Your ten-year-old comes home from school at 3:00, but you don't
get home from work until 5:00. He's at home alone for those
two hours every weekday. What does he do until you arrive?
Most likely, he gets a snack or talks on the phone. Maybe he watched
TV. But since you're not there, you worry.
Just like the majority of American parents who work and have to
leave their children on their own after school every day, you are
anxious about your child's safety.
But by following the safeguards listed below, you can help ease
some of this worry and take measures that will protect your kids
even when you're not around.
YOU CAN DO
- Make sure your children are old enough and mature enough to
care for themselves.
- Teach them the basic safety rules.
- Know the three "W's": Where your kids are,
What they're doing, and Who they're with.
ARE THEY READY? CAN YOUR CHILDREN-
- Be trusted to go straight home after school?
- Easily use the telephone, locks, and kitchen appliances?
- Follow rules and instructions well?
- Handle unexpected situations without panicking?
- Stay alone without being afraid?
A WORD ABOUT CURIOSITY...
Are there things you don't want your children to get into?
Take the time to talk to them about the deadly consequences of guns,
medicines, power tools, drugs, alcohol, cleaning products, and inhalants.
Make sure you keep these items in a secure place out of sight and
locked up, if possible.
YOUR "HOME ALONE" CHILDREN
- To check in with you or a neighbor immediately after arriving
- How to call 9-1-1, or your area's emergency number, or
call the operator.
- How to give directions to your home, in case of emergency.
- To never accept gifts or rides from people they don't
- How to use the door and window locks, and the alarm system
if you have one.
- To never let anyone into your home without asking your permission.
- To never let a caller at the door or on the phone know that
they're alone. Teach them to say "Mom can't
come to the phone (or door) right now."
- To carry a house key with them in a safe place (inside a shirt
pocket or sock). Don't leave it under the mat or on a ledge
outside the house.
- How to escape in case of fire.
- To not go into an empty house or apartment if things don't
look right - a broken window, ripped screen, or opened door.
- To let you know about anything that frightens them or makes
them feel uncomfortable.
TAKE A STAND
- Work with schools, religious institutions, libraries, recreational
and community center, and local youth organizations to create
program that give children ages 10 and older a place to go and
something to do after school - a "homework haven,"; with sports,
crafts, classes and tutoring. Don't forget that kids of this age
can also get involved in their communities. Help them design and
carry out an improvement project!
- Ask your workplace to sponsor a Survival Skills class for employees'
children. You can kick it off with a parent breakfast or lunch.
- Ask your community to develop a homework hotline latchkey kids
can call for help or just to talk.
- Join or start a McGruff House or other black parent program
in your community to offer children help in emergencies or frightening
Return to Crime Prevention Tips
Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council
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