Is it OK to leave a child alone in the house?

Is it OK to leave a child alone in the house?

If you and your partner both work, the hours between school ending and arriving home from work can be tricky. However, unless your child has reached his teens or is especially mature, allowing him to let himself in after school is not advisable. Statistics show ‘latch-key’ kids are more likely to use alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs than children who are supervised when they get home. That said, there’s no need to quit your job just yet. Here are a few after-school options for keeping your little angel out of trouble:

Keep him busy

Home alone boyWhy not use the time to broaden your child’s interests? Encourage him to enrol in after school activities like sports and drama clubs, or sign him up for music lessons.

Call in favours

Speak to family members about taking your child after school, or perhaps you have a friend who’ll agree to sit with him.

Join clubs

Speak to your child’s teacher about after-school clubs in your area. These may be held in your child’s school, another local school or somewhere else altogether. Sometimes playworkers will even pick up children from school and escort them to the club, where there’ll be a range of fun activities on offer.

Book a babysitter

If you can afford it, it could be worthwhile paying an after-school babysitter or childminder to watch your child at home.

Rent-a-mum

Ask around your child’s friends’ families. Maybe one or two would be willing to watch your son until you arrived home from work for a small fee.

If none of this is possible then you can still supervise your child from a distance. Give him a set time when he is expected to arrive home and arrange for him to check in with a neighbour or call you. You should also agree on a set routine (no TV until he has done his homework, for example) and helpful telephone numbers should be stuck to the fridge in case of an emergency.

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