Whether your child is entering kindergarten or middle School, keeping him or her safe is 24/7 priority number one.
At school, after school or at home, every parent, grandparent and babysitter must stay alert to possible dangers. It is no longer as easy as telling our children not to take candy from a stranger, or not to get into a car with a stranger. Today’s parent/guardian must be on top of Internet activity, cell phone and text message use, in addition to all the previous concerns.
• Pay attention to your surroundings and your gut feelings and report all strangers who try to approach you to your parents or guardian.
• Check in with your parents when you leave for a friend’s house.
• Take the main routes – do not use short cuts.
• If you are walking and a stranger in a car approaches you, turn around and walk fast in the opposite direction.
• When getting off the bus after school, survey the scene. If things look out of place, inform the bus driver that something doesn’t look safe and get back on the bus.
• Listen to your children when they report any suspicious activity to you. Report it immediately to your local authorities.
• Pay close attention to Internet activity. What may appear cute or harmless to your child is the very thing that predators are looking for. Many times it is not popular to be a watchful parent, but the unseen reward is well worth it.
Monitor online conversations – don’t allow risqué photos to be posted on Facebook and do not permit your children to give out personal information online or over the phone.
• Do not write your kids’ names on the outside of their clothes, backpacks or lunch boxes. Use their initials whenever possible.
• Have a key word for emergency situations and discuss a plan in case of a fire, tornado or a break in.
Today’s parents are faced with many hardships and dangers. Keeping kids safe is priority #1. Take time to discuss scenarios and a plan of action in case of an emergency. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Stay alert. Stay informed. Stay alive.
Sr. Master James P. Taylor is a Sixth Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. He has been practicing the Martial Arts for 35 years and he is the President/Founder of the Traditional Tae Kwon Do Federation. He is the owner/operator of martial arts studios in Woodville and Columbus Grove. For more information, contact Master Taylor at 419-704-4407 or www.taylorstnt.com.