The beginning of a new school year signals a fresh start. It’s also a time of stress for many working parents as they attempt to find after school childcare or decide whether or not their children are capable of staying home alone in the hours between the end of the school day and the end of the work day.
If you’ve decided that your child is responsible enough to be home alone after school, here are some tips for managing that time safely. Determining whether or not your child can stay home alone depends on the child’s comfort level and maturity.
It’s a good idea to have children call or text parents to check in when they get home from school. You may also want to enlist the help of a trusted neighbor to check in on them from time to time, especially during inclement weather.
Create a list of emergency phone numbers and post it where kids can see it easily. If you child has a cell phone, program your work and cell phone numbers, phone numbers for neighbors, and phone numbers for family members into their phone. Develop an emergency plan with your children to make sure they know what to do if there is a fire, injury, or other emergency. Write out the plan and post it in a place that is easily visible.
Remove or store dangerous items in a locked area. Knives, guns, power tools, razor blades, and other items can cause injury when used without supervision. Be sure that household cleaners and other potential poisons are stored out of reach or locked away. Medications should also be place in a locked storage area or out of the reach of the kids. Check your fire and carbon monoxide detectors and install fresh batteries if needed.
Talk to your kids about their internet use. Make sure they understand that they should never post on social media or web forums about being home alone.
Children should lock the doors when home alone. If your home has a security system, teach the kids how to use it and have them turn it on when they are home alone. Instruct your kids to never open the door for strangers or tell them that their parents are not home.
Following these tips and establishing ground rules for after school safety will provide peace of mind to you and your children. Stay safe this school year!
If your child is injured after school, contact Schuerman Law. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman is a compassionate advocate for individuals who have been injured as well as their families. He will aggressively fight for full compensation for injury victims’ claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation by calling 1-800-274-0045.