School is out! And for many parents, that means leaving their kids home alone – and a whole lot of worrying.
There’s plenty of ways to lessen your concerns however (maybe not completely), by taking the necessary steps to ensure that you and your children have a safe, wonderful summer. Here are a few tips:
- Determine if your child is ready to stay home alone. When considering whether or not your child is ready to stay home alone, consider a number of factors, including their age, maturity level and the overall safety of your neighborhood.
- Prep your child beforehand by leaving them alone for short periods of time. If this is the first time your child will be home alone, test how they feel when left alone for 30 minutes, an hour or two hours.
- Reinforce safety rules. Remind kids that just because they’re home alone, doesn’t mean they can run around doing whatever they want.
- Inspect your home before leaving. Make sure doors and windows are securely locked, and that your security devices are all working properly.
- Develop an emergency plan. Prepare an outline of what to do if your child ever encounters an emergency situation. Leave a list of emergency contacts and emergency supplies.
- Schedule check-in times. Set up a time period where either you call your kids or they call you.
- Avoid broadcasting that your child is home alone. Worrisome parents should not ask questions or voice their concerns about their child being home alone on social media or to co-workers. Let a trusted neighbor or family member know so they can check in if necessary.
- Remind your child that they should not share that they’re home alone. It can be exciting for a kid to be home alone, but stress the importance of keeping that information to themselves.
- The door should never be opened for anyone. It’s okay to answer the door, but there’s no need to open it for any strangers. Have your child ask for packages to be left on the doorstep, and for strangers to return at a later time if they need to.
Leaving your kids home alone can be stressful, but it’s also an opportunity for them to learn the importance of being responsible and safe. Enjoy your summer!