Kindergarten: Keeping Your Child Safe
Kindergarten is a time when your child wants to be more independent and often may attempt new experiences. However, a child this age lacks the judgment of an older child and requires more supervision.
There is growing concern about the self-care trend with children. It is never appropriate to leave kindergarten children unattended. State law would call this child neglect. As a parent, it is your responsibility to provide a safe environment.
There are several ways you can assist your children in keeping themselves safe.
- Teach them to recite their name, address, phone number including area code and place of parent employment.
- Teach them to use the telephone and the 911 system if it is available. Post emergency numbers.
- Teach them a regular pattern of travel to and from school, parks and stores. Teach that there's safety in numbers and to use the buddy system.
- Identify "safe houses" in your neighborhood in town or "safe places" for farm and rural children.
- Practice fire drills and other responses to emergencies at home.
- Teach what is and is not safe to play with around your home.
Talk To Your Child About Strangers
The advice you give your children about strangers will depend on their ages and personalities as well as on circumstances in the community. Here are some safety suggestions that will be appropriate for many children.
- Never go into a stranger's car or house.
- If a stranger calls out your name, hurry immediately to a place of safety.
- If someone tells you that your mom or dad is hurt, first check that this is true by telephoning your parents or talking to an adult you know. Never go with a stranger immediately.
- If grabbed by a stranger, scream, struggle and yell "I am being kidnapped!" or "Help! I don't know you."
- If you escape, keep running and don't stop or look back until you have reached another adult where you will be safe.
- Never accept candy, money or treats from anyone you don't know or trust. If you question accepting a treat, say, "Let me check with my (mom, dad, sitter, teacher)."
Watch your child's reactions to others. It's not only strangers who pose safety concerns. If your child isn't comfortable with an adult, don't push the relationship.
Remember, do not scare your child when training him about safety. It is important that you remain calm and check on the child's understanding of these procedures periodically.
Reprinted with the permission of the Iowa State University Extension. © 2008 Iowa State University Extension.
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