4 Important Safety Measures To Take If Your Kids Are Home Alone
Is your child getting to the age where he or she may need to spend some time alone at home? We all know how costly daycare programs can be. By the time our children get to be about nine or ten years old, we often start considering ways to give them some more grown-up responsibilities. We’re talking about taking a solo walk home from school and waiting anywhere between a half an hour to a couple of hours before Mom and/or Dad come home.
Obviously, when faced with such circumstances, families need to strictly adhere to the “safety first” rule. If your child is preparing to stay home alone for any duration of time, it’s vital to practice some important safety measures. Here are four:
1. Devise an emergency plan.
While we never want one to occur, it’s wise to prepare your child for emergency situations. Post an easy-to-access emergency phone list. In addition to 911, the list should have work and cell phone numbers for parents as well as numbers for neighbours and trusted friends. Also, communicate an emergency plan so that the child is aware of what to do in the event of a fire, injury or other dilemma.
Scholastic recommends inspecting your home for safety risks before your child is left alone in it. “Make sure that all of the smoke detectors are functioning properly,” the website also advises, “Review the emergency exits by drawing a map that outlines the best pathways to safety from each room in the house.”
2. Have a practice run.
The popular phrase “practice makes perfect” has never been more important. Give your child the opportunity to test his or her abilities to be home alone. Consider taking a quick trip to the grocery store while your youngster remains in the home. Keep your cell phone with you, of course, but resist the urge to be on the phone with your child during your time away.
“Let your child stay home alone for 30 minutes to an hour while you remain nearby and easily reachable,” suggests KidsHealth.org, “When you return, talk about how it went and things that you might want to change or skills that your child might need to learn for the next time.”
3. Set up a check-in schedule.
It’s important for your child to keep the news about being home alone private. He or she should refrain from contacting friends on the phone or online. It is especially vital that kids never share information about their locations on the internet. Also, be sure to have your child check in with you at a designated time.
“You might have your child call right away after school, or set up a time when you’ll call home to check in,” instructs KidsHealth, “Make sure your child understands when you’re available and when you might not be able to answer a call.”
4. Enrol your child in a home alone safety course.
The team at SOS 4 Kids is proud to offer children aged 9 to 12 our Home Alone Safety For Kids course. This fun and engaging program prepares kids for their first steps towards independence. Available in both in-person and virtual classes, the course covers such aspects as street smarts and bike safety; how to detect “tricky people”; internet safety; snacking and kitchen safety; home fire safety; basic first aid skills and more!