Gearing up for Back to School

You’ve got the backpacks, pens, paper and highlighters in every color. Yet, beyond these basic supplies, what other tools can you provide to ensure a productive learning environment for your kids?

Nowadays, we see so many news reports about unthinkable happenings in classrooms and on campuses throughout the country. Sending our kids off to school can be downright stressful. While we may find it easier to just push back those thoughts and hope that nothing like that happens at our schools, it’s a much better plan to take a more proactive approach. Address safety measures right along with the annual back—to-school shopping spree.

If we prepare our kids ahead of time, talk with them and give them tools to stay safe, both students and parents can feel more secure knowing that they have a plan in place.

  1. Talk to you kids about how they feel about the level of safety at school. Let them express their fears, concerns and emotions about everything going on at their school. Just talking can help them relieve a lot of the anxiety.
  2. Talk to school officials. Find out about their emergency plans. What policies and protocols are in place to handle different situations and emergency scenarios? Discuss these procedures with your kids, before school starts.
  3. On the first day of school or before, if you can, walk around the school with your kids. Often, they know more about where things are in their school than we do. Find out where their specific classroom is located, where their locker is and which bathrooms they will use. This will help you, in case of an emergency, to understand what’s happening while you’re on the outside and they might be locked on the inside. Knowing what room they’re in, or where they are, can help ease your stress and anxiety.
  4. One of the most important tools you can provide, especially for middle school or high school students, is a cell phone. Communication is key in emergency situations, and that direct link to your kids is invaluable.

There are safety apps available to streamline the communication process too. The GWEN Alert is a powerful app that can be used for all kinds of emergencies, natural disasters and personal safety issues. It is FREE and available at the Apple Storeand Google Playand a recommended addition to every family member’s mobile devise.

GWEN Alert provides an instant connection to multi-level support in the palm of your hand. When there is perceived danger, simply trigger the safety app with a click of a button and a pre-set text message is sent instantly to your GWEN 5 – five trusted people you select from your personal network. The app also provides your GPS coordinates, continually tracks your location, and captures audio and video of your surroundings. Plus, you also have the ability to speed dial 911, should you need to escalate a rescue response.

We know it’s hard to have these conversations and even harder to consider the possibilities of something terrible happen at your child’s school. Yet, by having an open dialogue with your kids, arming them with the necessary communicate tools and giving them a well-thought action plan, we can help keep them safer and provide everyone with peace of mind