Is your child responsible enough to be home alone?
Children complete our world and their mere presence adds meaning to our lives. These little angels are the reason for our smile and we, as parents look forward to fulfilling all their desires and dreams. Their wishes become our priority and we strive to work harder in pursuing them. As a result, both the parents toil to give comfortable& luxurious life to their children and unwillingly, take the difficult, yet, unavoidable decision of leaving them alone. It could be due to the unavailability of a constructive and affordable daycare or the absence of older relatives. Little do they realise that leaving them alone at home may cast some effects on them. In fact, it has been observed that such children have a tendency to become:
Fearsome—Children staying alone tend to get afraid of even the ordinary noises in an empty house, as they have very little experience & exposure of the world outside. They are unable to share their fears with their parents as they do not want to be seen as babies or worry them about their safety.
Recluse—Children alone at home are not allowed to meet their friends, participate in any extra-curricular activities or develop any social skills. This hinders their social life and makes them loners.
Obese— Staying indoors leads to lazing around and no active physical movement as biking, running or playing. Moreover, eating irregularly is another way to cut off loneliness. With No or reduced physical exercise and excessive intake of junk food, most children tend to become obese.
Disobedient — Parents lay down set of rules for their children alone at home like completing homework before watching TV, not conversing with strangers, not letting anyone in the house in their absence, etc. But, with no one to monitor them, they can always be at liberty to do the otherwise, which may have alarming consequences, if not checked effectively.
HOWEVER, NO TWO CHILDREN ARE ALIKE! All children react in diverse manner in the situations they are subjected too. Hence, it becomes the sole responsibility of the parents or the caretaker to know if their children are actually ready to be Home Alone.
For this, certain factors should be kept in mind like; the age &the maturity of the children, for eg. children left at home should not be less than 7 years old; length of time for them to be Home Alone, for eg.children of age group 11-12 years can be left alone for a few hours and that too during daytime only; safety of the neighborhood availability of supportive neighbors for keeping a check on the children and most importantly, children’s feeling of safety in the house when they are alone.
Keeping the above factors in consideration, in case you find it fit to leave your children alone at home, then do take the following measures to ensure their utmost safety. Start by making them learn their complete name, address & contact details and alsoteach them to operate locks of windows and doors. Furthermore, never allowthem to work on stove/ sharp object in the absence of an adult. Additionally, instructthem not to visit any home in the neighbourhood, without your permission. Further, assignthem, a ‘safe house’ in the neighbourhood, in case of an emergency. Moreover, callthem regularly over the phone and stay in touch with them. Also, make it a point to posta list of emergency numbers, local as well as far off, in case of an emergency call. Further,inform the next door, friendly neighbours about your absence and askthem to check on the children frequently.
Our children are the source of Divine Joy, Eternal Bliss and Immense Satisfaction in our lives and their welfare and security is of paramount importance to us. Hence, leaving children alone at home comes with a set of guidelines which need to be followed to ensure unthreatened protection for them.
Always remember, Children are the World’s Most Valuable Resource and the Best Hope for the Future.
LOVE THEM! CHERISH THEM! PROTECT THEM!
Mrs Meenal Arora is Executive
Director of Shemrock Preschools
& the Founder Director of
Shemford Futuristic Schools.