Do You Have A PLAN?

Okay, parents!  You need an emergency PLAN!

No this isn’t about “what if I die.”  It’s about everyday emergencies.  Do you have a plan?

Last week, our area was bombarded with tornadoes and most of the school districts informed parents that there would more than likely be an early release to get the kids home before the storms hit.

One area school sent out a one call with the wrong early release time on it and a ten year old boy got dropped off before his mother got home to meet him.

Now, this is not a rant about school district or anything like that.  They were doing the best they could since there wasn’t a PLAN in place for this type of event.  The bus driver didn’t know the kid would be alone.  This isn’t an attack against mom either.  She was trying to get home before her child.

The problem is that the parents and child didn’t have a PLAN.  There comes a time in every child’s life when they need to make a last minute decision without the help of adults.  I call this a potential emergency.  This little boy ended up wandering his neighborhood (with the potential for a tornado) looking for someone to let him use the phone to call his mom.  He was really scared.

In my opinion, this could have been avoided.

If your child rides a bus home from school, you should go over with them, often, the PLAN for what to do if you aren’t there.  Now some of you will say that you are ALWAYS there but just what if you weren’t.  Maybe you got caught by a train and are running five minutes late.  What if one of your other children fell and cracked his/her skull open and you had to go with the the ambulance?  Does your child know what to do if he/she comes home to an empty house unexpectedly?

Even my four year old knows what to do in a wide variety of occasions.  For example, If he wakes from his nap and he can’t find me, I am probably outside doing yard work, feeding the chickens or waiting for his brother’s bus.  He is to play with toys or turn on the TV and wait patiently for me to come back inside.

If my seven year old gets off of the bus and no one is home (has never happened but what if?) then he is to walk across the field to his grandparents’ house and wait for me there.  If for some crazy reason THEY aren’t there, he is to come back home and wait in the house for me to get back, doing his homework and helping himself to a snack and then watch TV.  See, we have a plan for everything!  We even practice fire drills and how to escape from the house if there’s a stranger emergency.  It isn’t enough for your child to simply know their phone number and address.

Some people don’t want to scare their kids with ideas that bad things might happen but I think of it the other way.  What if something bad DOES happen and your child doesn’t know what to do?

It’s really kind of fun for the kids to learn about and practice safety and what ifs.  Check out my next few posts for ideas on HOW to practice the what ifs with your kids and how to have a plan in place, with contingencies.