At some point as a parent, you make the decision to let your child or children stay at home while you are not there. They grow up, you have work and responsibilities – it happens.
But before you do that, there are a few things you need to teach them in order to make the transition for both you and your child safe and as worry-free as possible.
Know Your Kid
Before even considering leaving your child at home alone, think about how responsible they are when you are not around. Do they do their homework without you asking? How do they react in unexpected situations? How would – or have they reacted in emergency situations?
If you don’t know definitive answers to these questions – it may not be time and you may need to take a bit more time to make the decision on whether or not to leave them at home alone.
Things They Should Know
OK – so you got past those. What do you need to teach them and what should they know before you have that ‘first day’. Here they are. Be sure you know them, you’ve taught them, and your child or children know what to do.
- First Aid – More than any other thing that could happen while you are away – an accident can occur. Make sure they know basic skills for first aid and what to do if they become injured or another child in the house has an injury.
- Emergency numbers and who to go to for help is important. Be sure they know immediate people they can reach at all times they may be alone. Let them know which neighbors to go to and give them a list of phone numbers they can call in the event of an emergency.
- Be sure they know when and how to call 911. If you’ve taught them first aid, they will know when they can handle it and when they should not. Be sure they know the number, have access to a phone at all times and know when to call.
- If you don’t have a fire safety plan, you need one before you make the decision to leave your child at home. Your home should be equipped with fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors – and your child should be taught what they are and what they should if they sound.
These are the emergency situations your child should be aware of; however, there are a multitude of other situations they could encounter including appliance safety, answering phone calls or the door if someone knocks or rings, and electronic communication boundaries that should be set.