Today I want talk about a few safety rules kids need to know before they start Kindergarten.
In general, I shy away from any rule or parenting method that is supposed to be applicable to “all kids”. I believe every child, and every family is different and it’s important that each of us does what’s best for our own families, even if it looks different from parenting decisions people are making around us. When it comes to a child’s safety, I think there are oftentimes really important things even the BEST parents forget to teach their kids for their own safety. We don’t like thinking about worst-case scenarios when it comes to our children’s safety BUT if we take the time to think through different things and prepare our kids, it can help keep them safe and give us some peace of mind.
SAFETY RULES KIDS NEED BEFORE KINDERGARTEN
About their bodies – Kids need to know they have ownership of their own bodies. They need to know that hugs, kisses and touching are always their choice. They have the power to say no and a can always speak up if some one is doing something to their body that they don’t like or makes them feel funny. They should know that there are some parts of their body that should never be touched by another person and that they shouldn’t touch others in those areas either. This does not have to be a scary conversation. You can use these simple children’s books to spark the conversation and leave it at that until their questions and maturity level would make a deeper conversation more appropriate. Although it’s goal is abuse prevention this book helped my toddlers understand why they can’t hit/kick/pinch other kids too, which is essential for Kindergarten. “Their bodies belong to them, my body belongs to me”. An easy way to show that every one is in control of their own bodies and we never harm another person’s body or touch them in a way that they do not want.
Code word – With school starting, you are entering a whole new world of drop offs and pick ups. You’ll probably have a specific, unwavering routine of who picks up and who drops off and your child will learn who is picking them up and who is dropping them off. But it’s still important to have a plan in place in case something out of the ordinary happens. Establish a code word with your child (it can be something silly and easy to remember like “pineapple”) and let them know that they are not to get in a car with some one NO MATTER WHAT THE “EMERGENCY” unless the person first tells them the code word.
This might seem like an extreme situation, especially when the only alternative people who would ever be picking up your child would be a close friend or family member. However, many kidnappers spend time grooming children first, chatting with them on the street, interacting casually on the playground etc in such a way that the child begins to feel like they know each other. If a person that they know from the park etc pulled up to school and told them there had been an accident and they were going to take the child to see mommy/daddy somewhere, the child might be willing to go along, since they felt like they “knew” the person. Naturally, you don’t need to go into that much detail with your kindergartner. Simply tell them that if any one new ever picks them up, to double check the code-word with them first, before they get in the car.
Phone number – Phone numbers can be tricky to learn but it can be really helpful for each child to know your phone number (and full name) in case of emergency. Since phone numbers can be tricky to learn, we put together a quick list of 3 easy ways to teach your preschool age child your phone number!
Bonus tip – While it’s not a safety rule for your Kindergartener, another thing to think about before your child’s first day of school is what photos you are posting on social media. Be careful not to publicly share pictures with your child’s school name or address on it. This includes all kinds of cute “first day” photos like one taken in front of the school sign, getting on the bus or even shots of your kids wearing shirts with their school logo on them. For a fun (and free) sign that keeps private information private, you can download a printable first day of Kindergarten sign I created here.
Do you have any more safety rules for kids you tried to make sure your they knew before Kindergarten? Share with us in the comments!