It’s not easy being the parent of a “latchkey kid,” a child who’s left at home alone during the period after school but before Mom or Dad get home from work. It’s a time when they’re vulnerable not just to intruders, but also to the temptations that go along with having an extra little bit of freedom – even if it’s only for a couple of hours.
School’s back in session, so it’s a good time to talk about what parents can do to make sure their children remain safe – and out of trouble – while they’re home alone. Safety and security is what Monitronics does best, so (naturally) we have some ideas that will help ease everyone’s mind.
Start with the basics
It’d be nice if kids would sit quietly and waited for their parents to get home, but it just doesn’t work that way. That’s why it’s important to set ground rules. Much of it is common sense, like making sure that homework is complete before video games begin, or letting them know that certain parts of the house are off-limits when they’re alone.
But don’t be afraid to dig deeper. For example, it seems drastic to limit the number of friends who are allowed in the house after school, or even to specifically call out which “friends” aren’t welcome. But it doesn’t take long for peer pressure to build, and for mild temptations to become serious situations.
Have an honest, candid dialogue to discuss everyone’s expectations. There may be some room for compromise; don’t hesitate to meet your kids halfway, but stick to your guns.
Trust, but verify
Once the ground rules have been established, how do you know that everything is going according to plan? One easy way is through video security cameras at strategic locations throughout the house.
Everyone knows that video surveillance is a proven deterrent to burglars when no one is home. But it’s also a valuable way of keeping tabs on what’s happening when the kids are on their own. You not only make sure that the rules are being followed, but you also can be alerted to any trouble at a moment’s notice through text and email. Plus, there’s always recorded video that can help settle any disputes about what “really happened.”
Accessing live video through your smartphone doesn’t make you a spy. It doesn’t make you a distrustful parent. It makes you feel secure knowing that everything is OK.
Security starts at the door
Video also extends to the front door, with video doorbells like SkyBell HD. You can see who’s at the front door any time of day, which is especially important when your kids are home alone. You can get an alert on your smartphone, check out the video, and even speak to the person remotely. It’s a simple but powerful security tool.
Ultimately, though, the most important thing is knowing they arrived home safely. SkyBell (which can track visitors even when they don’t ring the doorbell) can play an important role, but you can also get real-time alerts through smart-home door locks. Plus, if they accidentally get locked out, you can let them in with a swipe of your finger.
Those are just a few of the ways that you can help make your kids safer when you can’t be home. Call Monitronics today and we’ll give you some more ideas.