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Talking safety with your kids
(StatePoint) – Being a parent can sometimes feel like your heart is walking around in someone else’s body. And while your instinct is to protect your children from any and all harm, it is also important to give them an appropriate amount of freedom to prepare them for the real world.
“Parents will always have a lot
to worry about,” said Tony Pham, vice president at Life360, a company that uses technology to keep families connected everyday and during emergencies. “But having a plan can really help families be prepared for any type of safety situation.” As the new school year quickly approaches, parents should consider the following tips when talking to their children about safety:
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Emphasize Solutions Over Danger
Constantly warning your
children, whether they’re 8 or 18, about all the dangers of the world, can do more harm than good by increasing anxiety and feelings of powerlessness. Instead, focus on presenting solutions to known
threats. For example, tell children that
they have every right to yell, scream and kick if a stranger grabs them. More importantly, since the majority of abductions in the United States are by people children know, teach kids to check-in with you if their instincts tell them something is wrong. For younger kids, this may mean telling you before doing something adventurous, while for older children this may mean sending a text message before heading off with a family friend.
Get Mobile Help Advances in mobile
technology are making it easier than ever to keep children safe. For example, Life360 has created a mobile app that allows family members to request a “Check In” from another family member, along with a GPS location update. This simple technology proved useful during the tornadoes in the Midwest earlier this year, when thousands of families were able to contact their loved ones to share location and status updates even though phone calls weren’t going through. But before it gets to that, make
sure your family has a disaster plan in place. Kids and teens should know where to go in your home to stay safe during an earthquake, tornado or whatever disasters may hit your area. You should also agree on a meeting place away from your home (a neighbor or relative’s house or even a specific street corner) where you will reconnect if separated in an emergency.
Virtual Safety Children need to know that
strangers exist on the Internet, too. Parents should warn them about connecting with strangers or “friends” of friends on social networking sites. Children should also not disclose any personal information such as a home address, social security number or bank account without first checking with an adult. For more information on how
to keep your children safe in today’s busy world, visit www.life360.com
. Updating your safety plan as
part of your back-to-school activities will keep your kids safe all year long.
BACK TO SCHOOL DRIVE SPRINGFIELD – Each year the Springfield Rescue Mission has a Back to School Drive. Begun July 1, the mission asks individuals, businesses, and churches to reach out to needy elementary children by donating new backpacks and school supplies, which we in turn give out to those in need. Last year the mission handed out more than 600 backpacks. This year the Back to School Program is seriously lacking in donations. The recent tornado disaster has steered away focus from the normal activities, but the mission is still sponsoring two public elementary schools in Springfield (200 students).
Organizers hope that the donations will come in to honor that commitment so the children can start the new school year fully and properly prepared for their classes. School supplies should be dropped off at the Springfield Rescue Mission, 19 Bliss St. by Aug. 19.
New items are needed as
follows: backpacks, glue-sticks, calculators, pencils, pens, pencil cases, highlighters, erasers, plastic rulers, markers, crayons, colored pencils, notebooks, spiral notepads, notebook paper, small memo pads, pocket folders and tissue packs.
Page 32 AUGUST 8-14, 2011 For news & advertising call 413-525-6661
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