Being a working parent means you can’t always be at home with your kids. You have to maintain a nine-to-five job, or some variety of hours, which gives you less time to spend it with your children. In fact, you have probably faced numerous situations where you have no other choice but to leave your kid home alone. Even if they are older and responsible, it scares you.
What if something terrible happens? Will they open the door to some stranger? What will they eat? Do they know how to protect themselves if a fire breaks out? Being a parent, you have so many questions in your mind. Even the thought of letting your kid stay alone seems frightening, but the time has finally come that it has to happen. Luckily, you can discuss a variety of scenarios with your children, and follow these other helpful tips to ensure they are a safe as possible while home alone.
Safety Tips from the Red Cross for Kids
Depending on the kid’s age, the rules are likely to differ. But, it is always mandatory to keep an older brother or sister at guard if you have a kid who is quite small. You can’t just leave them all alone in a big house. Red Cross states that you must post one emergency contact list for the child and train them to use it when the need arises. Make sure to practice some of the emergency plans with your little ones beforehand as you don’t want any trouble. If you have some dangerous items lying around the house like power tools or guns, try to keep them out of your kid’s reach, and safely store them in areas that are hard for your kids to reach.
Remember to keep the medicine out of your child’s reach. The last thing you want is a fatal accident due to unwanted pill intake. Before leaving the house, don’t forget to check the smoke alarms to see if those are working or not. You need an active one for sure. Furthermore, you might have to install some of the safety covers on some unused electrical outlets. Make sure to inform your neighbors that your kids are at home and all alone. That surely will help them to keep a check on them from time to time.
Remember that older kids are the ones with hot blood, and they feel the most independent when they don’t have parents around. They have this feeling that they can do anything without parents supervising them. You must let them know that they can’t just do anything around just because they are on their own. Be sure to place some ground rules for older children regarding food and drinks, friends coming over, and cooking, to name a few. Being a parent, you know what your kids can do when left alone. Keep those points in mind before setting the ground rules.
If you have already agreed to his idea of inviting friends over when you are gone for work, make sure to have a strict conversation beforehand. For example, friends should inform their parents that they are coming over and spending the night or a few hours. The friends’ parents should have your number and the cell or landline number as well, to keep track of the children. You should do the same as well. If you have cooked food for them to enjoy, then okay, and if not, be sure to check what they are ordering. You can’t just boldly permit your son to buy unhealthy pizza and litter the place afterward. Lure them of a reward once you get back if they follow the rules strictly. That will attract them to do so, and prevent you from a big headache after heading back home.
Before you leave the house with your kid alone to stay, make sure to inspect the place thoroughly for some of the safety risks. If the smoke detectors are not functioning correctly, then you are up for big trouble. Even if you think it does, make sure to check it once before setting your foot outside the house. Don’t forget to review the alarm’s sound with your child and what to do if that goes off. Training them beforehand will prepare them hard and well.
If the alarm goes off, the child must run out of the house immediately and give 911 a call from the neighbor’s place. Make sure to inform your neighbors that your kid is alone at home so that they will welcome them no matter what if she or he keeps knocking at their door. Always be sure to review the emergency exits by drawing that map, which otherwise outlines the best pathways for safety, reaching out to every room within your place. Always post some relevant numbers on a piece of paper for your kid to call when any such need arises. Those numbers will be of you, close neighbor, 911, and your work numbers.
If your kid is at school and will reach the house when you are not there, train your child to give you a call or any adult you have designated, once he arrives home safely. It is for your mental peace so that you can concentrate on work well later and don’t have to worry about the child’s safety. If he can’t get to call you because of a line issue, train them to leave you a message of your safe reach. This will be the very first step in your daily routine that will include a snack, homework, and some downtime.
Moreover, your child must not answer phones for anyone. So, be sure to create some guidelines for that. In case you have a landline with caller ID, ask your child not to answer the phone if the number seems unfamiliar to the knowledge. If you don’t have the caller ID, you must train them not to pick up any phone and get it to the voicemail. If you have an older child with a cell phone, be sure to work on the same guidelines as well. Misusing cell phones is the biggest concern of parents these days, so strict ground rules from the beginning is a must.
Not Leaving the House or Taking the Same Way Back Home
Unless it has been discussed with you beforehand and thoroughly, your child must not leave the house unattended. If there are some emergencies like a fire mishap, then he or she is allowed to leave the place and run to the neighbor. But before that, he or she should not just leave the house without informing you of the situation. You must be aware that your kids know the risks of leaving any house unattended. Once they get to realize the severity of it, they will think twice before taking such an action. Kids these days are way brighter and smarter than before, so they can understand the risks involved with such a step and will never do that.
Make sure to have him or her take the same extra route to and from school daily. If the school is walking distance from your place, get with her once, and review every street that she knows and will be using too. On the other hand, if she takes school buses, be very sure that she does it daily, even if anyone offers her a ride, like a friend or a neighbor. If you know her routes well, it becomes easier for you to predict the amount of time it will take her to reach home. You can even track the steps down if you need to.
