A child alone at home – how to find something to do and keep him safe
Before each parent one day the question arises – how to leave your baby at home alone? Not everyone has the opportunity to give a child to a grandmother, send it to kindergarten or pick it up from school on time.
And, sooner or later, moms and dads inevitably face this dilemma.
The content of the article:
At what age a child can be left alone at home – the conditions for the readiness of children for this
At what age is the baby ready to be alone in the apartment?
This is a complex and controversial issue.
Traditionally busy parents are leaving their children at home already from 7-8 years old, but this criterion is very dubious – it all depends on whether your child is ready for such a serious step into independence.
Children are different… One at the age of 6 is already able to warm up lunch for himself and ride the bus without parents, and the other, even by the age of 9, is not able to tie his shoelaces and sleeps, clasping his mother’s hand tightly.
Home alone – how to know that the child is ready?
- He can easily do without his mother from half an hour to 2-3 hours and even more.
- He is not afraid to play in the room with the door closed, does not suffer from claustrophobia and is not afraid of the dark.
- He knows how to use communication means (telephone, mobile phone, skype, etc.).
- He will be able to dial your number (or dad’s) and report the problem.
- He knows what is “not allowed” and “you can”, “good” and “bad”. That the fruit needs to be washed, it is dangerous to approach the windows, the doors are not opened to strangers, and the sockets are a source of current.
- He is able to pour himself water and take yogurt, milk, sausage for a sandwich, etc. from the refrigerator.
- He is already responsible enough to clean up scattered toys, put a cup in the sink, go to bed on time, wash your hands before eating, etc. You no longer have to control such trifles.
- He won’t get hysterical (or offended) if you leave him for an hour or two.
- He knows that the police will come by calling 02, the ambulance at 03, and the fire department at 01.
- He is able to call neighbors in case of any danger or problem.
- He understands why his mother should leave him alone for a while.
- He does not mind becoming an adult and independent for a couple of hours.
Each positive answer is a “plus point” to the level of independence of your child. If you scored 12 points, we can congratulate you – your child is already big enough to spend a couple of hours without you.
You definitely can’t leave your baby alone at home.if you answered no to most of the test questions.
And also if your child …
- She is afraid of being alone and strongly protests.
- Doesn’t know (ignores due to age) safety rules.
- He will not be able to contact you in case of danger or a problem that has arisen (he does not know how or does not have a means of communication).
- Not able to control his desires, fantasies and emotions.
- Too playful, impatient, disobedient, inquisitive (underline as appropriate).
At what age can you leave your baby alone in an apartment according to the laws of the Russian Federation?
Unlike other countries, in Russia, unfortunately, the law does not provide for such restrictions. Therefore, all responsibility for their child lies with mom and dad.
Be extremely careful and careful when deciding to take such a step, because the dangers in the apartment lie in wait for the child at every step. And, in most cases, it is better to take the baby with you or beg the neighbors to look after him than to regret the consequences later.
Preparing the child to stay at home alone – how does it happen?
So, your child has already given you his consent and is ready to step into independence.
How to prepare it?
- For the first time, 10-15 minutes of your absence will be enough. This is enough to, for example, run for milk (and a big candy for your brave child).
- Increase the period of your absence gradually. You can’t immediately run away for half a day – first 15 minutes, then 20, then half an hour, etc.
- It is not recommended to leave a child under 8 years old for more than an hour and a half. The kid may just get bored, and it is not a fact that the occupation he has found will please you. Think in advance what you will do with your child.
- Your child should clearly understand where you are going, for what purpose you leave him alone and at what time you will return. You have to be punctual – you can’t be late for a minute. First, the child may decide that being late and not keeping your word is the norm. Secondly, he may panic, because children of 7-9 years old have an extremely great fear that something might happen to their parents.
- When you return, ask what he was doing. No need to rush to the stove or wash right away – baby first! Find out what you were doing, if he was scared, if someone called. And be sure to praise him for being able to spend a couple of hours without mom. Just like an adult.
- Do not swear if he managed to misbehave a little. After all, an empty apartment without a mother at his complete disposal is a real “storehouse” of adventure.
- Be sure (and always) to compensate the baby for the time that you “took” from him by your absence. Yes, you have to work (do business), but your attention is more important to the child. He will never understand that you need to “earn money” if, after a long absence, you do not spend time with him, do not play, do not go for a walk, etc.
Safety rules when the child is alone at home – reminders for children and parents!
The behavior of a baby left alone at home always goes beyond the boundaries of what is allowed by the mother.
The reasons are the usual curiosity, hyperactivity, fear, etc. In the child’s apartment, dangers can lie in wait at every corner.
How to protect your child, what to do, and what to warn about?
