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Children Staying Home Alone

Now the kids are back in school for another year, are you wondering what to do with your children for those few hours before and after school while you are at work? Is your child expressing an interest to stay home alone instead of going to an organized before and after- school program or a babysitter? How do you know if your child is ready for this new responsibility?

London Children's Connection in partnership with the London Public Library has an amazing program called “I’m Home” that helps prepare your child (ages 10-12) to safely stay home alone. The program is offered at various London Public Library locations throughout the year. When our youngest turned 10, we registered him in the program and were very impressed with the valuable information he gained.

In addition to basic safety issues (ie. Don’t open the door to strangers), the program also covers such topics as: what to do if the toilet overflows, general first-aid, and how to make healthy snacks without using the oven. They introduce children to the “I’m Home Kids Phone” , and for homework, have them practice calling it so that they become familiar with the voice on the other end. This allows them to be comfortable calling if an actual need arises. Another nice feature of the program is that they have the children select a neighbor who will be home during this time. This is someone they feel comfortable with and will go to if they forget or lose their key, are approached by a bully on the way home, or for whatever reason don’t feel safe going home alone.

It’s great having that piece of mind knowing that your child has an action plan in case a problem arises. Parents also attend a portion of the program separate from the kids. This is a great opportunity for you to meet with other parents and discuss any concerns, as well as offer tips and advice. The cost for this program is $28, and financial assistance is available. Registration is required and the programs fill up quickly. Check out Library Programs to find out when the next session begins.