School Holiday Community Awareness
Working with your Children to Identify a Network of Safe Places
Working with your children to identify a network of safe places is an important step in ensuring their wellbeing when they are out these school holidays. Ensure your children have a plan of action and know the location of safe places or people that they can go to if they feel they are in danger. Having a plan and knowing in advance where to go and who to contact can help your children react sooner and smarter if they find themselves in a frightening situation.
You may want to consider the following tips to help your children identify a network of safe places:
There are a number of activities you can do with your children to help them know who or where to go for safety. You could try tracing a hand and labelling each finger with a name or a place. Draw or print a map of your local area or the area in which the child will be that day and help them to highlight places of safety. The Triple Zero Kids' Challenge is also a fun interactive way to help your child recognise safe locations or places that are around most town centres.
The Daniel Morcome website also has some fantastic resources for parents and teachers.
Assisting your Child to Identify an Emergency and Know Who to Call
It is important that your children know how to identify an emergency and also who to call if they find themselves in an emergency situation or are feeling unsafe. Children are typically educated at home, school and by local police to call 000 in an emergency and it is important that they understand what an emergency looks like and what is not necessarily an emergency. Have a discussion with your child surrounding when they may need to ring 000, what to expect when they call and what information may be required. We don’t want to deter children from calling 000, however in cases that are not urgent or life-threatening emergencies encourage them to talk with a trusted adult who can call Police Assistance on 131 444. For an easily accessible list of emergency contacts, download our Important Numbers Template and add the contacts of people you can call in an emergency and print to hang in your home, it may be handy to laminate and put next to your home phone or stick on the fridge for constant visibility and familiarity.
A great way to practice identifying an emergency is through the use of the Triple Zero Kids’ Challenge, which is an interactive game where children deal with scenarios and solve problems, it helps to identify what is an emergency, what is a safe place and what to expect if they need to speak with emergency services or 000 call takers. You could also have your family create some role plays to act out together, showing various emergencies and having the children identify the course of action required and answer questions they may be asked by emergency services either over the phone or in person.
Keeping your Family Safe Online
Online safety is a prominent issue for today’s youth, and it is important to speak with your children about the potential risks and how to stay safe online. We don’t want to discourage children from using the internet but rather to give them the tools and knowledge to keep themselves and their information safe, to make good decisions about what is shared, to be respectful online and how to deal with any potential problems if they arise. This extends not only to our children, but our entire family and community.
There are some important topics you can cover while chatting to your children about staying safe online:
Cyberbullying is very common amongst our young people. Talk with your children about what bullying is and how they can deal with it. We encourage block, delete and reporting of any person who is bullying, harassing or asking personal or inappropriate questions. Re-enforce to your children that help is always available, nothing is so big that you cannot tell someone. There are numerous places children can turn to for help, information, reporting and resources, including parents and teachers, Police, other trusted adults, ThinkUKnow, Office of the E-Safety Commissioner, ACORN, Lifeline, Beyond Blue and Headspace.
If you are interested in a ThinkUKnow presentation, contact your child's school, association/club or workplace and have them book a session at the ThinkUKnow website.
To reduce the chances of your child being a victim of bike theft, consider the following crime prevention security tips:
Child Safety When Home Alone
Over the school holidays it is especially important that children are aware of the rules, expectations and boundaries when staying at home alone. Whilst every family will have their own unique set of rules and expectations, these are some that you may like to consider: