Schools around the country will open in a few days. For kids it can be a very exciting time – making new friends and learning new things. For parents however, it can be the cause of some anxiety, especially for those whose children travel to and from school by themselves.
Charnel Hatting, Fidelity ADT’s National Marketing and Communications Manager, has advice that can help increase peace of mind.
She suggests the following tips are shared with the kids, and that they are encouraged to practise them every day:
- Children must always walk to or from school with a friend or friends. If your child walks alone, it’s a good idea to ask a teacher or other parents if they know of other kids from the area who do the same. Some towns have started “walking buses”, where local parents volunteer to walk to and from school with a group of school children, to assure their safety.
- Stick to streets you know and never take short cuts through unfamiliar or quiet areas.
- If you get picked up at school, always wait inside the grounds for your lift to arrive; do not leave the premises to go and look for them in the street.
- Remember, your parents would never send someone you don’t know to fetch you. Never get into a stranger’s car even if they claim that someone you love is hurt and that they are supposed to pick you up. It is a good idea to consider using a password system, to ensure that the person collecting you is in fact a friend of your parents or someone you can trust.
- If a stranger approaches you, do not talk to them no matter how friendly they may seem. If someone tries to grab you, fight, kick and scream that they are not your mom or dad.
In some cases children have to see themselves to and from school and keep occupied until mom and dad return home in the evening.
“It is extremely important that the kids know not to let anyone into the house without your permission. If you are going to be late, let your children know as soon as possible and give them an idea of when they can expect you to be home,” says Hattingh.
She suggests drawing up a list of important telephone numbers. “This list must include emergency services and mom and dad’s work and cell phone numbers. Save it on your child’s cell phone, and stick it on or near the landline. It’s also important to explain to them when these should be used.”
Hattingh adds that everyone in the household should also know how to use your home security system – children included – and when and how to use the panic buttons.