Back to School Safety Tips from NWSMA

In a couple of weeks, your kids are headed back to school. Back to school safety is probably farthest from their minds.

Even if they're taller than you, it's okay to give safety reminders. :)

Even if they’re taller than you, it’s okay to give safety reminders. :)

It’s a busy time, full of shopping, sports practices, and open houses. No matter their ages, it’s also the perfect time to go over safety routines and reminders.

I organized safety into a few basic categories. Then I gave some general advice for talking to your children about back to school safety. Click more to read on!

What you tell them specifically is ultimately up to you. Your family has its own procedures to follow for emergencies. And every situation will require an individual response.

One of the best ways to train your children for emergency response is to practice it. Make it fun by role-playing. Have them actually practice what they might do or say in different situations. Ask “What if?” questions to help them explore possibilities–and in doing so, prepare for them.

Here are the 4 major categories of safety:

  • Traffic safety (during the trip to and from school)
  • Playground safety (accidental injury)
  • Bullying
  • Large-scale disasters (from violence to natural disasters)

Don’t let this list freak you or your kids out. Explain that some of these situations are unlikely to occur, that for the most part they are safe, especially if they follow your tips.

  • For traffic safety, make sure they know and practice looking both ways before crossing the street, watching AND listening for cars (a no headphones rule might make them grumble, but is smart), and following bus driver instructions.
  • For playground safety, encourage your children to avoid overly rough play that might result in injury. Use the equipment the way it should be used–and as a parent, take a glance at the playground equipment now and again to make sure it looks secure. Children should report injuries to a teacher quickly.
  • Bullying is something that most people are likely to face at some point in their lifetime. Give them some tools to deal with bullies, like sticking with friends. Practice strong eye contact and loud, strong refusal to give in to a bully’s demands. Talk about when is the right time to tell a teacher about what is going on. Keep open communication lines, so they feel like they can talk to you about what goes on at school.
  • In case of large-scale disasters, there are different procedures to follow. Remind your children of the basics, and tell them to stay calm and follow the instructions of teachers and other adults.

Going over all of this at home will help your children feel secure, because they know they’re ready for whatever may happen. The older ones might roll their eyes, but going over safety procedures will make YOU feel better too.

Feel free to comment with any of your family’s back to school safety tips!

About Sensei/YDN Caitlin

Sensei Yudanjanim Caitlin is a 2nd degree black belt, senior instructor, administrative assistant, and student of Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Arnis at Northwest School of Martial Arts.
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