Making Kindergarten Safe
Sometimes we are not even aware how much we do to protect our kids when they are living at home. But when you are preparing your child to go out into the world on her own for the very first time, all of a sudden it can get very scary when you think of the many dangers out there. So one of the big jobs of preparing for your child to go to kindergarten is assure your child’s safety while she is at school.
It’s encouraging that, obviously, schools are designed to be safe places for your kids. The rooms are prepared to have young children in them and the way the children’s days are organized, there really is no time when they are not under the watchful eye of a caregiver. Schools are also more and more doing aggressive background checks on the people who work at the school to make sure there is no chance someone untrustworthy would have access to your child.
The trip to and from school is one that is often a big concern. The ideal would be if you could drive your child door to door. If your child must walk to school, take some time before the kindergarten year begins to meet parents of other kindergarten age children in your neighborhood. If your kiddo can tag along with a parent supervised group that is walking to school, that parent’s presence is often enough to make sure your child is safe.
But there is no question that safety begins with the child herself and the best way to prepare your child to be safe is to teach her to think about every aspect of safety throughout her day at school. The simple rules that were part of life at home must become hard and fast law at school. Your child should know never to pick up anything and put it in her mouth and to only eat things that she either brought with her to school or that she buys from the school cafeteria or are given to the class by the teacher.
You have to be diplomatic in teaching your child that accepting something to eat from another child is not ok. From your perspective, you have no idea whether what that other child is offering is safe, well prepared or might contain illegal substances. Yes, this is a bit paranoid but being safe is far better than being sorry later. So the rule of “no trading” when it comes to lunch items must be reinforced well so it is high on your child’s set of guidelines for her day.
Now you don’t want to scare your child or give her the idea that every adult is an abductor and every other child a drug dealer. It is ok for your little one to trust the adults at school and the other kids too but at the same time observe basic safety precautions even with trusted kids and adults so she is never even in a situation that could become dangerous.
Making it a rule to never be alone with another person anywhere is one way to make sure your child is always being looked after. This assures that she is never alone with an adult, including the teacher so if by chance someone improper got through the system, there is no access for that person to talk to or touch your child. But by stipulating that your little one makes sure she is never alone even with another child, the kids have fewer chances to think of activities that are not allowed and outside the range of acceptable and safe activities.
It is also a hard and fast rule that your child must never go home with another child or accept a ride from anyone without notifying mom first. Even if the child is your little one’s good friend, the two children must not be allowed to “be creative” about their route home or what will happen after school. By making sure your kindergartner knows the rules of safety well and observes them religiously, you are doing all you can to make sure that when you send that precious child off to school, you are continuing to protect her even when you cannot be around her all the time.