One of the most unnerving things parents will ever have to go through is leaving their child alone in the house for the first time. The age at which this should happen varies depending on the maturity of the child, but for most families, it’s going to come up sooner or later. Parents are likely to stress out about the myriad things that could go wrong when their kids are left to their own devices, but the Newark Police Department is offering up some tips to ensure that everything goes right.
The first step is simply making sure that your child is responsible enough to be left on his or her own. It’s inadvisable to leave children by themselves when they’re ten years of age or younger, but aside from that, what age is too young? The best way you can help deduce the answer to this query is to create a checklist that gets to the root of what your child is able to handle at this point in his or her life.
First, ask yourself if your child is trustworthy enough that you know he or she will come straight home from school and adhere to the rules you set forth when they’re alone. In addition to being trustworthy, though, the child should also understand how to use the phones, appliances that have been deemed safe, and the locks on all doors and windows. In addition, the child should not themselves be worried about the situation. You don’t want them to panic should an emergency situation take place.
Once you’ve verified that your child is capable of meeting these standards, your job has only just begun. Before you leave the house, talk with your kids about what’s expected of them. You might consider practicing the different types of incidents that might occur so that they’ll know what to do when the time comes. This includes going through what should procedures to follow in an emergency. Instruct them on how to dial 911, and impose rules on internet usage, hanging out with friends, leaving the house, and talking with any stranger who may drop by. If you don’t think your kid can follow these rules, then you might consider waiting a bit before leaving them alone.
Finally, leave your child a list of relevant phone numbers. This includes you and your spouse’s work and cell phones, the contact information of trusted neighbors and family members, and a line to the doctor’s office. To further ensure safety, check in with your kids off and on during the day with a simple phone call. Plus, have them call you whenever they enter or exit the house.