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Prepare children to stay home alone during spring break

The spring break from school may result in children staying home alone.  A video training program from UW-Extension can help prepare children to stay home unsupervised.  The program teaches families how to develop a plan for emergencies.
 
Renee Koenig is the Family Educator at UW-Extension in Kewaunee County, she helped create the videos.  She says kids need to feel safe when home alone. 
 

 

 
“Parents want to feel confident about leaving their children unsupervised, that’s why we encourage parents to sit down with their children and watch the videos together.”  Koenig instructs parents to talk with their children about how they will handle difficult situations that could happen.  Setting family rules can keep children safe.  The video program provides tips for structuring the children’s time alone so they have plenty of activities to keep them busy and out of trouble.
  
There is no magic age at which children develop the maturity and good sense needed to stay alone.  But here are three signs that your child may be ready:
 
1. Your child indicates desire and willingness to stay alone.
2. Your child accepts responsibility and makes decisions.  For example, your child will follow your written directions for chores that need to be done while you are away.
3. Your child shows awareness of what others need.
 
For many children, these abilities can appear between 9 and 12 years of age.  Other children need more time.
 
“We hope this video training program will provide parents with the tools to put them at ease,” Koenig says.
 
Access the Home Alone video training online at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/homealone/ or contact Renee Koenig at renee.koenig@uwex.edu.

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