Here are a few suggestions to teach you children if they are going to be “Home Alone”:
- To check in with you or a neighbor immediately after arriving home after school.
- How to call 9-1-1.
- How to give directions to your home, in case of an emergency.
- To never accept gifts or rides from people they don’t know well.
- How to use the door and window locks, and the alarm system if you have one. Also teach them the emergency code on the alarm system that calls the police but does not set off the audible alarm.
- 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 are 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 a mat or on a ledge outside the house.
- How to escape in case of a fire.
- Not to go into an empty house or apartment if things don’t look right – a broken window, ripped screen, or opened door.
If your children are to be in charge of themselves at home, talk about activities they can do and the routines they are to follow. Discuss family policies on entertaining and visiting friends and what to do when the phone or doorbell rings.