A 2009 study conducted by Louisiana After 3pm found that 23% of Louisiana's K-12 children "are responsible for taking care of themselves after school", along with another 15% who are looked after by an older sibling. Since 2004, The Afterschool Alliance has seen a steady increase in school-aged children who are on their own after the school day ends and until a parent returns home from work, even with an increase in available afterschool programs.
That some children will be home alone for a few hours after school in this day and age is a given, but there are things a parent can do to make sure their child is safe until they get home. KidsHealth recommends creating house rules, such as:
- Should the child call mom or dad as soon as they get home?
- Are they allowed to watch TV, DVDs, and videos, or play computer games? If so, which ones and for how long?
- Should homework be done first, even before chores?
- Can friends come over? If so, how many?
- What can they eat if they want a snack?
- Can they go outside, and if so, where?
- Which appliances can be used? (microwave, computer, etc.)
- Which chores need to be done and by when?
- How to dial 911
- Their home address and phone number
- The name, location, and phone number where both parents work
- The name, phone number, and address of a trusted neighbor
- The name, phone number, and address of another emergency contact person, such as a grandparent or family friend
Parents can feel safe knowing their children have made it home safely and are securely protected inside the home by a monitored alarm system. Learn more about iAlarm from our blog post "Alarm Center Security Introduces iAlarm" or by visiting our website and trying out the iAlarm LIVE DEMO.
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