One of the perks of parenting older kids is never again having to text around for a babysitter for Saturday night. But does your kid have the safety skills to stay home alone?
Review these safety tips with your teenagers to equip them for their night of texting and Netflix—and the start of a lifetime of confident self-sufficiency.
Safety Tips for Staying Home Alone:
Make sure all doors are locked the whole time. It’s rare, but intruders can come in even when someone is home and awake.
Close and lock all first-floor (or otherwise accessible) windows before heading upstairs or to bed.
Make sure the stove and oven are off. (Cooking at home alone is okay, as long as your teenager is typically attentive and responsible at the stove.)
Always have a charged phone and/or access to a charged landline. (Even if there’s no emergency, we parents will worry if we can’t reach our kids.) Of course, they’ll need to know how to reach emergency services in your area.
Ensure that your kids know how to turn the water supply off (to the toilets and sinks, at least, if not the main valve for the whole house). Bonus points: They should know how to use a plunger.
If they’re going to use any appliances—washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc.—be sure that they know how to do so. You don’t want to come home to the classic dishwashing-liquid-in-the-dishwasher bubble explosion in your kitchen!
Power outages happen. Check that they know where flashlights are, as well as fresh batteries. (And, naturally, that they know how to change flashlight batteries. They do, right?)
8. Social Media
Teens should never tweet or post or otherwise share on social media that they’re home alone.
9. Dead bolts
Finally—and this just might happen to be from personal experience—remind them not to chain the outside doors and not to lock screen doors (You know, the ones that no one carries keys for). Otherwise, parents will be ringing bells and banging on doors to rouse a (very safely) sleeping teenager.