Safe After School Routines
As working becomes a bigger part of achieving family dreams, kids may spend more time home alone. Not to worry—with a little structure and some parental guidance, after-school time can be productive and safe.
Establishing Safety Rules Sets Expectations
Keeping your worries under wraps will keep your kids from being afraid. Staying positive can make their being home alone a privilege. Many states have no age limit for when kids can be left unsupervised, yet the National SAFEKIDS Campaign believes 12 to be the minimum age.
Hiding Temptation Can Eliminate It
Locking up medications, poisons, firearms and alcohol is a no-brainer. Having parental controls on the TV and Internet can also keep wandering minds from getting into places that may be harmful. Staying home alone might be just the opening you need for much larger discussions on Internet usage.
Practicing the Subtleties of Safety
Dialing 911 seems intuitive, but it may not be to your child. Knowing how doors lock and unlock, what to do when various alarms sound and even knowing how to work a fire extinguisher can prove invaluable.
Equally important is giving them a script of what to say to strangers. Instead of “Mom and Dad aren’t home right now,” maybe have them say, “My parents are busy. May I tell them who called?” This wouldn’t indicate that there are no adults in the house. Posting emergency phone numbers with a chore list can also keep them feeling confident and productive.
Giving Kids the Digits
Teaching your kids your telephone number and the house address is crucial. In these days of mobile phones and GPS, kids haven’t had to memorize numbers like we did 20 years ago. If they had to use someone else’s phone, would they be able to dial you?