| Home Alone: A Parent's Guide -|
For many parents, it’s an everyday concern. The anxiety of having a child home alone for a couple hours without anyone else is a common everyday occurrence for most working parents. By using the following safeguards, you can help to ease some of this worry and take measures to protect your kids even when you’re not around.
Ask the question: Are they ready?
· Do you trust your children to go home straight after school?
· Are they capable of properly using the telephone, kitchen appliances, and locks?
· Do you have rules and instructions that they follow well?
· Are they capable of handling unexpected situations without panicking?
· Do they feel safe and comfortable being home alone?
What can I do?
· Make sure you feel your children are mature enough to handle the many responsibilities of being home alone.
· Make sure you teach them the rules and responsibilities.
· Always know the three “W’s”: Where they are, Who they’re with, and What they’re doing.
· Think about what you don’t want your children to get into. Teach them the consequences of guns, power tools, drugs, medicines, alcohol, cleaning products, and inhalants. Make sure these kinds of things are locked away in a safe place, out of sight.
Teach your children:
· To check in with you or a trusted neighbor as soon as they walk in the door
· How to dial 9-1-1, call the operator, or call your area’s emergency number
· How to give directions to your home in case of emergency
· How to properly use the locks on doors and windows, and the alarm system, if you have one.
· To never let anyone into your home without your permission. Teach them what a “stranger” is and not to accept anything from people they don’t know.
· To never let any caller or person at the door know that they are home alone. Teach them to say, “Mom isn’t able to come to the phone right now.”
· To carry a key with them, and to keep it in a safe place like in their sock, or shirt pocket. Do not leave it under the door mat, or anywhere outside.
· Fire escape route
· Not to go into the empty home if it does not look right (i.e. ripped screen, broken window, opened door)
· To trust their instinct and to let you know about anything that makes them frightened or uncomfortable.