Home Alone: 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Stay Safe at Home
By Dixie Somers
As your children get closer to the teen years, you may be considering leaving your kids home without adult supervision.
This decision is quite a milestone, and you may worry about your child’s readiness for this step. Of course, the safety of the child is the highest concern, but you may also would love to stop paying for babysitting services or after school care.
Being able to stay home alone helps kids feel more grown up and independent. This privilege can also help children become more confident in autonomously handling unexpected situations that may arise. To prepare your kids for staying home alone, you can do several things to help your children know what to expect and how to handle themselves safely.
1. Give strict guidelines for this privilege
You should give your kids precise guidelines for what they should do when staying home alone. You should consider the following questions, and give your child detailed instructions about what is allowed when you are not home.
Is the child permitted to play outside?
If so, where is the child permitted to play?
Is it okay for neighborhood children to be in the house when you are not home?
Can the child use the stove or oven without adult supervision?
Whom should the child call in case of emergency if you are unable to answer the phone?
2. Install an alarm system
You may choose to install an alarm system when your children begin staying home alone. A security system can help both parents and children feel more secure, and when your child punches in a code upon entering or leaving the house, you can monitor when they come in and when they leave. The peace of mind provided by an alarm system with automation for your home is worth the expense.
3. Role play with the kids
You can prepare your children for staying home alone by role-playing and giving your children live demonstrations of unanticipated situations. Doing this will help your kids think about what to say or do if something unexpected occurs.
4. Check in regularly
With cell phones becoming so common and inexpensive nowadays, there is no reason that you should wonder if your children made it home safely from school. Having designated check-in times will allow you to keep abreast of what your kids are doing.
5. Have a list of things to do
If staying home alone is a regular thing, you should provide children with a list of things that the kids can do if they get bored. This list may include chores as well as some fun things that they may like to do to stay busy. Many children get into trouble if they are bored, so providing them with a list will help them stay safe.
Allowing children to stay home alone helps kids learn responsibility, but you need not worry the whole time that you are away from home. When a child is properly prepared for this step and mature enough to understand the risks, staying home alone can benefit both you and your kids.
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