The early fall is a time of year when we all work on getting back into routines. After a fun-filled summer, it can be weird to get back into the daily groove. Being a busy mom who has to get kids back to school doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Here are a few tips to help you keep yourself — and your kiddos — safe, whether you’re dropping them off at school, taking them grocery shopping, or just hanging out with them at the park.
The best offense is a good defense
Self-defense doesn’t just mean fighting back when or if you’re attacked; it’s a full lifestyle that helps you avoid bad situations in the first place. Being aware of your surroundings is the number one way to keep yourself safe. Have a confident walk with your head up, shoulders back, and your eyes scanning around you and your kids. Keeping your eyes up and your head on a swivel will help you identify threats before they get close enough to be a problem. The confidence you display will make you look like a tougher target to hit and deter anyone who may be looking to take advantage of you. It will also help you to speak up for yourself and tell someone to, “Stop, get back!” if they come too close.
Kids are a major distraction in themselves, so it can be easy to lose track of your surroundings and personal belongings when you’ve got your children in tow. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get rid of any other distractions that could take your mind off the task at hand. The biggest distraction in our modern era is your cell phone. Whether you’re driving, walking down the street, or grocery shopping, putting your phone away is the best way to keep you in the present and ready to react. This is especially important when you’re loading or unloading your kids from the car in the pick up or drop off line at school. It’s your job as a parent to be aware of other cars, kids on bikes, or anything else that could pose harm to your child. Your work email, social media feed, or group chat can wait.
Keep your hands free
Children tend to come with a lot of stuff — backpacks, snacks, water bottles, sporting equipment, strollers… The list goes on and on. You’ll probably already have your hands full, so having a traditional shoulder purse is not a good idea. With a shoulder bag, you’re much more likely to leave your belongings in places that make it a target for theft, like in the shopping cart at the grocery store or the passenger side of your car. If you must carry a purse, a backpack is your best choice. This will keep your hands free, not only to help your kids with their stuff, but to deter an attacker if they do approach you. Plus, many designers are coming out with really cute backpacks that can hold all sorts of items and help you have your hands for better tasks.
Mirror, mirror on the car
Putting a mirror in the backseat is great for keeping an eye on a baby in a rear-facing car seat. But mirrors are a great tool to have throughout the car. Put some in your trunk so you can see if someone is coming up behind you when you’re putting groceries away. You can put them on doors to help make sure your kids are safe before they get out of the car, or to watch for oncoming traffic while you’re unloading. Mirrors provide all kinds of visibility and are an inexpensive way to add safety features to your vehicle.
For more ideas on how to keep you and your children safe, check out this clip of me from our friends at the ABQ Moms Blog.