When the clocks change to mark the end of British Summertime, the nights start to draw in and kids can find themselves walking home from school or afternoon activities at dusk.

Because children don’t have the same sense of time or judgement they often hang around, chat with mates and only realise they should be near home when it’s getting dark. This can leave them anxious, vulnerable, and disorientated which cause them to make misjudgments, not to mention make you feel on edge until they come through the door.

It’s reported that minor road traffic incidents involving kids increase just after the clocks change. Children are less able to judge speed and distance during dusk and quickening darkness.

It’s also a time that sees an increase in bullying incidents too.

Here’s how to help your child keep safe during the darker months…

  1. Help them become more aware of their surroundings. Point out landmarks, safe routes and encourage them to always look and listen so they can make appropriate and safe decisions
  2. When picking them up from afternoon activities, get them to always stand in a well-lit or busy area.
  3. Do they T-walk? In other words do they text and walk at the same time? ‘Distraction Disorientation’ is the quickest way for a situation to happen. Headphones, mobiles and other distractions all create a false reality of being transported elsewhere that consumes their attention
  4. Be aware of any abnormalities with your child’s bag, clothing or other school items that could indicate a situation of intimidation or bullying
  5. Encourage your child to be open with you about anything that happens outside school. Often kids blame themselves for others behaviour so feeling like they can talk to you helps to catch situations early

By Annette Du Bois