25 August 2014

Back-to-School Safety

It's back to school time. That means your family will be going in a million different directions.

I want to talk about being prepared for something we don't like to talk about. This:


     Yeah, creepy. We don't like talking about it. No one does. I want to say just a couple things that I think can help us prepare for it.

Family Password
     Maybe this is something you've heard about before. It works like this; You and your family decide on a word or phrase that is your "family password." It could be, "porridge" or "chunky monkeys sitting on a fence."
     If any sort of weirdo or seemingly nice person approaches one of your kids, they might say something like, "Hey, your mom/dad asked me to pick you up from school. I'm a friend/neighbor/co-worker."
     You kid would then say, "What's the family password?"
     If the weirdo says, "Porridge," then you have weird friends/neighbors/co-workers"
     If they don't know the password, they might say something like, "Your parents asked me in a hurry," or "It's an emergency."
     Without a password, even with all the excuses, your kids would say no, or run, or scream if it gets scary. They would go to the principal's office, or a public place. They would let people know that someone they don't know approached them. Even if they know the person, your kids would ask them for a password, to make sure you sent them. Your kids would call you, the parents, which brings me to...

Cell Phones
     A LOT of people have cell phones, and it's possible your kids do, too. They are extremely handy when they need to call you.
     If you want, you can download GPS apps to smart phones that allow you to know where members of your family are.
    It's a great way to give your kids a heads up if someone is coming to pick them up. Here are a couple examples:


Or, for a little more information,

Remember to change the Family Password occasionally, especially if you have let someone else has heard it, so that only your family knows the password.

Home Alone
     A couple thoughts on being home alone:
     If your kids go home, and for whatever reason, there is no one else there, make sure they know what your family rules are. For example, the rule could be that they leave a note on the kitchen table, go to Mrs. Jenkins' house next door, and wait for parents to get home.
     A different option, which is more likely, is that they stay home, lock the doors, and only let people in who are members of the family or have the family password. Make sure your kids know to never tell anyone the password. It's is for others to say to them.
     A lot of kids spend time home alone, or home without parents. I think it is inevitable. Safety at home is as important as safety anywhere else.
     Communication is key, no matter where you are. Make sure members of the family are not left wondering where anyone else is, so leave a note, send a text message, or have the school's office let them know(You could even use the family password for that). If you'll be a little late, you let them know. If a child is staying after school for Chess Club, they let you know. You know, the normal stuff.

Whatever you do, remember to be safe and be prepared.

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