Kids home alone
Working parents, especially in urban areas, do leave their children alone at home, while they work, shop, handle unexpected emergencies, travel out of the city for work, attend parties, or for other tasks that may come up.
· Can they follow rules and instructions well?
· Can they be trusted to go straight home after school or after playing at a neighbor's house?
· Can they easily use the mobile phones and telephones, internet, television, locks, safety devices, alarms, and kitchen appliances?
· Can they handle unexpected situations without panicking?
· Can they stay home alone without being afraid?
· Can they say their full name, address, and telephone number?
Set standard operating procedures, SOPs, and practice till they are comfortable and confident os staying home alone.
Here are a few tips to secure your children while you are away.
1. Stay in touch. Call children many times in the day to ask how they are, what they are doing, how the pets are, what is going on, to report anything unusual.
2. Suppose children leave the house to play, for tuitions, visit the shop to buy anything, or to visit friends, ask them to call you before they leave the house and to call you again when they return to confirm they are back and are okay.
3. Ask children about visitors and how the interaction went. Instruct children not to open the doors to visitors, especially unknown and unexpected ones.
4. Keep kids connected. Post important numbers in an easy to access place, such as parent's work and cell phone, the doctor's office, neighbors, helplines, friends, or a nearby relative who can help children quickly if they need it.
5. Practice what to do in an emergency. Have mock drills. Teach children how to dial helplines and when to do it. Ask questions like "If someone is trying to get in the house, what should you do?" "If you get hurt, what should you do?" and "If you want to play at a friend's house, what should you do?"
6. Set firm rules. Make clear what children are allowed to do and what they aren't allowed to do. Can they use the Internet when home alone? Can they invite a friend over? Can they invite several friends over? What kind of party can they have when parents are away?