Okay so I’m freaking out a bit here… I officially have a preschooler. Not only that but he is going to school full-time! I’m talking Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm.
Where oh where has my baby boy gone??
Last Wednesday was Mikey’s first day of preschool. I’m pretty sure he was more excited about it than I was. In fact, I know he was…just look at this face.
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The first thing he said to me when he woke up in the morning was “School today, Mommy?!!!” A question full of excitement and pure joy.
We got to his class a full half hour early, and even beat his teacher there because I couldn’t take him asking me if it was time to go yet one more time.
Drop off went better than I expected for both of us. He made a sad face when I said it was time for me to go and said: “I’ll be missing, Mommy.” (Way to break my heart, kid)
Luckily his teacher stepped right in and said: “Let me show you something.” She walked him over to where they keep pictures of their daily schedule and showed him all the things they would do that day and that I would be back to pick him up when the school day was over. All she really had to tell him was that they were going to play outside at some point and he was sold. He sat right down at the table with his classmates and said “Bye Bye Mommy. Have a nice day.”
I managed to stay strong and hold back my tears until I was back in the car. Tucker, unfortunately, couldn’t hold it in. He cried the whole way home saying “Mommy, I missing Mikey.”
Since my boys are only 13 months apart I’ve basically raised them like twins and this was the first time they had ever been away from each other for more than a short period of time.
Needless to say, Mikey had a fantastic first day of school and barely even noticed me as I entered his classroom to pick him up at the end of the day.
Starting school is a huge milestone in not only a child’s life but for first-time parents as well. I wanted to take the time to ease my mind, as well as the minds of others by providing some back to school safety tips from Lindsay Bannister, the Team Lead at School Solutions Network.
Back to School Safety Tips for Parents
Back to school shopping may be done, but there is one more thing families need to address as the school year begins – safety. From regularly communicating with your child to tech-enabled tips, there are many things parents can do to ease their minds and effectively prepare for potential situations.
Lindsay Bannister of the Westerville-based School Solutions Network has these few tips to share:
Open the lines of communication with your child. Regularly communicating with your child about their surroundings and safety plans can help identify issues before they are a problem, and prepare you to know how to react if a situation does arise.
- Ask your child how they feel about school. Do they feel scared? Are there any areas they feel afraid of and why? Do they know who to go to when they feel scared or unsafe?
- Identify the teacher and teacher’s aids as people your child can comfortably go to when they feel afraid.
- Become familiar with how the school teaches safety to your child and mimic procedures at home. That way when an incident occurs, your child knows what to do no matter where they are.
- As your child gets used to their school schedule, continue to actively reach out to your child’s teacher, school monitors and so forth about what’s going on during your child’s day.
Familiarize yourself with your school’s safety protocol and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Knowing when and where your little ones are in the event of an emergency can provide some ease in an otherwise stressful situation.
- Ask your school what policies and protocols are in place to ensure safe and secure surroundings at school. How do guests enter the building? Is the perimeter locked? How do parents arrange for their child(ren) to be picked up by someone other than a parent?
- What do parents do in case of an emergency at school? Where can you go to get accurate and up-to-date information from the school in an emergency situation? Will the school contact you? Who can you contact at the school? Where can you meet your children if you need to pick them up from school?
Enable text alerts. Using tech to your advantage can instantly put information at your fingertips when you need it most.
- If available, enroll in your child’s school text alerts. Text alerts can be a school’s first line of communication to parents to quickly explain what’s going on at the school — from school closures and possible safety issues to inclement weather and early dismissals and any additional breaking news.
- If your school doesn’t have text alerts, discover how the school communicates updates and emergencies with parents. Does the school have a specific phone line for parents to call in? Are they emailing parents when an incident occurs?
Join a school safety committee and engage local experts. Schools shouldn’t be alone in the quest for safety and security. No matter what age your kids are, get involved and call upon the whole community in order to utilize the support, expertise, and resources available.
- If all of this information is not readily available, or satisfactory, join your schools PTA/PTO or start a school safety committee with fellow parents. Getting involved can allow you to make school safety information accessible and look for ways to improve communication and protocols.
- Utilize community resources from local experts, such as the police department and fire department, to learn more about safety protocol and best practices to inform your school’s plans.
The School Solutions Network, based out of Westerville, Ohio, strengthens K-12 schools by leveraging innovative technology and education, expert counsel and community resources. Learn more about how you and your school can get involved.