By Twinkle VanWinkle, LIN Lifestyle Expert
Now that school is back in session, stress abounds, ranging from worries about what to wear to which after-school activities to participate in and how to get there. Ed Samane, founder of the PRO Martial Arts franchise, offers these 10 rules every child should know so that parents can feel secure in sending their children off to school each day.
With the beautiful summer weather lingering across the country, many kids are asserting their independence and insisting on walking or biking to and from school. While it may make parents uneasy at times, there’s no reason children shouldn’t be able to make the trek on their own or with friends – if the right precautions are in place.
After first making the walk (or ride) with your children to ensure they are familiar with the route, go over the basic rules such as always looking both ways before crossing the street; walking across the street in a crosswalk, never running; wearing brightly colored clothing; and never taking alternate routes.
1. I am the boss of my body and no one is allowed to touch me without permission.
2. I know my name, address and phone number, and my parent’s names and phone numbers, too.
3. Safe grownups don’t ask kids for help – ever.
4. I never go anywhere or take anything from someone I don’t know, even if they say they know my parents.
5. I must check first with a trusted grownup for permission before going anywhere, changing my plans or getting in a car with someone. If I’m not able to check first, I can’t go and will go immediately home.
6. Everyone’s swim suit areas are private.
7. I don’t always have to be polite. If someone makes me feel scared or uncomfortable it’s ok to say no – even to a grownup.
8. I don’t keep secrets, especially if they make me feel scared of uneasy. I can tell my parents, my teacher or a friend’s parents if I have a secret I need to share.
9. If I ever get lost in a public place I can freeze and yell or go to a mom with kids to ask for help.
10. I will always pay attention to my instincts, especially if I get a feeling I don’t like.
In addition to these tips, there are also a variety of apps available for download that help parents keep an eye on the kids and notify them when children have arrived at their destination. Another great way to keep a lookout is to get to know your neighbors. Being a parent is not always easy and exchanging phone numbers and email addresses with those physically closest to you can be a great help.
Another great tip to help keep kids safe – especially from bullies and other predators – participation in sports. According to AboutOurKids.org, the benefits of childhood participation in sports are numerous including increased self-esteem, coping skills, problem solving skills and character building – all traits that help give children the skills they need to protect themselves.
Last, please keep in mind that there is no specific age at which a child is ready to walk or bike alone to school, so have a talk with your child to make sure that he or she is comfortable and confident in the situation. If not, take advantage of the opportunity to spend a few extra minutes of quality time accompanying your child to school each morning. You won’t regret it.
Ed Samane is the founder of PRO Martial Arts and creator of the anti-bullying and predator prevention program, ARMOR. He holds a 7th degree black belt in Korean Tang Soo Do and an 8th degree black belt in Hapkido. Grandmaster Samane began his unique instructional program 18 years ago with the belief that karate should teach not only self-defense, but also character, by helping to improve overall attitude, self-worth, fitness, assertiveness and self-awareness in both children and adults.