These days, many families consist of just one parent, which means that older children spend some time alone in the house because that one parent has to provide for the family financially. Even in a family where both parents are present, the economic situation this country finds itself in demands that both parents work outside of the home. Again, this means that older kids will probably have to be at home alone at least part of the day. Usually, the time kids are required to be home by themselves is not extensive, but as you know, it only takes a minute for something bad to happen.
With that in mind, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your children are as safe as they can be until you can be with them again. Teach these tips to your kids so they are comfortable with them when the time comes for them to stay by themselves.
1. Never open the door. They probably already know this, because they shouldn't be opening the door even if you are home unless you give them permission to do so, but it is worth going over again Also remind them that the doors should always be locked and remain locked once they are safely in the home.
2. Do not advertise that they are home alone. This means no loud music that would be above what you would normally allow if you were in the house with them.
3. If they are allowed to answer the telephone, be sure that they do not provide any information that would give away the fact that they are alone. If they do not know the person on the other end, they should simply tell him or her that he or she has dialed the wrong number and hang up.
4. The computer should be restricted while you are not home to monitor what they are doing online. You cannot know for sure that they don't give out personal information unless you are right there while they are online. There shouldn't be anything they need online for the short time they are at home.
5. Block any television shows that are inappropriate for your kids' ages.
6. Do not allow your kids to have friends over while you are not home. In fact, make sure they do not advertise the fact that they are alone to anyone other than immediate family members.
7. Install a home security system and teach your kids how to arm it and how to activate it if they are ever in a situation where they need it. You will want to ensure that the home security system you choose includes offsite monitoring so that emergency services can be summoned directly as soon as the alarm is activated.
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