Although working parents would generally prefer to see their children right after school gets out, such a luxury is not always possible. Given these realities, kids will end up home alone after school - so how can we keep them safe when we're gone? The American Red Cross has compiled a helpful list of rules for children to follow when home alone, guidelines that will help ensure that everyone's safe, happy and together at the end of the day.
Here are some key pointers for your kids to learn and practice while they're home alone. Post this list on the fridge as a reminder.
- Be Vigilant: If the house looks like it is open or someone has broken in, don't go inside. Stay outside and call your parents, someone you trust, or the police.
- Lock the Door: Lock the door once you're home. Make sure all the doors and windows in the house are shut and locked.
- Alarm System: If you have an alarm system, turn it on.
- Strangers: Never open the door to strangers. Look through the peephole or window to see who's there and talk to them through the door if necessary.
- Deliveries & Service: Never open the door to delivery and service people. Ask them to leave the package at the door or come back another time.
- Answering the Phone: Don't tell a caller that your parents aren't there. Say they're busy and ask to take a message.
- Social Networks: Don't talk about being home alone on your social networks.
- Leaving the House: Never leave the house without your parents' permission. If you do have permission, make sure to tell your mom or dad when you are going and where you will be.
- Strange Noises: If you hear an unusual noise, don't go outside to check on it. If it frightens you, call your parents, someone you trust, or the police.
- Friends: Don't invite friends over without parental permission. If anyone is using alcohol or drugs, don't let them in - even if you know them.
- Smoke and Fire: If you see or smell smoke, go outside immediately. Stay outside and ask a neighbor to call the fire department.
Source: American Red Cross