Many children will be venturing back to all in person school for the first time in over a year, for some young ones it will be their first time stepping into a classroom full time. Preparing safety plans with your children is imperative in having a healthy and safe school year. Here are 5 things you should do before your students return to school in September.

Review travel plans to and from school:

No matter if they are walking, in a carpool, or riding the bus, each travel plan should outline some important safety points. If you child is walking to school, make sure they are never walking alone. Maybe they walk with an older sibling or a few other friends in the neighborhood. Before the first day of school, practice walking to the school with your child. While walking give them important reminders such as, walk the same path, don’t talk to strangers, and never accept a ride from someone who is offering to drive them to school. Be sure to explain to your child why these rules are so important and how they keep them safe.

If they are part of a carpool or someone else is picking them up, create a family password. This can be a word or phrase that only you, the child, and the driver should know. Remind your child that if they don’t know this password, they should not get in the car even if they say they are a friend.

Establish the Rule of 2’s:

Check in with your school about their safety rules regarding how students are taken to and from the bathroom and other areas of the school. At all times there should be a minimum of 2 kids and 2 adults, especially when going to the restroom. Remind your child of this rule, and that if this rule is violated, they should tell you or another trusted adult.

Ask about the school’s screening policies for volunteers and staff:

Find out how all volunteers and staff are screened, especially for parents sending their children to private schools, preschools, and other non-public places of education. Ask if your child’s school requires specific training to recognize and prevent child abuse. All volunteers and staff should have a thorough background check completed before working with any students.

Review appropriate touch with your child:

Have an open conversation with your child about appropriate and inappropriate touch. This should include naming and labeling body parts such as vagina, vulva, anus, and penis. Preparing your child with this knowledge will help prevent child abuse and help them disclose abuse they may experience. Learn more about education your children on consent.

Stay engaged in your child’s education:

As the school year goes on, be sure to stay just as engaged and up to date as you do at the beginning of the year. Ask your child about their day, engage in their homework and educational activities, and have open conversations about what they experience in school. This will allow them to be comfortable talking to you should they experience abuse and can alert you of potentially unsafe situations before they happen, all while supporting your child’s education.

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