DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU'RE HOME ALONE?
PARENTS PREPARE YOUR CHILD TO BE HOME ALONE!
One of the realities of today's society is the pressure for children to stay home alone for a short time after school until a parent returns from work.
School age children need to be supervised by a responsible adult. If you can't be there in person when your child gets home from school, find a way to give him or her, the feeling of being supervised:
- Set firm rules, with clear do's and don'ts.
- Prepare your child to deal with situations that may arise.
- Specify how his or her time is to be spent.
- Keep in touch - if you're hard to reach, get a mobile phone or pager.
- Limit the time you leave your child at home alone.
Parents should not consider letting a child stay at home alone before age 10 - and then only if the child is mature enough, only for an hour or two at most, and only if there's a responsible adult nearby to help out if needed.
Short test runs may help you assess whether your child is ready to stay home alone. Go out for just a few minutes. When you return, talk to your child about the experience. Increase the amount of time you are out, leaving specific instructions to follow. After a few trials answer these questions:
- Does the child feel comfortable about being on his or her own?
- Do you feel comfortable about the child being at home alone?
- Can the child follow rules responsibly?
- Does he/she understand and remember instructions, whether written or oral?
- Does the child find constructive things to do without getting into mischief?
- Can the child handle normal and unexpected situations?
- Are you able to communicate readily with him or her when you are not at home?
- Can the child always reach someone to help in case of emergency?
Prepare children for the responsibilities of self care, focus on how to prevent problems, handling real-life situations, and keep safely and constructively occupied.
Here are a few helpful tips:
When you get home;
- Call a parent as soon as you get in to say you're home.
- Eat a healthy snack.
- Look at your list of things to do.
When you get a telephone call;
- Never tell anyone you are home alone, even if your parents will be right back.
- Always say your parents are busy and can't come to the phone right now. This is not a lie.
- Never give a stranger, information over the phone. Tell them you will take a message and have your parents call them back when they are free.
- You should always answer the phone because it may be your parents calling to see that everything is all right.
When someone comes to the door;
- Do not open the door to anyone if you're alone.
- If someone tries to force their way inside, call the police using 911.
- Always keep the door locked even when you are not alone.
- If it is a stranger, let your parents or babysitter answer the door.