Safety instructions for moms:
- The child must know exactly his address, name of parents, neighbors, grandparents.
- Additionally, all contact numbers should be written on stickers (on a special / board) and drive into the phone’s memory, which naturally needs to be charged before leaving.
- You should also write (and drive into the phone’s memory) all emergency numbers – ambulance, police, firefighters, Ministry of Emergency Situations, gas service.
- With good relations with neighbors, you can negotiate with them – periodically check the child (by phone or directly). Leave them a set of keys for every fireman.
- If possible, install a video camera with online broadcast. So you can keep an eye on the child right from your phone. Of course, “prying is not good,” but the safety of the child is more important. Until you are convinced that it is already quite independent, this method will help to avoid many problems.
- Leave the child with all possible means of communication – landline telephone and mobile phone. If possible – Skype (if the child knows how to use it, and he is allowed to use a laptop).
- If you leave your child with a laptop – ensure the safety of your child on the Internet in advance. Install a child’s browser or special / program (approx. – childbirth / control) that protects the child from harmful content.
- Draw (and discuss!) Memo posters with your child about the most dangerous areas and objects in the apartment – you cannot turn on the gas, you cannot open the doors, you cannot climb on the windowsills, matches are not toys, medicines are dangerous, etc. Hang them in a prominent place.
- Call your child every 20-30 minutes. He should know that his mother has not forgotten about him. And teach you how to answer other people’s calls. Explain that it is strictly forbidden to tell anyone that “adults are not at home”, your address and other details. Even if the aunt “at the other end” says that she is my mother’s friend.
- Remind your baby to hang up., call mom back and tell her about the strange call.
- Do not open doors to anyone – the kid must learn this 100%. But this is not enough. Do not forget to explain how to act and who to ask for help in an emergency. For example, if someone persistently knocks on the door or even tries to break it.
- Do not overload the child with instructions – he won’t remember them anyway. Think about what to prohibit the child and what cannot be prohibited. Draw signs and place them in the right places. Above the sockets, next to the gas stove, on the front door, etc.
- Provide for every little thing. The windows must be carefully closed (it is better if double-glazed windows with special / locks on the handles are installed), all fragile and dangerous objects are removed as far as possible, medicines (knives, blades, household chemicals, matches) are hidden, the gas is shut off, the sockets are closed with plugs, the wires are removed for skirting boards, etc. Follow all safety rules for children at home!
- Explain why you cannot leave the apartment. An ideal option is an additional lock, in which the door cannot be opened from the inside.
- If the child does not yet know how to use the microwave (there is no question of gas – it is better just not to turn it on), leave food for it that does not need to be heated and cooked. Flakes with milk, yoghurts with cookies, etc. Leave the tea for the child in a thermos. You can also purchase a special thermos for lunch – if the baby gets hungry, he will simply open the thermos and put a warm lunch on his plate.
- If your “urgent matters” are close to home, you can use radios with a defined / range… The kid will definitely like this method of communication, and you will be calmer.
What to do with children who are left alone at home
Remember: your the child must be busy! If he gets bored, he will find something to do on his own, and they may, for example, help his mother with ironing the clothes, search for prohibited items, or even worse.
Therefore, think in advance – what to do with the child.
It will be about children 7-9 years old (It is simply impossible to leave younger children alone, and children after 10-12 years old are already quite capable of occupying themselves).
- Download your child’s favorite cartoons and set them up sequentially (suddenly, the kid does not know how to use the remote control or has lost it).
- Give him a task like, draw some beautiful large drawings for a home “exhibition” for my father’s parish. And at the same time – beautifully arrange toys in the room, build a castle from a designer, decorate a house-box for a cat (glue it with white paper in advance) or draw sketches of those toys that you will sew together after your return.
- If you let your child sit at the laptop, install useful and interesting programs for him (preferably, developing) – time flies behind the computer, and the child simply will not notice your absence.
- Invite your child to play pirates. Let him hide his toy (treasure) and draw a special pirate map for you. After returning, find “treasures” to the sonorous laughter of a child.
- Leave the magazines for the child with coloring pages, crosswords, comics, etc.
- If somewhere on the shelf there is a stack of unnecessary glossy magazines, you can invite your kid to make a collage. Set the theme, hand out a Whatman paper, glue and scissors.
- Buy a modeling kit. Do not feed the boys with bread – let them glue something together (planes, tanks, etc.). You can purchase a similar set consisting of volumetric puzzles (glue is not needed for it if you suddenly fear that the cat will be glued to the carpet). The girl can take a kit for creating a princess castle (farm, etc.) or a kit for creating clothes for a paper doll.
Plan activities for your child based on HIS interests, not your requirements. Sometimes it’s better to step back from principles when your child’s safety is at stake.
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