This week, schools around the country re-open for the 2016 academic year. Although the kids may be keen to return to see their friends it can be a time of anxiety for parents, especially those whose children have to travel to and from school by themselves.
Theunis Kotze, GM of ADT Security Inland Region, has some advice that could help put parents’ minds at ease.
Share these tips with your children and encourage them to use them every day.
- They must always walk to or from school with a friend or friends. Stick to streets they know and never take short cuts through quiet areas or empty parking lots.
- If they get picked up at school, they should never leave the premises but always wait inside the school-grounds for their lift to arrive.
- They must never get into a stranger’s car; even if the stranger claims that someone they love is hurt and that they are supposed to pick them up. Remind them that you would never send someone they don’t know to fetch them.
- If a stranger approaches them, they should not talk to them no matter how friendly they may seem. If someone tries to grab them, they need to fight, kick and scream that the person is not their mom or dad.
For some families, a tight budget may mean that a domestic helper or au pair is not an option. In some cases children have to see themselves to and from school and keep occupied until mom and dad return home in the evening.
“It is very important that children know how the alarm system and panic buttons work and when and how to use them,” says Kotze. “Also make a list of important telephone numbers – such as the emergency services and mom and dad’s work and cellphone numbers – stick it on or near the telephone and explain when these should be used.
“Emphasise how important it is not to let anyone into the house without your permission. If you are going to be late let your children know as soon as possible and give them an idea of when they can expect you to be home.”