Five Know-how Tips for a Safe Back to School Transition
The back to school season often bears equal significance to both parent and child. As burgeoning sons and daughters approach new developmental milestones, parents too can experience great emotion about the transition: excitement is oft mixed with uncertainty and anxiety as children take steps further away from protective parental reach.
Amongst other things, social networking, increasingly fast-paced society and various peripatetic liberties mean that the world in which today’s children are growing up is vastly different from that which their parents experienced in years past. Monitoring the well being of our children in this changing societal landscape is a primary parental responsibility, and we are happy to provide a few safety tips for this year’s back to school transition.
- Monitor Technology Habits. Each year technology falls into younger hands, and parents are recommended to monitor children’s Internet and social media habits. Today’s children are increasingly digitally confident and it is imperative that parents know what information is being shared as children explore and participate in online communities. Stressing the dangers of risk and permanence can prove an integral safety mechanism for now and years to come.
- Talk to Your Children about Bullying. In addition to encouraging your child to open up with honest dialogue from an early age, by gently enquiring if they have seen anyone being bullied – or if they themselves are bullied – you might be able to thwart a physical or emotional safety issue early on. Parents should watch for warning signs of bullying, including sudden downturns in grades, disinterest in social get-togethers and indications of physical abuse. Encourage children to non-physically resolve problems and confide in a trusted adult.
- Inspire Healthy Eating. There is no substitute for good nutrition and strong bodies. The advantages of healthy meals far outweigh the trouble of time commitment: children can experience life-long physical and mental benefits by sticking to a healthy routine. For bonus points, involve your children in the food preparation process: they will carry the skills with them for the rest of their lives, not to mention great memories with their parents!
- Support Responsibility. Encourage adventure and discovery, but remember to ensure that your children maintain core schedules. Freedom and adventure – within reason – are integral to any child’s development, but so is learning accountability, reliability and responsibility. As the school year begins, be sure to enforce homework policies, community service or any other obligations with the perk of greater independence as a reward.
- Stay Informed about Your Children’s Whereabouts. The world is more interconnected than ever before, and you – and your children – can travel by car, train, or bus to just about anywhere. As such, it is important that parents establish safe zones, danger zones and other basic guidelines as a means of safeguarding against potential tragedy. There is a significant divide between being a helicopter parent and a parent that emphasizes open dialogue about proper mobile safety precautions and the trustworthiness (or the lack thereof) of strangers.
The back to school transition can prove to be an exciting yet fretful time for parents around the world. According to a recent poll conducted by navigation innovators Sygic, nearly 50% of parents worry regularly about the well-being of their children, a number magnified in the back to school season. Concern about the safety of children is only natural, and while not all safety concerns can be assisted digitally, luckily there is a solution for many back to school apprehensions.
If you believe in a “trust but verify” style of parenting, an intuitive location-sharing app such as Sygic’s Family Locator can help keep your children happy and independent. According to a recent Sygic report, parents of children 8-12 years old (43%) and children 13-16 years old (29%) can particularly benefit from a family tracking application, with emphasis on safe / unsafe zone boundaries and location history for school children and new drivers. Once a child’s location has been confirmed with Family Locator, you can rest assured that your child is okay – or, in worst-case scenarios, you will be able to navigate to that location turn-by-turn with the press of a button.
Family awareness is the key to a happy household, and Sygic is thrilled to help ease the anxieties of growing up by keeping parents in touch with their loved ones. Sygic is proud to contribute to the reassurance of both parents and their children, one location at a time.
By Daniela Zelinova