As parents, our most important job is to protect our children from harm. However, parents of school-age children know it’s impossible to keep a watchful eye over our kids 24/7.
Here are some ways you can protect your loved ones from afar while they’re at school:
Updated Contact and Medical Information
The medical information forms and emergency contact cards parents fill out at the beginning of any sports season or school year provide information that can prove critical if your child is injured or faces an emergency at school, on field trips and away for school-sponsored activities.
While it can feel like a chore to fill these forms out each year, make sure to double check phone numbers to ensure they are legible and current. Notify any friends or family members that you have listed as emergency contacts so that they are aware, and even though the school has your child’s information, provide your emergency contacts with all of your contact information as well as information about your child’s insurance and health care provider.
Volunteering at your child’s school and participating as a family in school sponsored activities are valuable ways to cultivate relationships with faculty and school leadership. These relationships can help bridge gaps in communication that can sometimes occur.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Making sure your child has plenty of sleep, a nutritious diet, and physical activity each day will go far to ensure good health, success at school and minimize risk for injury or illness.
Vaccinating your little one against childhood diseases will help keep him safe should he come into contact with another child at school who may have been exposed to illness or is not be up-to-date on his shots.
Flu shots, in conjunction with frequent hand-washing, will help protect your child during flu season. Keeping him home when he is running a fever not only prevents spreading illness at school, but it also protects him from dangerous germs during a time when his resistance is down.
Communicate with Your Child
Talk to your child. Ask about her day. Know who her friends are and talk about her experiences interacting with them at school.
It is often through everyday conversation that parents learn about problems or potential problems at school, such as issues with bullying. Maintain an open line of communication with your child’s teacher and share any concerns that have come up in conversation with your child, even if they seem trivial at the time.
Communication with the School
In addition to keeping up with your child’s teacher, take advantage of the other tools for communication that are available through the school. Sign up for email newsletters from the district, parent teacher organizations or your child’s principal.
If your school has an emergency communication procedure, make sure your contact information, including cell phones and email are current so that you receive timely information about school closings or other important events.
Teach Your Child about Emergencies
Talk with your child about what will happen in the case of an emergency, such as an early dismissal. Your child should know if he is to take the bus, wait for you to pick him up or go with a friend or relative after school lets out. He should also know who the emergency contacts are that you have listed.
If anyone other than those contacts arrives to pick him up or take him out of school, make sure your child knows that before leaving with that person, he should ask a teacher if it is OK to do so. Tell him that it is OK to say to a teacher or other grown up at school, “I want to make sure this is OK with my mom, dad, grandma, etc.
Teach Your Child How and When to Seek Help
It can be very helpful to a child to play out scenarios in advance when it comes to asking for help. Go over whom she should approach at school for help with a problem. For example, if your child sees someone doing something dangerous or is concerned over a bully, she should know when to run to a grownup immediately for help and when to ask if he can speak to a teacher privately about a concern.
See that you don’t despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. —Mathew 18:10