Before you allow your pre-teen or teen to stay home alone for the first time, follow these parenting strategies and make sure your child understands the rules. Repeat the rules every time you leave the house and get acknowledgement from your child that he/she has heard you!
- Ensure that your child knows your mobile phone number; tell your child that he/she can call you at any time, for any reason, and you won’t be upset or angry.
- Have your child go through the motions of calling 911 in case of an emergency. Discuss possible reason that your child would have to call 911 and made sure he/she knows never to make a joke of it.
- Make a Contact List of neighbors, friends and/or relatives to call in case your child feels scared or has a problem and can’t reach you. Post this list on the refrigerator. If your child has a cell phone, enter the names and number in his/her contact lists.
Experts suggest creating a Home Alone Contract that includes your rules. After you and your child read and discuss the rules both of you sign the contract and agree to follow it. Below are some suggested rules to help you begin drafting a contract feel free to add your own rules: