In the past, it was fairly common for older kids to be home alone while parents worked. If you are of a certain age then the term ‘latchkey’ kid is probably very familiar to you and in fact there is a good chance that you yourself were one. These days the term has some negative connotations, but that needn’t be the case. There are many parents who feel that having their tween or teenager spend some time alone at home teaches responsibility and independence. It is also a good way to build trust. Whether you need to leave your kids at home to run to the store, or because they get out of school n hour before you finish work it is not something you should be afraid to do.
In the past, most so called ‘latchkey kids’ simply had a list of neighbors or family they could call in an emergency, but now things have changed and there is more required to ensure our kids are safe when we are not there. Let’s look at a few tips to help you make sure your kids are staff when you are not at home with them.
Know The Local Laws
The important thing to remember is that the laws regarding children staying home without any adult supervision vary from place to place. It might be worth checking with local law enforcement what the minimum age in your jurisdiction is. However, it is also important to consider that all children are different and develop at different rates. Just because your child is of the legal minimum age that does not mean that they are ready for the responsibility.
As a parent you know your child better than anybody else, so it is down to your parental intuition to decide whether your child is mature enough and emotionally ready to stay home alone. You may want to do a test run where you just go to the local store before leaving them for any longer periods of time.
Make The Most Of Technology
One of the huge advantages that we have today is technology. This can be used in a number of ways to protect our kids. If your child has their own cell phone, you can use one of the many services available which will allow you to track them by GPS. This lets you know if they have left the home when they should be staying inside.
It is also possible to use home alarm systems to your advantage in this situation. Some alarm systems can be set to alert you if someone enters your home. This could alert you to someone forcing entry into the home while your child is on their own. Other home security systems include features such as surveillance cameras which can be viewed remotely from computers or mobile devices. This allows you to see that your child is safe and is not doing anything inappropriate.
Many monitored home security systems also come with a panic code feature. This means that if your child is home alone, and is forced by an intruder to disable your security system, your child can key in the panic code instead. The alarm will appear to have been disabled, but in fact it will send an alert to the monitoring company to alert law enforcement.
These tips can help you to keep your child safe if you are forced to leave them at home alone for whatever reason. Not only can they help to protect your child against home invaders and intruders, but they can also allow you to have peace of mind knowing that you can monitor your child while you are not with them. Being allowed to stay home alone can offer tweens and teens a chance to learn independence and gain your trust, but it is essential that you make sure you have security measures in place.