Kevin thought it was pretty great having pizza all to himself, but pizza delivery every day isn’t a likely option for most kids. You still need to plan for snacks and meals, so it’s a good idea to go over safety rules for the kitchen if your child will be doing any cooking. It’s best to limit any cooking a younger child can do. Always make sure you have at least one smoke alarm installed and in good working order. Go over a plan for what to do if there’s a small fire in the kitchen or a smoke alarm goes off. Perhaps eliminate the need for heated food altogether with sandwiches or salad fixings.
In Home Alone, Kevin had big fun jumping on his parents’ bed and making big messes. In your home, you can keep your child busy by giving chores and setting up a schedule. While children need downtime to rest and revive, they are less likely to get into trouble if they’re occupied and have a schedule they’re accountable to.
A sample schedule might look something like this:
3:30 – Check in with mom/dad
3:30 to 4:00 – Change clothes and have a snack
4:00 to 4:45 – Do homework (or in the summer, a chore)
4:45 to 5:30 – Free time
5:30 – Set table for dinner
5:45 – Mom/Dad home
Perhaps most famously, Home Alone, Kevin comically outwitted would-be burglars with elaborate booby traps. While that makes for good storytelling, home security is no laughing matter.
Kids who are home alone might truly worry that someone could break into the house. It’s a good idea to go over what to do when they are home alone – like keep the doors locked, don’t answer the door to strangers, and don’t answer the phone unless it’s a number you recognize.
Children tend to be forgetful, so if they come in they may forget to close the garage door or re-lock the front door after they come inside. One solution is to set up a smart home automation system that can lock doors, monitor smoke detectors, or send you a mobile notification through
the ADT Pulse App when something is amiss.
You can also install a doorbell camera. That way you and your child can check to see who is ringing the doorbell – and they’ll be able to privately see who is at the door without letting the visitor know anyone is even home.
Another option is to install home security cameras so you can see how they’re doing in real time. Cameras posted in the kitchen, garage, front and back doors, and even outside can help you see things at home for yourself. If connected to the web, make sure you get a video surveillance system from a company you trust.
The American Red Cross also recommends taking these general steps for helping keep those home alone hours safe and less stressful:
Even when you’re confident about your child’s maturity, it’s a good idea to be prepared with a safety checklist and a home security plan. It gives you peace of mind by protecting what matters most: family.