You don’t need to give up going out or sacrificing your social live once you have kids due to worries about what could happen to them if they stayed home alone. You can keep your child safe at home by teaching him or her some simple tricks.
Start by getting them used to staying at home without you and comfortable with being by themselves. Start with short periods of time alone, then stretch them out longer as your child or children get familiar around the house without your supervision.
Talk with your kid about their concerns and worries before leaving them alone. Warn your child about the possible danger of an intruder, but do this calmly, giving realistic answers or ways to avoid an abductor. Don’t spook them, as a scared child will act based on their emotions, not reason.
Place a copy of your cellular phone number, along with numbers belonging to trusted friends, neighbours, relatives and 911 next to your phone. To make sure they know who they’re calling, you can place a picture next to the number. Also jot down your home address and telephone number, just in case these new to be provided by your child to a first responder.
Do some role playing for possible problems and guide your child to surefire solutions. Think about situations such as what if the doorbell rings, or the furnace suddenly shut off, and brainstorm ways to solve those issues.
And there are some basic rules every child should follow and know about.
- The doorbell rings. When your child is all alone inside your home, the best thing is for them is simply to not answer someone at the door, and deliveries should be delayed with a note on the door to come back later.
- Picking up the phone. This is something the child can do, but they should know how to answer questions appropriately. That means never letting the caller know they’re home by themselves, and saying only their parents can’t come to the phone.
- Open doors and broken windows. If a child is coming back to an empty home and they see something suspicious such as broken window or wedged open door, they should absolutely not go in. Instead, they should call you immediately from the safety of a neighbour’s house.
You can also remove hazards around the home that may hurt your child. Move rat and other poisons, sharp tools, prescription medications and dangerous home appliances out of reach.
The number one thing to remember is that your child should have a good sense of how they can get themselves to safety and contact others if there is an incident at the home. Talk to them and go through situations until they have the knowledge and confidence to stay home alone.