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And Just Like That, It’s Back To School Season!

Date Posted: August 14th, 2018

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“BACK TO SCHOOL!”  These are likely the three most hated words by every school aged child not matter what age they may be.  They may even be the three most hated words for SOME parents!  Like it or hate it the time has come and we would like to focus on some safety tips for Latch Key Kids.  Around the country most Latch Key Kids start coming home alone around age 11.  Of course this number varies depending on the individual child and their maturity and comfort level.  A 16 year old that is not comfortable being home alone should not be expected or trusted to do so even if they are considered “mature” enough.  That being said, suppose you and your child are ready for them to become Latch Key…what do you do now?  Preparedness is key and we would like to share with you what we feel are good tips for any Latch Key Kid and parent alike.

1.  Don’t spread the word!  No one besides you, the school and your emergency contacts need to know that your child is Latch Key.  The fewer people involved the safer you can keep your child.  This includes your children’s friends too.  Being home alone may be an exciting new step for your child but regularly reinforce to your child the importance of not sharing this information to their friends.

2.  Put a plan in place to keep your child busy when he/she comes home.  Age appropriate chores are a great example.  Keep them busy until you are home from work.  This will avoid boredom and the temptation of calling friends over or leaving the house to go elsewhere.

3.  Limit internet use or block it completely while they are home alone.  A few harmless social media posts can be a quick tip off to predators that your child is home alone.

4.  Be sure to stock your house with quick, easy after school snacks that do not require use of a stove, toaster, microwave or any other cooking appliance.  While this may seem silly with older Latch Key Kids, it is still the safest bet.  Kids are easily distracted and that could quickly lead to disaster when cooking or warming a snack.

5.  Encourage them to keep doors and windows locked and never ever open them for anyone.  Remember, friends should not be coming over anyhow while your child is home alone therefore, there should be no need to open doors to them.  A predator that suspects your child is home alone could be watching your house and frequent opening of the doors for visitors or guests can give them a perfect opportunity to overpower their way into the house.

6.  Put a plan in place for fires and naturally occurring weather hazards for your region.  Make sure you practice it regularly so your Latch Key Kid knows exactly what to do in the event of an emergency.

7.  Keep a well stocked first-aid kit in the house and make sure your child knows where it is.  Along with the first aid kit keep a list of emergency phone numbers in the event that your child needs to reach you and you are not available.

8.  If your Latch Key Kid walks home from school map out multiple routes for him/her to take and teach them to use a different one everyday.  Switching up their routine will help to keep any predators from learning their routine.

9.  Encourage your child to keep their house key in a private place where others cannot see it or easily take it.  If your child loses their key play it safe and change your door locks immediately.

10.  If your child rides the bus home make sure to keep his/her bus driver in the loop.  Let the driver know that no one should be home.  Your child’s bus driver can help in keeping your child safe by not allowing them off the bus if something looks suspicious.  On the other hand, if you are expecting a visitor or overnight guests let your bus driver know this as well.  He/she is your partner in your child’s safety.

We hope that with a little preparation you and your child can make the 2018/2019 school year the best one in the books!

 

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