As we turn the corner on summer here in Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati we also turn back-to-school. In our area, most schools are starting back roughly the same time:

  • Cincinnati Public Schools – Aug. 17
  • Beechwood Independent School District – Aug. 18
  • Blessed Sacrament – Aug. 18
  • Boone County Schools – Aug. 17
  • Campbell County Schools – Aug. 10
  • Covington Catholic High School – Aug. 11
  • Covington Independent Schools – Aug.17
  • Covington Latin – Aug. 16
  • Grant County Schools – Aug. 15 (Grade 6 & 9), Aug. 16 (Grades K-5, 7-8, 10-12) Aug. 17 (All)
  • Holy Cross – Aug. 16
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary – Aug. 17
  • Kenton County Schools – Aug. 17
  • Newport Independent Schools – Aug. 17
  • Notre Dame Academy – Aug. 10
  • Pendleton County Schools – Aug. 4
  • St. Joseph Academy, Walton – Aug. 16
  • Villa Madonna Academy – Aug. 16

Regardless of which school your child(ren) is/are heading back, you want them to be safe. So here are a handful of tips that will help the school year be a safe one for everyone.

  1. Travel Safety. Riding the bus can be a fun adventure for many younger kids but there are many variables that can make it stressful or even dangerous.
    • Loading & Unloading Safely – Remind your kids to wait unitl the bus is completely stopped before they start jockeying for position in line. This is true, of course, loading and uploading in car pool lanes.
    • Parents, give yourself time – Leave early enough that you have margin in your schedule when the car pool lane backs up. One way to do this is with homework & breakfast planning. Give your students a homework “inbox” so you can check their work and see that it’s complete. Likewise, you can give your older students the game plan for breakfast at the beginning of the week or pre-make some great breakfasts to just heat up. Like you find in this article at health.com.
    • Sit, don’t stand – It doesn’t take a very big bump for a bus’s stiff suspension to lift a child high enough to hit their head on the roof the of the bus.
    • Routine – Get a routine, especially for homework, dinner and going to bed. This might require NOT doing as much extracirricular activity for the good of grades, health and family harmony.
  2. Home Alone Plan. Older children and let themself off the bus and into the house, but they are still children and as such can get themselves into trouble without great guidelnes.
    • Consider a wireless video doorbell. There are many apps today that connect to a camera on your front door, garage door and monitor everyone in and out. Many allow you to lock and uplock remotely.
    • Have a routine. When your child gets off the bus they have to call by a certain time or stage two of Plan: Where’s my Kid is triggered. Stage two may be a stay at home parent or retired neighbor comes to check. About 1 or 2 checks should cure the absent mindedness.
    • Router access. Consider managing the internet access so that all non-internet school work is done (and chores) before internet access be granted.
  3. Measure and Praise. Make sure that you are meausuring and actively praising the activity you want, don’t just harp on what they AREN’T doing well.
    • Start with why. Kids in their early to mid teens see “Home Alone” plans as intrusive. Remind them you do it BECAUSE you love them. Some kids push back with the “don’t you trust me?” argument. Safety is not primarily about trust, it’s about…wait for it…safety; so TRUST but VERIFY!
    • Set expectations. It’s okay to have consequences so long as you have clearly defined the objective.
    • You’ll get what you praise (mostly). Phrases like, “I really appreciate…” or “It means a lot to me when…” are great motivators to encourage future activity.

Best of luck to parents and students in the 2016-17 school year!

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