|(NC) — A reality today is that both parents in a household often work full-time away from home. That means children sometimes need to come home to an empty house after school. Is your child ready?|
The Canada Safety Council suggests that no child under the age of 10 ever be left alone in a house and that, once they are of an appropriate age, children be eased into being at home alone. Parents should do brief test runs, leaving for short periods of time and then answering these questions:
• Does your child feel comfortable being alone in the house?
• Do you feel comfortable with the situation?
• Can you count on your child to follow rules and remember instructions?
• Does your child typically find constructive things to do, or does he or she get into mischief?
• Is your child prepared to handle unexpected situations?
• Do you have the means to communicate effectively with your child when you are not at home?
• Can your child reach someone in case of emergencies?
“Once you feel confident that your child is ready, you need to set rules for behaviour and communicate how you expect his or her time to be spent,” says James Savage, executive vice president at Western Financial Group, an insurance and financial services company committed to keeping families safe. “Discuss how various circumstances should be handled, and make sure a trusted neighbour, friend or relative is available in case of emergency. Make sure your house and yard are safe and secure, and that your child reports to you once safe in the house.”