As we start gearing up for the first day of school, it’s important to plan for emergencies that may occur when our children are away from home and not in our care. We moms can’t always be around to help when our kids need it. Having some handy items stashed away in a backpack for the kids to use can also teach them the importance of preparedness and the beginning steps of self-reliance.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) suggests each child do these 4 things to be prepared for emergencies:
- Have a plan on how to reunite with your child – contact the school and make sure you are aware of who will be contacting you if there’s a need for your child to not be at school or on the bus. If there’s an emergency evacuation after, for example, an earthquake, make sure your child knows who is allowed to pick them up and who they can go home with so you can reunite with them.
- Update emergency contact information – make absolutely certain the school has all of your information. Give them your email, phone number, and other information regarding communication. The more ways they have to reach you the better. This is the one time moms shouldn’t be overly concerned about privacy.
- Backpack Emergency Card – make a backpack emergency card for your child. Make sure this card can withstand some wear and tear, because, as we all know, kids can be kind of hard on anything they carry in their backpacks. On the card, you should include important personal information about your child, like their name, school, contact information, date of birth, and any medical conditions, such as allergies. On the backside of the card, include contact information for yourself and an additional emergency contact.
- Have your child memorize important addresses and phone numbers – if the school does not have access to their files, and your child lost their emergency card, making sure they know their own address and your phone number is important. Consider having them memorize the phone number of your place of work too, or another emergency contact.
While those steps are good ones to take to prepare your child for an emergency, if you can, you should go just one step further. You and your child(ren) should each make an emergency kit for them. The added bonus is that this is a fun family activity that everyone can do together. If their kit is packed well, it can be put in the bottom of their backpack and they will have it with them anytime they go to school.
10 CRITICAL ITEMS TO ADD TO EMERGENCY KITS FOR KIDS
- Mini first aid kit – many items can be purchased from the dollar store. You can also buy a small inexpensive kit from Amazon.
- Emergency contact list
- Granola bar or small snack
- Extra money for lunch
- Extra clothing
- Emergency phone
- Water bottle – try not to get a cheap plastic bottle that will break in their bag, and I personally steer clear of glass when it comes to the kids. There are some great stainless steel water bottles available, and your child can even choose which color they prefer. Again, this is just a suggestion and personal preference. (My son ruined 3 plastic water bottles in the nine months of school last year.)
Let your kids have some say in what they put in their kit. Avoid the obvious problem items like pocket knives, however. That’s just asking for a problem with the school. If they have a flashlight they really like and want to add, let them! This is a good way to get them engaged and start them off on the right path of preparedness and self-reliance. Also, make sure you have a conversation with them about the money if you decide to put extra cash in their backpack. There’s a chance that your child will say something to the wrong kid and that money could get stolen. They need to understand that they don’t have to tell other kids what’s in their kit or that they even have one. These conversations are good to have while you look on Amazon for items to add or while putting it together at home.
Good luck! And we all hope you have a wonderful school year!