Summer is here! For our matches, it can mean a few different things. For our Community Based matches, it means that schedules are more flexible and less time can be spent working on homework (with more of a focus on FUN). For our School Based matches, some are on a break until the next school year**, but some School Based matches are transitioning from an in-school-only environment to a world of home visits and finding activities to do in the community.
No matter what your situation is with your match, the safety of you and your Little should always be a top priority during the summer months. However, “safety” is not very specific, is it? Here are a few safety topics our Match Support Specialists would recommend that a Big keep in mind:
Applying sunscreen is a very easy way to protect your skin from the harsh summer rays. It’s also one of the easiest things to forget about, right? When going on an outing with your Little, think to bring some sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 with you if you’ll be spending some time outside. Your Little may or may not complain about having to wear it–“Mom doesn’t make me wear it!“–but they’ll be wishing they had some protection if they come home with a nasty burn.
Emergency Phone Number
The last thing any adult wants to do is accidentally become separated from the child in his/her care. However, sometimes accidents happen, especially in busy public areas. A lot of children have cell phones given to them for emergencies, so make sure that your Little has your phone number programmed into his/her cell phone in case you’re separated.
Your Little doesn’t have a cell phone? Write your number on a piece of paper your Little can keep in a safe pocket. That way, if you are separated, your Little can find someone safe who has a phone that can be used to call you.
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy swimming pools and public lake swimming areas. Before taking your Little to a pool or lake, make sure you have a good assessment of his or her swimming skills. Parents can usually be a good resource for this information, especially for younger Littles who might embellish the facts.
No matter what skill level your Little is at, while you are enjoying the water you should never leave your Little unattended, even if there is a lifeguard on duty. Is is also a good idea to have a conversation with your Little about water safety–never assume your Little knows important water safety habits without making sure first.
Does your Little need to practice his/her swimming skills? We have a convenient partnership with YMCA locations in Knoxville that provide a safe environment for your Little to learn about the water. Check with your Match Support Specialist to find out how to sing up for free and utilize this partnership!
General Safety Conversation
Kids, especially the younger ones, are excited when summer rolls around because there is no school, no homework, and that means playtime all day long, right? A lot of our Littles enjoy playing around their neighborhood with other kids their age, which often means crossing streets and traveling away from the safety of home. Make sure to talk to your Little about important safety topics for public areas:
For example, it is important to use a crosswalk, when available, rather than try to run across the street in between bursts of traffic. Sometimes this means walking a little bit further down the road, but a little extra walking is a lot better than risking being hit by a motor vehicle.
Other topics include not getting in a car with a stranger, only going in homes approved by a parent/guardian, and having a parent’s phone number memorized or written down in case of an emergency.
Summer is a fun time to look forward to for many of our matches, but it’s also important to stay safe while we’re enjoying ourselves! If you have any concerns or questions about the safety of your Little during the summer months, do not hesitate to contact your Match Support Specialist to chat, or call our main office phone number at 865-523-2179.
**Good news, School Based matches! We are continuing our school-based partnership with our Community Schools throughout the summer. This also applies to our Community Based matches that would like to see their Little at their school program this summer! We are primarily working with matches where the Little attends South Knox Elementary and Lonsdale Elementary, but this opportunity is available at other sites if the child attends Christenberry, Green Magnet, or Pond Gap Elementary schools. Please contact your Match Support Specialist before visiting your Little at his/her summer program.
For more information about the Great Schools Partnership, please visit their website at www.GreatSchoolsPartnership.com.