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Five After-School Safety Tips For Your Back-To-School Tween

Posted by Sandra On August - 30 - 2013

2822848009_98b4623864Back to school spells sports and after-school activities for kids, but what about those days you come home from work late and your tween doesn’t have anything scheduled? For many parents, allowing preteens to stay home alone is a big, nervous decision. With a few essential safety tips in place that establish a routine for your tween, after-school will be fun with little worry for you.

1. Build a trust network with your neighborhood watch group.

Before the school year starts, choose neighbors your child is comfortable with contacting so she has someone to call or easily visit if she needs someone or gets scared. Contacting your local neighborhood watch group is an ideal, safe source you can establish a trust network with. Nnwi.org is a national neighborhood watch association dedicated to helping communities promote safety. They offer great resources to help parents talk to neighbors about organizing “safe” places in the neighborhood if kids run into trouble.

2. Keeping kids busy keeps them out of trouble.

If this is your child’s first time staying home alone, they may be overwhelmed by the excitement of the idea. Allow your child to relax with personal downtime after school, but encourage them to complete homework or practice their band instrument as an incentive to have free time to hang out later at night. Scholastic.com offers interactive, self-guided arts and crafts activities that are learning tools but are fun enough to keep tween-aged kids from getting bored.

3. Have an emergency plan and then practice it.

Experts agree that staying safe when home alone is more about boosting confidence than causing them to be scared of potential intruders or emergencies. Do it yourself home security installation, which is conveniently connected to cellular phones, home phones and the Internet, can empower your tween to feel secure. Along with making sure smoke detectors and emergency services phone numbers are stored in your child’s phone, be sure your child understands to leave the house immediately when a smoke alarm goes off and head to the designated neighbors house to call 911.

4. Stick to the same route home everyday.

If your tween walks home, practice the route with her before school starts and insist she takes this same way every day. If she rides the bus, have her ride it every day. The National Safe Routes To School Partnership suggests your child say “No thanks” to unplanned rides from friends’ parents to avoid unpredictable situations such as accidents that could compromise safety. The same route ensures you can predict how long it will take your tween to arrive home safely.

5. Keep the phone mostly off-limits.

Unless you have caller ID, it’s a good idea for kids to avoid answering the phone. Tweens can be easily persuaded by potential intruders to expose personal information unknowingly. A dedicated cell phone for emergencies with family and friend’s numbers programmed can be helpful and more secure than the home phone. Mychildsafety.net offers more tips to share with kids when answering the phone.


Albert Lester

Al teaches economics and business at his local high school. He blogs about business, finance, teaching and the economy in his spare time.

By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
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