Your child indeed needs to be of a certain age before you can leave him or her alone. A 15-year-old can stay alone at home than a five-year-old, and it’s quite apparent! But, what can you say about those school-going kids in the middle? It becomes difficult for the parents to know when their kids are ready to handle life alone. It always depends on your judgment and how well you have taught your kid to be alone, before taking the final step with it. Make sure to know how your child feels about this thought of staying alone first. Most of the time, kids insist on being fine even before parents feel confident about it. As you know, your child is the best; it becomes easier for you to mark the right time to let your kid stay alone at home.
Generally speaking, a kid should be at least ten years of age, or above before you can leave him alone. However, every child is different, and a lot of it depends on his skills and maturity to respond to emergencies. Make sure to learn about your residence and your neighbors. Is it safe to keep your kid alone in front of them? Can you trust those neighbors during an emergency, or are they strangers to you because you moved a few weeks’ back? Do you live in a bust street or a quiet and friendly neighborhood? You have to get the answers to these questions first before you can ultimately decide on your kid staying alone or not.
Just like you have thousands of problems running down your mind, you need to consider how your little kid can handle a variety of situations. Thinking about some issues before will help you big time. Do you think your child has the primary responsibility towards things like household chores, homework, and even following directions? Are they able to handle unexpected situations calmly with a clear mind, or they just get flabbergasted with the case? Do you think your child can follow the safety measures well and understands the importance of it? Remember to procure answers to these questions first before making the final call.
You need your child to have a sound judgment from his part before you can rely on him and his self-caring techniques. The excellent analysis shows that your child can do it all. Moreover, you might have to work hard and take some time off your busy schedule to teach your kids about the basic first-aid. It is always a bright point to consider in case, god forbid; anything happens when you are not at home, and your children got hurt. Being well aware of the essential first-aid points will help your child to handle the case with ease and confidence. Moreover, your child needs to follow your instructions strictly and stay away from any stranger that comes their way.
Even when you are sure of your child’s maturity level, it is a wise decision to go for some practice runs beforehand. You can try out some of the home-alone trials first before that big day arrives. As a starting point, let your child stay alone at home for 30 minutes to an hour. You have to stay somewhere near but don’t let the child know about it. Be in an easily reachable distance from where you can head back home whenever emergency strikes. You might have to watch over your kid at that time just to see how he reacts to this new change.
When that targeted 1 hour is over, head back home and ask your kid about the experience. A thorough discussion on how it went will help him to open up some more towards you so that you can provide ultimate solutions to those issues. This discussion will help you to come across some points, which you want to change or modify and let the kid know about it. This discussion will further come across new means of protecting your kid when you are not home to take care.
Some necessary skills will always come handy while working in an emergency. If your kids know about that well, it makes you more confident. Some of the notable organizations will provide courses in CPR and first aid in local areas like hospitals, schools, and community centers. Be sure that your child has attended those programs when given the opportunity. Before leaving your kid alone at home, he should know how and when to call 911 for help and what address information to provide. The little one must be aware of the home security system’s usability and the steps to take if the alarm goes off.
The kid must know how to lock and unlock doors, ways to work the cell-phone, and turning lights on and off. Your kid must learn the right steps to operate a microwave and what to do if there is a small kitchen fire or a tornado or any severe weather. What will he do if a stranger comes knocking at the door or someone calls for his parents when not at home? What will be his next step if there is a power outage? Training him in all the positive ways beforehand to handle all kinds of situations will give you fewer headaches.
Before you keep your child behind, make sure to schedule a time with him to get in contact. Mention him the time when you will give him a call every day so that he will stay in front of the phone. You can even ask your child to ring you back once he heads back home from school or tuition. It will assure you that your kid is safely back at home. Train him to provide you with a call if any emergency strikes and present him with a readily available number of yours.
Set some specific ground rules for kids when you are away and be very strict about it. The rules should be about having friends over, rooms which are off-limit, TV time and show types, computer and internet rules, cooking and kitchen, not opening doors to strangers and answering phones on time. There must be some rules if there are siblings in the house. They shouldn’t fight behind your back and cause any harm to one another. Teach them how to stand for each other when emergency strikes. It is always the responsibility of the older child to take care of the sister or brother, and bear responsibilities. So, specialized training with your older kid is a must.
You can’t leave your place unless you have childproofed it. It does not matter how well your kids follow the rules, as securing everything is your job as a parent. Try achieving anything and everything that you think might possess a safety or health risk. Lock those products out of your kids’ sights and place them high enough where your kids can’t reach. You better lock your alcoholic beverages, prescribed medicines, and OTC medicines, which can otherwise cause a problem if taken without any doctor’s advice. People doing even generic drugs like cough medicine or sleeping pills in excessive doses can cause health problems or even fatal results. So, be sure those are out of limit for your kids.
Do you have guns at home for your safety? If you carry it with you, then all okay, otherwise, you better keep those ammunitions under lock and key. Other than that, some of the other things to stay out of children’s reach will be car keys, tobacco, lighters, and matches. Remember to cover all your bases, and it won’t be long when you can leave your kids at home without worrying about their safety. For the first time, it becomes difficult for the parents as well as kids to manage such a situation alone. But, with time, everything seems to fall right in place.
