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With summer just around the corner, many parents are consideringallowing their children to stay home alone for the first time. Animportant step in the maturing process, staying home alone can beboth overwhelming and dangerous if not handled correctly. There aremany ways children can put themselves at risk – even in the comfortof their own homes. Before you leave your kids home alone thissummer, be sure to teach them the following safety precautions.

1. Never answer the door. For anyone.

A variation of the classic “don’t open the door to strangers,”this tip better ensures that no one outside of the family can gainaccess to your home. Install peepholes at your child’s eye level onall main doors, and be sure to teach them how to operate thelocking mechanisms. If you think you’ll ever have reason to send afamily friend or outsider to your home, come up with a password.Share it with your child, and tell them never to answer the doorunless the person on the other side knows the password.

2. Know how to operate the alarm system, and keep it armed.

If your children don’t know how to use the home security system, it does them little good. Hold a trainingsession and teach them the basics of the alarm – arming the doorsand windows, turning off the emergency siren and even how tomonitor for fire or carbon monoxide. During this time, also remindyour children of how to activate the fire or police alert thatcomes standard with most current home alarm systems.

3. Don’t use any kitchen appliances other than the microwave orrefrigerator.

Most parents assume their children won’t suddenly develop aninterest in cooking. Long days and boredom, however, lead childrento try new things and the kitchen is the perfect ground forexperimenting. Set ground rules concerning all kitchen items inyour home, specifically for the stove, oven and sharp objects. Yourkids should assume that the kitchen gadgets are off limits untiladults get home. If necessary, prepare meals and snacks for thembefore you leave home, then leave the food in a room other than thekitchen.

4. Never hesitate to reach out for help.

Even in the safest homes, emergencies may arise. Be sure yourchildren know that it’s not only acceptable but encouraged for themto call you or another trusted adult in these cases. If they everhave questions about what’s allowed or what could be dangerous,they shouldn’t hesitate to ask.

Furthermore, outline serious emergencies in which your kidsshould first call emergency services like the police or firedepartment. Opening the lines of communication with your kids willensure that safety is a subject that’s always OK to discuss.

Anxiety is a natural emotion for both parents and children tofeel when staying home alone is first considered. Educating yourkids on what to do (and not to do) is of utmost importance both forsafety and peace of mind. With straightforward guidelines and rulesto follow, your children will feel better prepared to be home bythemselves. Odds are, you’ll feel better too.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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