It is difficult to ensure safety for young children when there are two working parents in a household. Some parents find support through peer groups. They can share their problems, vent frustrations, and learn to better communicate with their children.

Parents benefit from being able to communicate with their peers and experts about their concerns and frustrations. Many companies recognize that parent focus groups can be beneficial for their employees. Corporate Child Care Services at Roche in New Jersey, for example, has developed a program that supports working parents.

Parents meet monthly to share their personal insights. This program was started in 1999 to help parents whose children were enrolled in Roche’s Corporate Child Care Center. The program was expanded to include all employees in 2002 because of popular demand.

“The most important thing for us is to know that we are contributing to family stability,”Dianne Keel – Atkins, director at Roche Corporate Child Care and co-founder of the Parent Focus Group program. “That means not only helping the children become productive, but also helping their parents succeed at balancing work and family life.”

Over a lunch box, parents can discuss and give guidance on a range of topics including school readiness and diversity appreciation. The Parent Focus Group recently hosted the Nutley Fire Department and the New Jersey Police Department for discussions about the importance of stranger awareness. Parents were provided with valuable tips and tricks on how to improve their children’s safety awareness by the speakers, such as:

1) Communication: Discuss your family’s safety plans with your children.

2) Who’s who?2) Who’s Who? “strangers”They are often strangers. If you aren’t there, tell your children who they can leave behind.

3) What’s your Magic Word?If you are unable, set up a secret code word or password with your child.

4) Fire Alarm: Get your child to scream “Fire!”If someone puts them in danger. Screaming “Fire!”is generally taken more seriously than “Help!”Particularly if it comes from a child.

5) Be aware and alert to your environment: Show your children how to be aware of what is happening around them. They should keep the volume on their iPod at a moderate level to be able to hear approaching cars or people.