Keeping Kids Healthy Advice
Here comes summer and many parents are faced with the decision of what to do with their children for summer vacation. Day camps, babysitters, or day cares work for younger children, but older children may not be interested in going to camp and may feel that they are too old for a babysitter.
But how can you tell if your child is ready to stay home alone? Ask yourself the following questions to determine if your child is ready to stay home alone.
Does your child:
Consistently follow instructions and rules?
Get frightened easily?
Know how to use the telephone, locks and household appliances?
Act responsibly in his or her actions?
Remain calm in unexpected situations or emergencies?
If you feel that your child is ready for the responsibility of staying home alone:
Make sure that your child knows your full name and where to contact you. Keep a list of important phone numbers near the telephone, including your work and cell phone numbers, number of the closest relative or a neighbor that you trust, and emergency numbers. Tell your child to call immediately if anything makes them uncomfortable or frightened.
Keep windows and doors locked at all times. Tell your child to never open the door for anyone or let anyone know that they are home alone.
Discuss different situations that could happen while they are alone and practice how your child would respond by acting out the situations. Make sure that you have a fire extinguisher and a first aid and your child knows how to use them.
Take time to look around your house to see what you can do to make it a safer place for your kids when they are home alone. If there are items in your house that you do not want your child to get into such as guns, medications and alcohol, keep them locked up in a secure place.
Make sure that your child can take care of their basic needs, for example, fixing themselves a simple meal. Keep food and snack items that do not require cooking if your child doesn’t know how to use kitchen appliances.
Let your child know what you expect of them while you are gone. Make a list of chores that you want them to complete and provide activities to give them something to do. Let them know the rules about inviting friends over while you are not there and make sure that they know how much television they can watch, as well as what programs are appropriate.
Staying home alone can be a good experience for a child. It will help him or her develop a sense of independence and responsibility. However, if they are not ready, it can be scary and possibly dangerous, so make sure that you plan what to do if leaving your child alone does not work out.