Being a kid, you must always keep your mind ready for any emergency. The main number to focus on is 911, where all your permanent results can be obtained. The people at the other side of the line are proficiently trained to help you with specific emergencies like injuries, someone breaking in, and fires. But, make sure to give them a call when the matter is truly an emergency. For example, if you get a scratch, 911 is a complete waste of time and resources. You can ask your parents for some advice, and they will help you categorize the scenarios when you might have to give these professionals a call.
Other than 911, make sure to keep other emergency numbers handy as well. The next number is your parents. Not just your father and mother, but keep names and numbers of your guardians handy too, to cover up emergencies. Your parents will give you the neighbor’s numbers as well. Give them a call if you can’t get over to your parents if you need some adult help or supervision when alone. In case you don’t have any number, ask your parents for a list and post it up for you somewhere, from where you can check it daily. You can ask them to place the number list on the fridge’s door, which is within your reach.
Being a kid, you don’t have any idea on ways to communicate with a 911 call. The operator needs some information to function correctly and provide you with adequate help. So, a dummy practice beforehand will help you not to freeze out when emergency strikes. The operator would like to know more about your address and the situation, which seems wrong to you. They would like to know your phone number as well to give you a call back when the need arises. So, try practicing a dummy emergency call with your parents first to get a glimpse of what you might have to answer later.
If anything unexpected happens, it is evident for the kids to start panicking. This scenario will lead to more disastrous results. So, the natural step and initial one to focus on is to stay calm. One way to do that is by going over the things-to-do list created by your parents when anything wrong happens. Many things can turn upside down for you in your house, like overflowing toilets, smoke alarms buzzing off, or a fire in the kitchen. Ask your parents about the potential problems first and their own solutions, and note those down. Sometimes, you have to cover some basic tasks before giving 911 a call for help. So, remember to go through those points well.
If you are home alone without your parents by your side, then you have to know the steps to deal with a burn or cut by yourself. If the cut is too bad or the injury is too hard to treat at home, then you better give 911 a call. But, if the situation is not that bad, you can handle it at home using some simple methods. While suffering from a cut, wash hands, and hold the clean cloth to stop bleeding. Then you have to rinse it out with water and use antibiotic ointment before putting a Band-Aid over it. For any bruise, apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel for easing swelling. Make sure not to keep ice over the bruised area for more than 10 minutes.
In case of a light burn, cool the area down by running cold water for around 10 minutes. Make sure not to use ice. When things feel a bit better, you can use one aloe vera gel to soothe the area well. Remember to ask your parents where the first kit is. In case your place doesn’t have one, ask your parents to get one immediately. Try working out on the functionalities with your parents before you start using it all alone when the need arises.
The number of kids who have to stay home alone after school keeps on rising. Therefore, the parents must install home security cameras to keep a reliable vigilance on the kids and even on the safety of your home. This camera comes with multiple features and facilities, which will help you to see what your kids are doing even during the darkest hours of the night. As you can keep a check on the kids anytime you want, you can work with full concentration and do not have to worry anymore.
You can check the safety of your kids with your own eyes. Some cameras have audio files to them, to help you listen to your kids whenever you want and wherever you feel like. A security camera set-up is connected to the web to check anything from anywhere, and even from your phone. So, being a parent, it is mandatory to choose and purchase a surveillance system from the reputed firm and reliable sites only. Get the best products from reputed online stores, where you will receive all the necessary documents and warranty papers with the camera you just bought.
It is very common for a child to forget things, especially emergency points. So, the chances are high that your kids might forget to lock the main door or open a window to shout out to his friend. You can find solutions to these issues with the help of a smart home automation system. Thanks to modern technology, now leaving kids alone won’t be a tough call anymore. There are multiple technologies available under the smart home automation system, and you can connect that over the phone. So, a few clicks on your smartphone will help you cover some basic house chores, even when you are miles away from your location.
Some smart technologies will help you detect when someone is at the door and will automatically lock the main gate for security reasons. Some other methods will improve the lighting mechanism of your house and will turn the bulbs on automatically when your kids are around. Once they leave the room, the lights will turn off, saving you some money on electricity bills. You can even control the locking mechanism of your windows from your phone when you have the smart automation system handy.
Children will only perform a task with complete concentration if they know that some prizes are waiting for them at the end of it. So, try to take this opportunity and present kids with their favorite food or toy once you head back home, but only if they followed your strict guidelines correctly. Inform them about the price beforehand as that will attract them to do the job well. For example, do they have a soft corner for ice-cream or planning to get that Lego set for long? If so, then tell them you will get one only if they follow the home rules well.
If they did well, keep your promise and buy them their gifts. It will surely make them happy, and next time onward, they will start performing well without you intervening at all. They know what lies ahead if they follow your norms. So, you don’t have to repeat yourself next time when you plan to leave them alone at home!
With such a high cost of living these days, both parents have to work to survive a healthy family. Therefore, keeping your child back at home alone is a typical scene in every household. You can’t always trust a nanny or a babysitter daily to take care of your kid. So, running down through these rules will surely help your kid to stay safe and make them more independent at a tender age. Focus on these points, and in no time, you can start leaving your kid alone daily.