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8 Easy Tips to Starting the School Day Right

A little back-to-school preparation makes for a happier morning routine and a safer commute

A mother and child hold hands while crossing the street safetly

Running a marathon. Scaling El Capitan. Perfecting the macaron. Some mornings, those things all seem easier than getting your kids out the door on time. To make the back-to-school transition a little easier, incorporate the tips below into your morning routine. They’ll make for a smoother start to the day, and most importantly, a safer commute for your children.

1. Plan the route to school

Before the end of summer, spend some time planning your children’s route to school. Do a few trial runs with them, pointing out crosswalks, stop signs, safety hazards and the homes of family friends, in case of an emergency.

2. Use the buddy system

If your kids are too young to walk on their own, have them buddy up with an older sibling or classmate. This will help them get to class safely—and on time.

3. Avoid electronic distractions

Encourage your kids to keep mobile phones and tablets stashed in their backpacks during their commutes. Electronics can be a dangerous distraction for kids on the march.

4. Check that bike helmets still fit

If your children ride a bicycle or scooter to school, make sure they are equipped with a properly fitted helmet. Follow the 2V1 rule: there should be two finger widths between their eyebrow and the bottom of the helmet, the side straps should meet right under the ear, making a V shape, and there should be enough room to fit one finger between their chin and the strap.

5. Teach pedestrian safety essentials

School your children in traffic safety. Remind them to stop at stop signs, obey traffic lights, look both ways before crossing the street, make eye contact with drivers, avoid jaywalking and to stay on the sidewalk.

6. Be ready for any weather

Don’t let cooler temperatures and light rain dissuade your kids from walking or cycling to school. Dress your child appropriately with warm clothing for colder days and in proper rain gear for wet days. And keep them visible with bright and reflective clothing.

7. If you're driving, obey the rules of the road

According to CAA's 2021 study, speeding, illegal parking and stopping in moving traffic are the most common dangerous driving behaviours seen in school zones.

Remember, when you’re behind the wheel you have a responsibility to look out for everyone else’s children. That means follow the speed limit, especially when in school zones, obey all traffic signs and stop for stopped school buses with their lights flashing and stop arm extended. When it comes to drop off or pick up time, avoid double parking and stopping on the opposite side of the street, requiring children to cross through traffic.

8. Finally, be prepared

Prep your child's lunch the night before and ensure their backpacks, textbooks, coats, boots or anything else they may need for the school day are ready to go in a designated area. This will leave enough time for a healthy breakfast and prevent rushing in the morning.

Keep reading

Learn about CAA’s School Safety Patrol program and the amazing things they do. Plus, click here for more school zone safety tips.

Image credit: Cavan/Getty Images