One of the hardest parts of parenting is knowing when your child is growing up. Certain rights of passage, such as staying home alone or hanging out with friends alone, can be hard for parents to know when to allow.
While there is no approximate timetable, and each child is different, here are some basic tips to keeping your child or children safe when they are home alone:
1. Home Security System
One of the best ways to ensure your child will be safe home alone is to install a home security system. It not only protects your children from potential danger, with new technology advances, parents can keep an eye on the house from their smartphone. While you are away from the home, apps from Rocky Mount security systems and other similar ones can alert you via email or text message if something changes in the security system, such as the alarm being triggered or turned off. Plus, new home security systems come with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, offering even more security to your home.
2. Phone Rule
When leaving your kids home alone, set up a rule where they must be near the home phone or their personal cell phone at all times. Set times where you will call or text them to check-in and make sure everything is fine.
While it can be tempting to call them persistently to check-in, trust that they are being responsible. Most children are likely to be responsible if they know their parents trust them.
Also, before you leave, make sure they know where the emergency contact numbers are and who to call in case of an emergency. If they are babysitting younger siblings, be sure to show them numbers for poison control and other numbers of the like.
If you have an older child who is capable of looking after their younger siblings, ask them to look after their younger siblings before going out. Even though it is usually implied that they will look after their siblings, they will appreciate that you are asking them and not expecting them to do it.
4. Trial Period
Before leaving your children home for an extended period of time, do a trial run. Even though kids who are growing into their independence look forward to being home alone, it can be scary for them, especially if left alone at night. Doing a trial run helps both you and your child, for they can gradually get used to taking care of themselves while you get used to the idea of them being home alone.
5. Talk and Trust
Talk to your children about why you’re concerned with them being home alone. For most parents, it isn’t that they distrust their child, it’s that they are worried about their child’s safety. However, many children mistake that worry as distrust. Before going out, communicate with your children that you do trust them to be responsible, but your reason for calling and checking-in on them is because you are worried about their safety.
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