We sometimes take it for granted that our kids are safe when we sign them up for after school programs. We have been brought up in different generations than those of today, though, and although we would like to trust, we just can’t. More sets of parents need to work these days and there are more single parent households than ever before. This means that there are more children being enrolled in after school programs today. More kids enrolled means more risk.
Why is After School Time a Risky Time?
When children are no longer in the structured set-up for classroom and schedule than they become more vulnerable and at risk. Make no mistake, your child is at risk when they are enroute to and from after school programs, they are vulnerable to outside influences in a less regimental atmosphere than the school room. Peer pressure and what other kids bring in to your child’s awareness should always be a concern.
Keeping Kids Safe Out of School
The first step is to make sure that your child ALWAYS hears and is reminded of the golden rules of “Never talk to strangers”, “Never go with anyone else unless they know the secret word”, “Never take food, drink or snack from strangers”, etc. These are amongst the most important rules for child safety. Some of you may have peace of mind because you’ve already equipped yourself and your child with a child locator or a kid’s gps watch. Others of you don’t have the security.
Child GPS Locators Help
Child GPS devices can also come in handy when your child is on the move. Many parents feel more comfortable when they know when their child is on the school bus, the routes it’s taking, when they arrive at their after school program or location, and if they remain there until a parent can pick them up or they take another source of transportation home at the end of the long day.
Route and Safe Places
If your child is on foot then it’s important to keep them safe on the way. They should be aware of the safest route to and from their destination, they should know which areas to stay away from, and they should have some knowledge of safe areas along the way that they can escape to, or go to in order to feel safer. These might be trusted friends or family homes, police stations, fire stations, and even hospitals. Anywhere a child can ask for help and receive is a good idea to make your child aware of. Plus, you know that they have knowledge to protect themselves and retreat to safety if needed. This can also come in handy when you’re practicing your family emergency reaction plans and meet up points.
Expect the Unexpected
Also, keep in mind that not everything will always go according to planned; busses break down, classes and programs get cancelled, or Johnny’s mother is sick that day and can’t drive. Even worst, real life emergencies do happen and children do get abducted. Your child should know how to handle emergency situations but most importantly they should be able to recognize when something isn’t right and when they should make contact with you.
Stay Alert and Keep them Safe
In most cases you can trust when your children are at school, but in the past few years that can’t be counted on with 100% certainty any more, either. More of a risk, though, is that after school time…the in between when their day is done but yours is still going.
The purpose of our site and our articles is not to frighten you or your child. However, you should never consider yourself a paranoid parent or overprotective because you’ve taken every measure that you can think of in order to keep your child safe. It’s your job and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Proper planning can prevent a bad situation but it can also relieve stress and anxiousness if something does go wrong because you and your child will be on the same page when it comes to safety, communication, and awareness.