Back To School Safety: Part 2

back to school2Its official.  The kids have returned to school.  As they settle into their new classrooms and timetables they will begin to make new friends and get ready to learn and discover many new things.  Even though the kids have returned to school, that doesn’t mean the back to school preparation has ended for parents.  In fact, it’s only just begun.  While the kids are in school, there are a few things that parents need to be aware when it comes to the well being of their children.  Some things to keep an eye on:

Stress and Anxiety

Common amongst high school students and undergrads, stress and anxiety can have a huge impact on your child’s life.  At this point in their lives, high school students are stressed about their grades, wanting to make sure they score the top marks to get into the school of their choice.  On the other hand, undergrads are also stressed out not only about their grades but also dealing with pressures when it comes to looking for a job.  Stress is not a bad thing, as it can be used as a motivator however too much stress can have a lasting effect on your child.  From sleepless nights to the onset of depression, excess levels of stress can change the behaviour and health of your children.  To prevent the damaging effects, talk to your child about stress and anxiety and the ways that they can deal with it, such as talking to someone or taking part in a unrelated activity.  Remember to keep in touch with them throughout the school year and try to get involved in their studies.  This way as a parent, you have a better understanding of the workload your children are handling and it gives you the opportunity to make sure they aren’t taking on more than they can handle.

Bullying

School yard bullying has been around for years, with children picking on children during recess and throughout the school days.  However when children left the playground, they usually left the bullying there.  Unfortunately that’s not the case anymore.  With the rise of technology and the introduction of social media, the bullying now follows children at home.  Yes, we are talking about cyberbullying.   According to the Oxford dictionary, cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.  Cyberbullying has now become prominent amongst all school children, from middle school to post secondary.  What makes cbyerbullying worse than schoolyard bullying is that those facing it may be reluctant to admit to being the victims of cyberbullying.  This allows for the bullying to go unnoticed by parents and provides the opportunity for it to get worse.

If your child is actively using social media, let them know what cyberbullying is and how to spot it. Remember to teach your children the proper ways to use social media or other digital platforms so that they do not become a cyberbully.  As a parent, allow for open communication between you and your child on a regular basis.  As it was said before, those facing cyberbullying are reluctant to admit it so talking to your child about their day or the activities going on in their lives allows for you to get a sense of whether or not your child is being bullied.

Safety

As students return to class, safety is a year round concern.  From the general playground safety to walking home alone, you want to make sure that your children are safe anywhere they go.  If they’re walking to school, remind them to look all ways and wait for traffic to come to a halt before crossing the street.  Also, remind them never to text while crossing the street.  Texting and walking is just as dangerous as texting and driving as it impairs your vision and reaction time.  For younger children on the playground, remind them of playing safe and that shoving and pushing are not acceptable.  For older students living on campus this year, let them know that they can have fun but to remember to use their better judgement.

Children spend an average of six hours a day in school, not including post secondary students.  With so much time being spent in the classroom, it’s impossible for parents to make sure their children are safe 24/7.  As parents, by providing the basic back to school safety tips, you’re allowing for your child to have a safe and fun school year.  With 195 days of school this year, it’s bound to be a fun and memorable year.