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Three Vital Steps To Keeping Latchkey Kids Safe

2006, All Rights Reserved Watch the nightly news and you'll quickly hear enough scary tales to make your skin crawl. Kids that never made it home from school, emergencies happening that they weren't equipped to handle and other disturbing problems that most parents don't want to think about. The truth is, the only way to navigate around these horrors is for you and your kid(s) to think about them and to prepare for them. A lack of control is what makes most situations frightening. When you empower yourself and your children, you gain back control and are better equipped to overcome the circumstances at hand. Let's look at the three areas where most problems occur for latchkey kids and how to ensure your children don't fall victim.

1. Know When Your Kid(s) Get Home - Make it a practice for your children to call you the minute they walk in the door. If they leave later (to go to a friend's house or to play ball with the neighborhood crowd), repeat the routine. As soon as they get back, they should phone you. What if your kids simply don't remember? There are many home security alarm systems equipped with automatic notification settings. This allows you to be sent a text message or email when your kids enter the house. That will certainly put an end to the "Sorry, Mom. I forgot!" excuse.

2. Plan Ahead for Emergencies - Strangers ringing the bell, a cooking mishap that leads to fire or roughhousing that goes too far are all pathways to disaster. What would your child do in these instances? Would s/he know what to do? Could s/he handle the situation if no adults were around? Take time to write down then think through each type of emergency your child might encounter. If A happens, your child should know to do B. Then review the settings on your home security alarms. Many offer different programming options for various areas of your home. Does yours provide special settings to keep unwanted visitors out of the house? Can it automatically notify the proper authorities? Understanding what's available to you can make all the difference in the world.

3. Have Help Available - Kids are still kids. Even with a great deal of planning, they may simply panic, especially if they are younger children. There should always be help available. Is there a neighbor close by you can trust? Do your parents live just a few minutes away? You'll want to have an adult readily available and able to get to your house within a short period of time, just in case something drastic happens. Another option - for those that have home security alarms - is to enable the two-way communication feature. That way, without even picking up the phone, your kids can instantly speak with trained professionals about whatever type of emergency they are having. Plan, prepare, empower. When you take time to think through the scary stuff, you enable yourself and your child to create a substantially safer environment you'll both feel better about.


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