In less than a week, schools around the country re-open for the 2014 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.
Martin Kriel, Managing Director of ADT Security’s East Coast Region had some advice that could help put parents’ minds at ease. “Share these tips with your children and encourage them to use them every day.”
– Always walk to or from school with a friend or friends. Stick to streets you know and never take short cuts through quiet areas or empty parking lots.
– If you get picked up at school, always wait inside the school-grounds for your lift to arrive; do not leave the premises to go and look for them in the street.
– Never get into a stranger’s car even if they claim that someone you love is hurt and that they are supposed to pick you up. Remember, your parents would never send someone you don’t know to fetch you.
– If a stranger approaches you, do not talk to them no matter how friendly they may seem. If someone tries to grab you, fight, kick and scream that they are not your mom or dad.
For some families, 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,’ said Kriel. “Also make a list of important telephone numbers – such as the emergency services and mom and dad’s work and cell phone 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,” he added.