Home Alone: The Summer Version by Alina Lopez
Summer break is finally here. I’m sure many teachers are relieved that this time has finally come and they can take a break from the classroom for a bit and I’m sure many students are just as ecstatic to be on a school break for about two months. Some parents on the other hand might find summer a challenge as they scramble to figure out who will look after their children during this time. There are many options out there such as summer school, summer camps, and family or friends who can supervise children during the break. Safety and crime prevention should still be in the forefront this summertime and following some basic safety tips can help your children stay safe this season if they stay home alone.
Let’s look at the fact that some older kids will be staying by themselves this summer without adult supervision for an extended period of time. Remember back in our day it was called Latchkey Kids?
- Tell your children not to open the door to someone they don’t know. But here’s where it gets tricky…burglars will double check that the targeted home is empty so they may knock on the door or ring the doorbell. If they don’t hear anything, they may believe the house is empty. It’s important that there is some sort of background noise like a tv or radio or the child can verbally answer the door and state that no one can come to the door at the moment. Home automation systems are very useful in these situations because you can answer the doorbell from your workplace and if you have the video capability, you can see who is at the front door.
- Discuss whether your children are allowed to go to certain places unsupervised and have them tell you where they are going and when they’re coming back. Be in constant communication with them.
- If your child is allowed to go out of the house to places like the park, local pool, etc., explain to them about talking to strangers and why they should avoid them. Talk about being polite to people but to keep their distance from someone they don’t know and under no circumstances should they get into an unfamiliar vehicle. Let them know they have a right to protect themselves and run away if they feel frightened or threatened.
- Limit and monitor the amount of time your children spend on the computer and cell phones (if they have one) and use parental control apps.
- Take advantage of Facetime and other video call features to actually see your child’s surroundings while you talk to them.
- Have a list of emergency phone numbers, including 911, and trusted neighbors’ contact information.
- Make sure they know their full home address and your phone number by memory.
- In case an emergency does occur, they should be aware of every exit in the house, that way they have options for escape routes in the event of a fire or a break-in.
- Establish a network with your children’s friends’ parents and exchange contact information with them. Fellow parents are your best allies.
To contact our office, call 305-470-1670, or visit our website at www.citizenscrimewatch.org.
Until next time, be aware, make good choices, and stay safe.