Open letter to parents and guardians re: July – August school vacation

Child Protection Authority

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The 2018 July-August school vacation period is here, and it is our wish at Child Protection Authority (CPA) that the nation’s children can enjoy the next 8 weeks in a safe and secure manner.

The theme of this year’s CPA campaign is “Safety & Security: Your Responsibility”, and through it we are urging all parents, guardians and adult community members to remember to put the well-being and security of children first.

To ensure students have a healthy, harmless and pleasurable vacation, we are providing the following suggestions which you can consider as you carry out your role as protectors;

Create a positive atmosphere at home. A calm and nurturing home environment, where communication is open and respectful, can improve a child’s inner qualities, develop good habits and contribute to their healthy growth and development.

Keep learning alive. There is absolutely no reason why learning should cease because students are on vacation. As parents/guardians you are your child’s first and most important teacher. Take this opportunity to teach them new, positive things. Allow them to engage in mind-stimulating activities such reading, spelling, educational games, craft-making, sports etc. Also, educate them about personal safety, numbers they can call in the case of an emergency and the dangers they face when they play with fire, use drugs and alcohol, get involved in illegal or age inappropriate activities, etc.

Make safety and security a priority. Know your children’s daily activities, habits and whereabouts. Know who their friends are. If you are a working parent, have errands to run or otherwise have to be away, ensure that your children are left in the care of a responsible adult. If older children are left home alone, make it your duty to call in at regular intervals and have a trusted, responsible neighbour check in on them on a regular basis while you are away.

Also, because we are in the Hurricane Season, preparedness must be key for parents. Devise a family emergency plan and share it with your children. Stay informed by tuning into local media outlets for weather updates. Know the hurricane shelters in your area. Pack an emergency bag, should you have to evacuate your home. Stock up on non-perishable food items and drinking water and be ready to act if a warning is issued.

Establish limits. Set boundaries as to places they may go, people they may see and things they may do at home and away from home. Monitor their online activity and explain to them why it is unwise to log on to/browse unhealthy websites or engage in online conversations with strangers. Manage the amount of time spent looking at the television, surfing the net, using electronic gadgets, etc.

Keep them healthy and active. Keep the children active by engaging in regular, physical activities and exercises. Such activities promote healthy growth and development, improve sleep, and help in the achievement and maintenance of a healthy body weight, among other benefits. Equally important is paying attention to hygiene, ensuring that your children drink lots of clean, fresh water and eat healthy meals and snacks.

In closing, we do encourage you, as parents and guardians, to take an active interest in your children. Be the type of parent they can trust and depend on. Use this period to develop a stronger, healthier parent-child bond, and remember their safety and security is your responsibility.

Happy Vacations! We wish you success in every sphere of life.

Child Protection Authority

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