Empowering Your Kids with Self-Defense Skills for a Safe Return to School
As children head back to school, it’s essential to equip them with valuable life skills, including self-defense. While the primary focus of education is academic development, teaching children how to protect themselves in potentially dangerous situations can boost their confidence and enhance their overall safety. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of self-defense education and provide guidance on what to teach your kids to help them navigate their school environment safely. We compiled some of the best quick expert advice to guide you on what to teach your kids.
Awareness and Confidence:
Encourage your children to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Teach them to trust their instincts and recognize potential threats or uncomfortable situations. Instill confidence in them to assert themselves when they feel uneasy and encourage open communication about their feelings.
Citation: RAINN – “Safety Tips for Kids” (https://www.rainn.org/articles/safety-tips-kids)
Teach your kids how to use their words effectively in challenging situations. Role-play scenarios with them to practice assertive communication, setting boundaries, and saying “no” when they feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Being able to express themselves confidently can help de-escalate conflicts and discourage potential aggressors.
Citation: Psychology Today – “Verbal Self-Defense: 6 Tips for Standing Up to Bullies” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201812/verbal-self-defense-6-tips-standing-bullies)
Identifying Safe Spaces:
Guide your children in identifying safe places within their school premises, such as the main office, nurse’s station, or trusted teacher’s classroom. Knowing where to go in case of an emergency can provide a sense of security and help them take prompt action if needed.
Citation: National Center for Safe Routes to School – “Creating Safe Routes to School” (https://saferoutesinfo.org/program-tools/safety-tips/safe-places)
Physical Self-Defense Techniques:
Enroll your children in age-appropriate self-defense classes or workshops that teach practical physical techniques. These may include basic strikes, blocks, escapes, and ways to break free from holds. Emphasize that self-defense techniques are for protection and should only be used as a last resort when all other options have failed. KinderGard prefers Krav Maga for kids, because it’s emphasis is on practical street fighting and defense instead of theatrical performance Karate where you pay to get your child belts. If you’re going to teach them to defend themselves, give them real skills.
Citation: Child Mind Institute – “Self-Defense for Kids: Is It a Good Idea?” (https://childmind.org/article/self-defense-for-kids-is-it-a-good-idea/)
Discuss the concept of bullying with your children and emphasize the importance of kindness, empathy, and respect for others. Teach them to stand up for themselves and their peers when witnessing bullying behavior. Encourage reporting any bullying incidents to teachers or school administrators. Follow up with the schools and require the schools to intervene using their own policies as your demand.
Citation: StopBullying.gov – “What You Can Do” (https://www.stopbullying.gov/what-you-can-do)
Escape and Evasion:
Teach your children basic escape and evasion techniques for potentially dangerous situations. For instance, they should know how to free themselves from a grab or how to create distance from an aggressor to seek help. Kids need to understand active shooter drills. The world they live in is different than the world we grew up in.
Citation: Boys and Girls Clubs of America – “Personal Safety” (https://www.bgca.org/programs/personal-safety)
Equipping your children with self-defense skills can significantly contribute to their overall safety and well-being as they head back to school. By fostering awareness, building confidence, and teaching practical techniques, you empower them to navigate potential risks with greater resilience. Remember that self-defense education should be part of a broader approach that includes communication, emotional support, and building strong, trusting relationships with your children. By doing so, you help them develop the tools they need to face the world with confidence and self-assurance.
If you look back at some of the tragedies over the last decade, it is our belief here at KinderGard that some of the victims may still be alive today if they were better equipped in emergency situation awareness with proactive training and a game plan for what to do in various scenarios. Give them what they need to at least increase the odds.
(c) KinderGard.com, 2023. Reprints with attribution are approved.