How does it happen so fast? I feel like I was just putting away the backpacks and lunchboxes, and here I am pulling them out again! I love summertime...no afterschool activities, no homework (I sound like a kid), no strict schedules. I could go on and on....
Well, reality is slowly setting in. I went school supply shopping with my boys, which was quite an experience. Between the masses of people grabbing to get the last glue sticks for a penny and my eager children begging for every new gadget and Sponge Bob themed folder, I couldn’t wait to get out of the store. I’m actually contemplating coming up with safety tips for back to school shopping, with the top tips including: don’t wait until the last minute, and strongly consider not bringing the kids (not only did they want everything in the store, but it was very hard to keep track of them amongst all the people, carts, and aisles of “stuff”).
Yesterday we had school orientation, so my kids got a chance to go to school, find their classrooms, and meet the teachers. I believe this is actually a great opportunity for children because it allows them experience the upcoming school day without the academic stresses. It’s also a nice time for parents to get acquainted with their kids’ new classroom, teacher, and school day. And I look at is the perfect time to start incorporating safety into the school day, whether it’s on the way to school, at school, or after school.
The beginning of the school year is a time of significant change and new routines. Unfortunately, this can (and does) open up the door for injuries. Doctors and hospitals often see a rise in many different types of unintentional injuries this time of year. So, we need to take personal responsibility and focus on prevention to help keep our kids safe as they are heading back to school.
This also means that we, as parents, need to STOP and PAY ATTENTION as we’re running around the house, trying to get ready in the morning, and pulling out of the driveway. We can’t let our distractedness lead to unintentional accidents. Let’s work towards incorporating safety tips into our new routines, and not allowing our new routines to lead to injury. I know that I’m starting to do this now!!
Check these web-links for specific tips in each of these back-to-school risk areas:
Specific circumstances will dictate which areas are most important to your family. In our household, one of my sons is a walker, so pedestrian safety is of the utmost importance to us. I spent some time during our orientation day, doing a “walk through” with my son. We mapped out our safest route to school and I explained to him why we were doing specific things. For example, we only cross roads at corners and crosswalks (whenever available) and I am really trying to teach him to look “left/right/left” and to continue looking the entire time he is crossing, while keeping eye contact with drivers to be sure they see him. He is only 8 years old so I, or another responsible adult, will be walking with him all the time, but I really want to start engraining this in his head now! It’s never too early to start teaching children about safety!
Good luck to all the moms and dads on the first day of school and please take some time out to both learn about back to school safety, and teach your children! Lastly, serve as a role model. If you act in a safe manner, there is much greater chance your children will as well!