission to pick up your kids from school. If you are at work, have an appointment, or even out for lunch with friends, you may be unable to return to school. In more significant disasters, phones may not work, making it difficult to reach the school or your kids. Having a plan provides peace of mind, knowing your kids will be safe until you can return to get them.
In conclusion, a safe and secure learning environment is essential for every child’s education. Focusing on these back-to-school safety measures and fostering open communication can help ensure your child’s well-being as they embark on their educational journey. Together, as parents and caregivers, we can create a positive and secure environment for our kids to thrive academically and emotionally.
Meet Jackie Kloosterboer
Jackie Kloosterboer is a renowned Emergency and disaster Preparedness leader, boasting an impressive 30 years of frontline experience that has allowed her to witness firsthand the life-saving impact of preparedness. Her unwavering commitment is evident through her dedication to presenting Disaster Preparedness Workshops, responding to disasters across BC, supporting evacuees, and skillfully leading Emergency Support Services teams during activations, most notably in her recent role with the City of Vancouver.
As an instructor at the Justice Institute of BC, Jackie travels across Canada, empowering volunteers with essential workshops and training.
Her profound expertise in disaster preparedness has made her a sought-after resource by the media, who frequently seek her insights, underlining the crucial significance of preparedness. Moreover, her book, “My Earthquake Preparedness Guide,” is the quintessential resource, offering practical tips to equip individuals for any disaster. Jackie’s expert advice is the compass pointing toward safety and readiness for those seeking to face whatever challenges come their way.