Today’s kids spend a lot of time home alone. If you’re a working parent, make sure your children know how to handle any situation that may arise during the day, either in the home or on their way to and from school. Cell phones can help you keep track of where your kids are and what they are doing, but they are not a substitute for teaching them the basics of personal safety and home security.
Regardless of their ages or how “grown up” they seem, it’s important that your children are comfortable being home alone. Children who are fearful may panic in a real or imagined emergency situation. Discuss their fears and answer their questions, then determine whether they are able and ready to take on the responsibilities of being alone.
You can help reduce your stress level by teaching your kids the basics of home safety and security. You’ll feel less fearful and your children will develop practical skills and self-reliance. Here are some helpful tips to get you started. Use at your own digression.
- Teach your children how to use the home security system so they are comfortable using it when they are in the house as well as when entering and leaving
- Give them a key to keep with them, not “hidden” somewhere outside the house
- Establish home safety rules including having friends over, homework, household chores and computer and TV use
- Instruct kids in the proper use of telephones and appliances, such as the microwave for their after-school snacks
- Be sure they know how to give directions to the house in the event of an emergency and keep important phone numbers handy by each phone
- Be sure they know how to escape the house in case of a fire (you do have an escape plan, don’t you?)
- Be sure they know how to secure all doors and windows
- Tell them to never let anyone into the home without explicit approval from you
- Tell them to never let a caller or someone at the door know they are alone
- Tell them to never accept rides to or from home from anyone they don’t know very well and who has been pre-approved by you
- Tell them to never go into the house if something looks wrong such as an open door, broken window or strange car in the driveway
- Make sure they know a neighbor who is ready to provide a safe haven
Finally, if you keep weapons in the house, secure them out of reach, use trigger locks, and always keep ammunition in a separate locked location. Home security starts with you