Once your children are old enough to stay home alone, it can be both exciting and stressful for you as their parent. While it will give you the ability to have a bit more freedom without having to worry about hiring a babysitter every time you need to go out, you do want to make sure that they are actually able to take care of themselves for a little while. There are some simple things that you can do to keep your kids safe when they stay home alone.
Make Sure They Have a Way to Communicate With You
If you are going to leave your kids home alone, you do need to make sure that they can get a hold of you if there’s an emergency. Most homes these days do not have landline phones anymore. You may want to consider getting a home phone or getting your child their own cell phone. It’s a good idea to add a few contacts to it that they can call if they aren’t able to reach you. For example, in addition to you and your spouse, you might add phone numbers for family members who live in the area, neighbors who can reach your home quickly, or family friends who can be relied on to help.
Set Rules With Them
Before leaving your kids home alone, you need to talk to them about what they are allowed to do and what things are a safety issue. Discuss things like whether or not they should answer the door if someone they know knocks on it, which devices they are allowed to use to cook with, and whether or not they need to do things like chores or homework when you are gone. By making these rules clear from the beginning, you can lessen frustration later.
Ask a Neighbor to Watch Out for Them
It never hurts to have an individual that you trust watch out for your children when you are gone. If you have a neighbor that you trust, ask them if they can watch out for your children when they are home alone. While they don’t have to stay with your children, they can keep an eye or an ear out, just in case. Have them call you if they notice anything that you may find troubling.
Get a Security System
Many parents find that getting a security system gives them a lot of piece-of-mind when they start leaving their kids home alone. Fortunately, there are all sorts of systems available, and you should be able to easily find one that fits your budget and your needs. Teach your child how to use the security system so that they can disarm it in case of false alarms. You can also add smart home cameras or doorbells so that you can see who is coming and going while you’re out.
Leaving your children home alone can teach them about responsibility and independence. It can also give you a little more freedom. In order to alleviate the stress that many parents feel when they leave their children at home for the first time, there are some things that they can do that will ensure that their children remain safe when they are gone.
By Anita Ginsburg