Before you let your child stay home alone, you need to properly assess your child's maturity, judgment, and comfort level. Also, ask your child about how he/she feels about staying home alone. In case he/she is worried or afraid, then this may not be the right time. But if they seem to be okay, then you should surely try this, because this experience can foster their sense of independence.
Here are some ground rules which you need to instruct them before you let them be alone in your home.
1. Have a plan for an emergency.
Inspect your home completely to know about any safety risks. Assure that all the smoke detectors are in the right condition and are functioning well. Even though you think it as a common sense, still you need to review the sound of the alarm and also plan about what to do if it goes off. Also educate your child about the smoke alarms, about the sound of smoke alarms and tell him/her to get out of the house and contact you in such cases. Also, educate him or her about emergency numbers and tell them how to approach the emergency professionals in cases of emergency.
2. Ask to always make a call.
Make it a rule that your child calls at least one parent or an elderly and leaves a message, as soon as he/she gets home. This can be the first step to make them accustomed to staying alert and also in touch with you.
3. Guide them about phone calls.
Your child should not answer the call of an unknown person. In case you have a land line with caller ID, then tell them not to answer the phone if they do not recognize the name or the number being displayed on the phone.
4. Ask them not to leave the house.
Your child should not go out of the house unattended unless he/she has cleared it with you first or there is a case of emergency like a fire. Make sure that he/she is aware of the risks of leaving the house alone.
5. Ask them to take the same way home.
Make your child take the same route to and from school every day. If your child travels by a school bus, then make sure that you know the route thoroughly and also that the driver takes the same route every day. You can also coordinate with the concerned school authorities to ensure safe and timely pick and drop of your little one.
6. Keep them busy at home while being alone.
Although they need some downtime to relax and rejuvenate, still your child will be less likely to get into trouble if he is occupied with homework, daily music practice, and routine activities while being alone at home.
7. Practice with the first aid.
Keep a first aid kit handy and continuously review it with your child. Help him/ her to distinguish between a true emergency and a milder one which can be handled easily.
We hope that this list will help you plan your kid's 'home alone' time and keep everyone protected. Call us for more info!