For some, dropping their child off—especially for the first time—can be a very anxious time. Thankfully, whether it’s daycare, school or a neighborhood birthday party, there are several things you can do to make everyone sure everything goes smoothly.
Communication with your child is essential. Talk to them about their understanding of what you have taught them about talking to people they don’t know and other possible risks. Be very careful not to make this a one-sided conversation. You need to make this a two-way conversation. It may take some doing on your part to engage your child in this conversation, but it’s time and effort very well spent. A really great way to involve them is to ask them to explain their version back to you so that you know what they know. This will encourage clarification, allow them to ask more questions and really ground their understanding and make you more comfortable with what you have taught them.
How to make you more comfortable
- Make note of what your children are wearing so you can give this information if needed
- Have up to date, good quality pictures of your children (everyone needs an excuse to add to the family photo album right?)
- Keep a summary of all medical information including any prescriptions, allergy details, blood type, and any other illnesses/disorders in an easily accessible place – you don’t want to be tearing through filing cabinets in a panic
- Go over a short list of “safe places” that your child can go to in an emergency for help – make sure that your list and their list are the same
- Have your children give you a call when they arrive to let you know they made it – checking in regularly is a good habit to get into, for when they’re older and go out more by themselves or with friends
So Simple And Effective, Toddlers And Teenagers Can Use This Tip To Get Out Of Awkward Situations
A great idea is to give your child an easy to remember but not everyday “password” to use when they’re in an uncomfortable situation. (This even works well with teenagers…think a party that’s getting out of hand!) They can use this password to “test” that someone who has come by to pick them up has the secret password. Teens can use it when they call or text you and don’t want to embarrass themselves in front of their peers…if the secret word comes out, you know you should suggest it’s time to come home! This keeps your child out of both awkward and dangerous situations.
Sometimes, Our Children Want Us To Be The Bad Guy!
Sebastian is going to a sleepover at a new friend’s house with a couple of other kids. The other kids are having fun but starting to “stray” in their fun and Sebastian is starting to get uncomfortable. Sebastian lets it be known that he’s supposed to check in with his Mom but what he’s really doing is using his secret word. In this case, it’s a phrase. “Hey Mom, I’m here and everyone is having fun. Did Charlie find his squeaky toy?” Even if his friends were listening in, they would be clueless that Sebastian just asked Mom to come get him in a way that won’t embarrass him. Sometimes, our children appreciate us being the “Bad Guy”!
Tips For Getting To And From School Safely
Getting your children to school and back on time can be a huge source of stress in any parent’s life, not to mention the fear of being away from the young ones for an entire day. Leaving your child in the care of others can be a hard thing to do, especially when they’re at a young age and aren’t used to being away from you for so long.
Separation anxiety is something experienced by many young children, but is a relatively straightforward thing to overcome. As they get older, it doesn’t necessarily get easier. You’re always wondering who they’re hanging out with, how they’re being treated by students and teachers and how they’re dealing with things on their own. Ask your children open ended questions when they arrive home each day, such as: “any news from school?”, “did anything interesting happen today?” or “did you do anything cool today?”. Don’t interrogate them but don’t let your questions get routine enough for an automatic response each day.
Some things to talk to your children about getting to and from school:
- Be familiar with the school’s policies and procedures regarding student safety and emergency situations. You don’t want any of this to come as a surprise if a situation does arise; keep any confusion or misinformation minimal.
- Avoid anything that gives away your child’s name and other personal information – don’t label their clothing with a name. Instead, check out the Child I.D. iron-on labels.
- If your children take the bus, go over bus safety with them. Whether you walk them to the bus stop or they’re able to get there on their own, make sure they know the route as well as an alternative route to avoid getting lost if for whatever reason they cannot take their usual route one day. Make sure your children know to be at least five minutes early for buses so they don’t miss it. Go over bus emergency procedures with them as well – point out the emergency exits and what to do in the event of a collision. Bus drivers don’t usually go over these things with the students.
- Tell them to wait inside whichever building you’re picking them up from, don’t wait around outside if at all possible (especially for younger children).
Keeping Your Children Safe At Social Events
Schools have more security in place than most public places but when your child goes anywhere else, the security may not be as thought out. So when your child goes somewhere like a birthday party or to the park, there’s more thought you need to do.
During drop-off, a simple check in with the other parents where you can casually get a feel for who’s going to be there and how the event is going to be run. If the event is taking place in someone’s home, make sure you’ve met and trust the people who live there – not all adults are as responsible and safety aware as you are.
Write down your work number and the contact information of another emergency contact that lives in town. (Or, check out the Child I.D. kit which handles this and more) Schools will already have this information if anything happens during school hours in case you can’t be reached, but it’s helpful for your children to have this information on them the rest of the time. You should also exchange your contact information with the parents of your child’s friends. It’s good to stay in touch and stay on the same page. Having several parents aware of a situation helps keep a certain net of security over the children.
Be Prepared With A “Plan B”
With so many moving parts to everyday life, coming up with an alternate plan with your children will keep you and your children less stressed if for whatever reason, things don’t go according to schedule. Doing this will also get in the habit of thinking through situations (a handy skill as they get older!) When dropping them off anywhere, make sure your child knows where a back-up safe place to wait for you is or the name of someone else who might pick them up if you can’t make it. This will give you some peace of mind if an emergency comes up or if traffic delays seem to be out to get you that day.
Setting up these plans and having an in depth understanding of the safety procedures anywhere you drop off your child will take away the element of surprise and keep you informed about what’s going on. By knowing what you expect you can better communicate with your children as well as with those in charge at schools or anywhere else your child will be. Knowing what other adults know and how they are going to handle things is just as important as teaching your children what to do in the event of an emergency. Having backup plans for every scenario will give you and your child something to fall back on whether the situation is just a scheduling conflict or something much more serious.