It’s a reality for most parents that their school aged children will spend some time alone (or with an older child) before they get home. Many of them will walk home from their schools, after-school programs or friends houses without you. Here are some tips for keeping them safe when you can’t be there.
1) Designate “safe places”
Some communities already have these in place for you. They’re often local businesses or houses that have been screened by the local police department. Their purpose being that if a child (or anyone) is uncomfortable, feels like they’re being followed or encounters any dangerous situation there is somewhere they can go where an adult will help.
On a smaller scale, you can set these places up on your own. Family and friends houses or businesses. You can always go the extra step and work to set up a network similar to the one listed above by gathering information about who may be interested in the community and then having them screened by your local police department. Your child’s school may be able to help you to do this.
2) Make sure they know the code
Stranger danger has been drilled into our children’s heads, but even if the person is an acquaintance your child shouldn’t be going somewhere with them. To ensure they don’t, set up a code word that a friend or relative will know if plans have changed and they will be picking your child up and so on.
3) If your child will be spending time at home alone…
Make sure they know the emergency numbers and you have them posted in a spot where they won’t be easily misplaced. If it’s possible, try to find an older child or a childcare giver who can take care of them during your absence. They are safest when they aren’t alone.