Kids have never had to worry about their safety in a world that’s grown more dangerous.
It’s an incredible opportunity to keep our kids safe, but parents must be prepared for the changes that will come, says Barbara Hensley, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Here are the key things to keep in mind when your child comes home from school, whether they’re playing outside or in a safe room.
Keep your kids safe and supervised.
While many parents are aware of the increased risk, many still have questions about how to safely supervise and protect your kids, said Dr. Robert H. Pollack, director of the Division of Child Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“The question is, how do you get the parents’ attention?”
Parents should be aware that they are in control of their children’s safety, said Hensie.
Parents should keep in touch with their kids at home and at school.
While the new rules may seem intimidating at first, it’s important to keep them in the loop.
Make sure that you and your kids are aware and following the rules.
“You want them to know the rules and to know when the kids are going to come home, when the doorbell rings, what time the kids need to go home, and how they’re going to get home,” said Pollack.
Parents need to also make sure that they don’t neglect the safety of their kids and their pets.
If you need to visit a pet and have a little help, get the necessary permits.
Make the time for it.
In the event that your child needs to go to the emergency room for some medical care, your family should make sure to plan ahead and take the appropriate precautions, said Pollick.
If a child needs more than one caregiver, make sure you and the other caregiver are together in the room where the child is being evaluated, he said.
Parents also need to make sure their kids have a place to sit and go to school, which is something that they may not be aware of yet.
They should also be familiar with how to monitor their child’s progress in school and other activities.
The more safe your children are, the more likely they are to stay healthy and keep their grades up, said Schaeffer.
Keep the conversation open and respectful.
While there are no universal safety guidelines for the different kinds of play or activity, parents need to keep the conversation about what’s best for their kids open and to the point.
“It’s important that you have a conversation about how things are going,” she said.
The conversation should include not just safety, but how best to protect children from other kids, who might have similar experiences, as well as adults, who are having the same or similar experiences.
Make your children feel like they have a role in the process.
Make it clear to your kids that their safety and wellbeing is your priority.
“If there’s a kid who is feeling very stressed or stressed out, you have to say to them, ‘I know that your stress is going to be great, but we’re going in to do a good job of protecting your health and wellbeing,'” said Pollak.
It might seem like the conversation might be uncomfortable or intimidating, but it can be an important tool to help your child feel like he or she is part of the decision-making process, said Kelly.
“In the beginning of any conversation, we don’t know exactly what is going on, and the kids really need to feel like there’s something they can do to help themselves, or someone else, or themselves to feel safe,” she added.
Make a point of being patient and understanding.
As parents, you want your kids to be able to feel comfortable in a conversation that may not necessarily be their cup of tea.
“Be patient,” said Schaiffer.
“Just be open and be respectful of their concerns.
It can be really uncomfortable and intimidating, and it’s a very important thing to do.”
When you’re ready, encourage your child to go through the process of becoming a caregiver.
The process takes about a week, but once the caregiver is there, the child can start to take responsibility for the child’s health, and will be able talk about the benefits of the care.
The key to a safe, happy childhood is being patient with your kids and understanding their needs, said Kibbe.
“I think that a lot of times when parents are anxious about what the future may hold, they may be too focused on the future of the child and not realize how much it takes for a parent to be a good parent,” she continued.
Parents can always check on their children as they continue the process and help them make decisions about what to do and when.
It may seem like parents have a lot on their minds, but they should make time for themselves and your child.
“Take time to think about things,” said Henson.