When I was doing my childminding training course I remember one day imagining what it would be like to be a school run childminder. In my head it looked rather like this picture: all of the children securely roped together in a big long chain, ideally with large flashing lights on their heads so cars could spot them easily. How else would I possibly keep them alive all the way home?
Of course somehow childminders across the country manage to get far more children than this safely to their homes every day without ropes or traffic cones of any sort! I asked you to send in your road safety tips – thanks to everyone who responded especially Fiona Crisp and Kate Fuller. Here is what you said:
- We walk in twos directly behind each other (younger ones holding hands). The most sensible pair are either the last pair or I get them to be the leaders. Challenging children hold my hands or, if I’m pushing a buggy, are the first ‘two’ behind me.
- When I cross a road I see the children across like a lollipop lady, with me between the children and stopped cars.
- I always pair them up with the oldest and younger walkers holding hands together. The very youngest sit in the pushchair or hold my hand.
- When we get out of the car, or are waiting to get into it, or I need them to stand still for a moment by the side of the road, I’ve taught them to “hold the wall” or fence, or the side of my car, if nothing else is available. If they’re touching the wall, they’re not running about.
- Always, always draw attention to the child who is walking well and praise them. I can still remember the teacher who commented on how nicely I was walking across the playground when I was 6 years old. I made sure I always walked nicely across the playground after that 🙂 Positive praise is a very strong incentive.
- Ignore anyone who makes negative comments about reins. They are quite literally a lifesaver. Use them if you have an unpredictable child or a bolter.
- Children under 8 have difficulty in judging the speed a car is travelling. Don’t let them cross the road unsupervised.
- You should always carry toys. Don’t let children carry them. The roadside is not the place for playing and children may chase dropped toys (especially balls) out into the road without thinking.
- I use a ‘stopping places’ method – corners of roads, sign posts or trees. This way if children are running ahead I know they will be stopping at certain places. This is practiced with little ones (at quiet times not on the actual school run!!). Anyone who can’t ‘stop’ has to walk next to me until they can. We also practice stopping immediately if I shout ‘Stop’.
Would you like some ideas on how to promote road safety in your childminding setting?
For more information on teaching safety and health topics to childminded children check out my Be Safe Be Healthy Pack with practical activities, craft projects and colouring pages. Also you can sign up for free for my quarterly Childminding Best Practice Newsletter using the orange sign up box on my website for lots more tips, quizzes and safety news affecting childminders.