In this episode of The Family First Show with Marijo Tinlin, we will talk about how to keep your children safe on the bus, how to keep your family safe while using technology and 7 reasons why it might be a good idea to drive your family to your holiday destination this year.
Segment 1: 15 School Bus Safety Tips
Millions of school children ride the bus each day. According to the National Association of Pupil Transportation, half of America’s school children ride the bus to school. NAPT offers these tips to help teach your children to be safe while they wait for the bus and as they get on and off the bus.
- Have your kids put all their things in their backpack or bag so they won’t have to worry about it or possibly leave it on the bus.
- Dress the kids in bright colors so they can be seen easily
- Make sure the kids are at the bus stop 5 minutes early so they don’t have to run after the bus, which is unsafe
- If you can, walk your kids to the bus or have them walk in groups to stay safe
- Walk on the sidewalk or out of the street. Walk single-file and face traffic.
- Look left, right and left again before you cross the street. As a parent, exaggerate your head turns so your child will understand.
- Have your kids wait where the driver can see them
- Don’t let them play with anything while they wait so that they are distracted or run into the street
- Warn your children if they drop something while getting off the bus and have them check with the driver before they try to pick it up
- Have your children look to the right when they get off the bus
- If you meet your child at the bus, wait on the same side of the street as they get off the bus so they don’t have to cross the street to get to you. They might get excited and run into traffic to see you.
- If they have an electronic device, make sure it’s packed or hands-free so they can get on and off safely.
- Have them keep the sound muted or use earbuds
- Don’t allow them to violate the school district’s policy
- Don’t allow them to distract the driver
Also, Laura Bush Hager encourages us to consider checking with your district about if they use or would consider using propane-fueled buses instead of diesel. It is much cleaner, quieter and reduces children’s exposure to potentially harmful particulate matter. Learn more at betterourbuses.com
Segment 2 – Safe Tech Usage
Technology use can start as early as 6 years old. How do we keep our kids safe in an increasingly digital world?
According to LifeLock, 74% of young children have access to laptops/desktops. By the time kids hit their teens, that number goes up to 80% of kids have access to a smartphone.
If your kids are hoping for an electronic item as a holiday gift this year, you might take this time to speak to them about safe use of the internet and technology. LifeLock suggests their resource called “The Smart Talk” which, in accordance with the National PTA, is a digital tool designed to guide families through a series of questions and spark conversations. This will help your family establish or update ground rules for safe use of technology.
Post this agreement in a place the whole family can see such as the refrigerator. That helps the family remember exactly what was discussed and exactly what the limits are.
“We need to help the next generation establish safe behaviors at an earlier age and give parents a roadmap to set ground rules that strike a better, healthier balance,” said Paige Hanson, Educational Programs Senior Manager for LifeLock.
Also important are healthy online habits and protecting your family’s identity. “Always think before you post to your social networks,” said Hanson. “While posting a picture of your family seems harmless enough, you could be opening yourself to identity theft. Each photo and status update also creates your child’s first digital footprint, especially when they are too young to be online themselves.”
She says to protect birthdates, and Social Security numbers as well. To start the conversation, go to thesmarttalk.org to begin to set the rules, start best practices and protect your family while using technology and living in the world that’s always connected.
Segment 3 – 7 Reasons to Drive to Your Holiday Destination
As we go into the holiday season, people will be checking flight pricing, hotels and rentals cars as a part of their holiday travel planning. Why not consider driving, says the Car Care Council.
“With gas prices below $3 per gallon in many parts of the country, more and more travelers are realizing the economic and hassle-free benefits of driving to their holiday destination,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “A family of four can travel 1,000 miles round-trip by car for about the cost of a single airline ticket, so driving is the sensible option.”
Here are the 7 reasons why car travel is smart:
- It gives you flexibility with your agenda – no flight schedule dictating your timeline. Leave when you want, take the route you want and stop as often as you want. No weather delays either.
- No waiting – no long ticket lines, or security checks. No worries about finding a parking place in the airport lot either.
- No luggage fees – take what you want, how much you want and don’t worry about jamming it into a quart-sized bag. Also helps you carry wrapped gifts you don’t have to ruin for the TSA screeners to search
- Be comfortable – your car seat is WAY more comfortable than that airplane seat and no getting smashed against a stranger either.
- Drive your own car – this prevents that learning curve of a rental car that can be annoying and even possibly dangerous.
- Bring your pet – when you drive yourself, you can bring along your furry friends and that saves on boarding and keeps your pet happier too.
- Eat what you want, when you want – bring along whatever snacks you like or stop at the local place along the way. Your choice!
Also, don’t forget to get your car in for a tune-up before you set out. For a free copy of the Car Care Council’s Car Care Guide, visit www.carcare.org for tips on maintenance, care and repair of your best way to travel – your car!
Marijo Tinlin is the host of The Family First Show and the editor of www.familyfirst.com. She is also the author of “How to Raise an American Patriot” available at www.raisinganamericanpatriot.com. She lives in Colorado with her husband and their kids.