With the school year kicking off, many children are spending their mornings and afternoons unsupervised as they travel from home to school and back again. Bullies and other predators can pose a threat to the safety of a child who is waiting for the bus or walking with just one or two other children which is why parents need to make sure their children are physically prepared for their new found independence. In addition to pencils, pens, paper and a backpack, parents also need to make sure they have taught their children basic self-defense and safety skills that could save their life if they are ever attacked. Krav Maga Worldwide, a leading self –defense organization has created a list of tips on what parents need to be teaching their kids now to make sure they stay safe throughout the school year.
These unsupervised hours pose unique dangers for different age groups.
Lack of proper supervision is rare for this group except for very short periods of time. Children of this age are most commonly left alone during a short walk to and from school. Here are a few practical tips to ensure that this time is as safe as possible.
- Always walk with a buddy who lives very close by.
- Be sure to go straight to school or home. No detours or goofing around.
- If a stranger says, “hello” they can smile, make eye contact, waive, and say “hello” back, but they should always keep walking toward either the school or home no matter what.
Lack of supervision is relatively common in this group. At this age children take on more responsibility and are less susceptible to the dangers faced by younger children. However, the dangers that children in this age range encounter are more commonly imposed by friends and acquaintances. These peer pressure based dangers are experienced by every child in this age group. But the risk can be mitigated by ensuring that your children’s time and attention is occupied during these key hours. Here are a couple practical tips for this age group:
- Get them involved in after school activities that they genuinely enjoy
- Schedule the time after school for them to complete their chores or homework. Ensure that you hold them to that expectation when you come home from work.
- Communication Is Key … Make sure your children understand that there is no such thing as communicating too much. By letting them know that you expect regular updates you will feel better leaving them unattended. Before leaving them for the first time set expectations. Let your kids know what you expect whether it be staying inside while you are gone or coming straight home after school.
- Talk to kids about knowing their surroundings. By explaining to them that they need to be fully aware of what’s going on around them can avert dangerous situations from happening.
- Confidence in speech (projecting, clear) and body language (posture, eye contact, etc.) are the single most important factors that can increase your child’s chances of safety. Regardless of the dangerous situation or the age, a child with a strong presence is less likely to be at risk than those that project shyness or aloofness.
- Children should always listen to their instincts, if something doesn’t feel right they should leave the area immediately without hesitation or fear of getting in trouble.
Matt Romond is a 3rd Degree Krav Maga Worldwide™ Black Belt, the Director of Krav Maga Worldwide’s™ KM-X Kids program and has over a decade of experience teaching children and adults Krav Maga self-defense and fight classes.
About Krav Maga Worldwide
Founded in 1997 to promote Krav Maga throughout the United States and around the world, Krav Maga Worldwide trains and certifies instructors and licenses over 150 authorized Krav Maga Worldwide training centers in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South America, and Europe, as well as over 800 law enforcement agencies and military units. Krav Maga offers the highest caliber of instruction to thousands of people, supporting the company’s core commitment to improving and saving lives. Krav Maga Worldwide continues to develop, promote and implement self-defense and fitness programs. For additional information, visit: www.kravmaga.com.