Ensuring the safety of children is a primary parenting concern. That’s why PTA supports the Take 25 campaign, which encourages parents to take time to talk to their kids about staying safe.
Take 25 on May 25. Put child safety at the top of your to-do list in honor of National Missing Children’s Day, hosted annually by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®.
Below are 25 easy ways your family can Take 25 to help kids stay safe. Also check out the resources and activities available through your community, your local PTA, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®.
1. Teach your children how and when to use 911, and make sure they have a trusted adult to call if they’re scared or have an emergency.
2. Check your children’s online screen names to make sure they don’t reveal too much about your children. At the same time, caution children not to post revealing information or inappropriate photos of themselves or their friends online. Make sure online predators don’t have information they could use to manipulate your children into thinking they are trusted friends.
3. Know what other access your children may have to the Internet at school, at the library, or at friends’ homes.
4. Adapt the NetSmartz® Internet Safety Pledge for each of your children. Sign the pledges and post them next to the computer or in another prominent place as a reminder.
5.Teach your children to ask you before leaving home and to stay with a friend whenever they’re playing outside or walking anywhere.
6. Visit the Internet Keep Safe Coalition’s website and read about the Adventures of Faux Paws the Techno Cat. Then, print out some of the coloring sheets and discuss the message and lessons with your children while you create new artistic masterpieces.
7. Make sure your children know how to reach you at work and on your cell phone.
8. Take your children on a walking tour of the neighborhood and tell them whose homes they may visit without you.
9. Set up “what if” situations and ask your children how they would respond. “What if someone asked you to help them find a lost puppy? What would you do?”
10. Explore NetSmartz® Kids with your children.
11. Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help. If your children ride a bus to school, visit the bus stop with them to make sure they know which bus to take.
12. Talk with older children about the importance of staying safe while driving.
13. Teach younger children their full names, address, and telephone numbers. All children should also know their parents’ and guardians’ full names.
14. Teach your children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting. Set up role-play situations at home to practice.
15. Offer to chaperone a walking school bus in your neighborhood. Visit the Walking School Bus website for more information.
16. Over dinner, talk to your children about bullying. Kids are often reluctant to let adults know if they have concerns about bullying, but even those children who are bystanders to bullying incidents can be strongly affected. For tips on how to approach this topic, and how to deal with problems you may discover, visit the Stop Bullying Now website.
17. Remind your children about the household rules regarding having visitors over when you are not at home. Role-play with your children how to answer the phone when they are home alone.
18. Talk to your children about the importance of not approaching any vehicle, occupied or not, unless they know the owner and are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.
19. Explain to your children to stay away from pools and other bodies of water without adult supervision. All pools your children visit should have a visible lifeguard on duty. If you have a pool at home, establish appropriate swimming hours and supervision.
20. Take a trip to the neighborhood playground. While there, check to make sure all the equipment is well-maintained, and talk to your children about how to play safely.
21. Watch a movie with your children that features main characters learning about staying safe. After the movie, speak with your children about the lessons learned. With younger children, read a story that will spark a conversation about ways to stay safe.
22. Teach your children how to locate help at theme parks, sports stadiums, shopping malls, and other public places. Identify those people who are safe to ask for help, such as law enforcement, security guards, and store clerks with name tags. Make it a point to practice each time you take a trip; quiz your children on the things they should look for.
23. Talk with your teenagers about the importance of healthy dating relationships.
24. Sign up online to receive AMBER Alerts on your cell phone.
25. Volunteer your time to help your PTA with its Take 25 events.