With the school year starting back up, your kids may be returning home from school before you have finished working. Once children reach a certain age or level of maturity, it is normal for them to return home to an empty house. As a parent, it’s natural for you to worry about your kids staying home alone.
Luckily, there are ways to ensure your children are ready to be at home by themselves. Below are some tips on how to prepare your children for being home alone.
Rather than throwing your child into long afternoons home alone, begin with short periods of time alone in the house. Let them stay home while you run a quick errand before letting them stay home alone for a whole afternoon. This will act as a sort of test-drive to let you know if they’re ready.
Create a Daily Routine
Once you’re comfortable with your kids staying home alone, it’s important they follow a schedule. They should take the same route home from school everyday, whether they are walking, riding the bus or carpooling. You want to make sure your child knows exactly how to get home.
Once they are home, they should settle into a routine to follow everyday. This may include locking the doors, resetting the security system and settling into their afternoon tasks like homework or chores.
Create an Emergency Plan
Before leaving your child at home by themselves for the first time, explain to them what to do in case of an emergency. Emergencies to prepare for include a fire, an approaching stranger, an injury or a severe weather storm.
Create Rules for the Phone
Whether your child has a personal phone or a house phone, set rules for when and when not to answer the phone. Explain the use of caller ID and keep a list of emergency phone numbers readily available. Remind them never to let anyone on the phone know they are home alone.
Explain Stranger Danger
Teach your children the importance of not speaking to strangers on the way home from school and to never open the door to strangers at home. Remind them to always check to see who is at the door before opening it.
Show your children exactly where your first-aid kit is and what to use in case of various scenarios.
Staying home alone comes with risks. That’s why it’s important to make sure your children are fully prepared, and following these tips will ensure their safety. As your kids become accustomed to staying home they will become more responsible and trustworthy.
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