Safeguard-Me Blog

Keeping Your Kids Safe: A Guide to Safeguarding in Out of School Activities

Children sitting in a line with their backs against a blue wall reading with their eyes peering over their books
Every parent wants their child to feel safe and secure. Busy schedules are the norm these days, and extracurricular activities are a fantastic way for children to explore their interests, develop new skills, and socialise with peers. However, entrusting your child to someone else's care can raise concerns. Here's a guide to safeguarding your child in clubs and activities outside of home:

Do Your Research:

  • Reputable Organisations: Choose clubs or activities affiliated with national governing bodies that have clear safeguarding policies in place. Look for logos or accreditation on their websites or promotional materials.
  • Ask Questions: Don't hesitate to inquire about the club's safeguarding procedures. How do they vet staff and volunteers? What steps do they take in case of an incident?
  • Read the Fine Print: Review the club's registration forms and policies carefully. Pay close attention to their approach to communication, supervision ratios, and emergency protocols.

Open Communication is Key:

  • Talk to Your Child: Discuss your expectations and any concerns you may have before enrolling them in an activity. Encourage them to tell you about their experiences, good or bad.
  • Meet the Staff: Introduce yourself to the coaches, instructors, or leaders of the club. Observe their interaction with children and feel free to ask questions about their experience and qualifications.
  • Stay Informed: Communicate regularly with the club leaders. Ask for updates on your child's progress and inquire about any upcoming events or changes in procedures.

Empowering Your Child:

  • The "Safe Touch" Rule: Revisit the concept of body safety and empower your child to speak up if they feel uncomfortable with any physical contact during activities.
  • Knowing Who's Who: Ensure your child knows the names and contact information of the club leaders and how to reach you in case of an emergency.
  • Buddy System: Encourage your child to find a buddy they feel safe with at the club. This fosters a sense of security and allows them to look out for each other.

Trust Your Gut:
  • Observe Interactions: Occasionally pick your child up unannounced and observe how staff interact with children. Does the environment feel safe and welcoming?
  • Notice Behavioural Changes: Pay attention to any changes in your child's behaviour or mood after attending club activities. If anything seems off, talk to them and investigate further.
  • Speak Up: Don't be afraid to voice concerns if you suspect something isn't right. Most clubs have clear procedures for addressing safeguarding issues.

Reliable Resources:

Here are some resources to learn more about safeguarding:

  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) (https://www.nspcc.org.uk/): Provides a wealth of information and support for parents on child safety.
  • Childline (https://www.childline.org.uk/): A confidential helpline for children in the UK to seek help and advice.

By prioritising open communication, empowering your child, building a support network, and utilising available resources, you can create a safe and nurturing environment for your children to grow.

Remember: Extracurricular activities offer a wealth of benefits for children. By choosing reputable organisations, staying informed, and fostering open communication with your child and the club leaders, you can ensure a safe and enriching experience that allows your child to blossom outside of home.