Many parents worry about the need to leave children home alone while they work. Here are some tips that can help ease your mind.
First, make a set of rules and post them where they can’t be missed. Some useful items for the list include:
Children should go straight home and not speak with strangers on the way.
They should always keep the door locked.
They should always answer the phone, but never say they’re alone. They should say their parents can’t come to the phone, take a message and hang up.
If children find a door or a window broken, they should go straight to a trusted neighbor and call a parent or the police.
Drill your child on how to call the police and give your complete address clearly.
Children should have clear access to emergency numbers, and know what to do in case of fire, or when the smoke detector goes off. Have a fire escape plan.
Set up a telephone routine if you can be at a phone each day when the child is due home. Call and say hello, and have the child call you back. Work out an alternative so children can be assured human contact if you are unavailable.
If you’re going to be late getting home, let your child know well in advance.
Even young people who are quite confident about staying home alone can have some nagging fears set off by a strange noise or an ambulance siren.
Many schools have programs for children of working parents. Remember, you’re not alone.