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What do you like best and/or least about being home alone?

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Home Alone: Ideas for House Rules Many families set down some house rules to make sure that everyone has a safe and happy home environment. These rules will probably change as you get older.
Topics on Home Alone:
Are You Ready?
Ideas for House Rules
Alone With Siblings
Emergencies
Have Fun Alone!
From the Mentors
House Rules Jessi remembers that when she and Joey first started staying home alone, they weren't allowed to open the door for anyone or have any friends over. Now that they've proved that they're trustworthy, Jessi's allowed to invite over any friend that her mom knows well.

Every family has different rules, but here are some rule ideas to discuss with a parent:

"Key" issues!

  • At school, keep your house keys hidden inside a pocket, purse or wallet.
  • Don't wear your keys around your wrist or on a necklace.
  • Don't loan out your key. You might consider leaving an extra key with a neighbor you trust in case you're locked out.
  • Hiding a key under a rock or a flowerpot isn't a good idea...that's the first place burglars will look!
  • When you get home, have your key ready to get in the home so you don't have to fumble with the lock.

"Closed Door" policy

  • Don't open the door to anyone except a sibling or parent.
  • Keep all doors locked, at all times.

Checking In
Once you've made it home, call your parent or guardian to let them know that everything's cool.

Phone calls

  • Screen your phone calls using "Caller ID" or an answering machine.
  • Only pick up the phone if it's a parent or guardian, relative, or friends who your parents know.
  • If you do answer the phone and a telemarketer asks for a parent, just say that he or she is busy and can't come to the phone. Never tell a stranger on the phone that you're home alone!

Snacktime
If you feel nervous about using appliances like the toaster, oven, or microwave, you may want to stock up on snacks you don't have to heat up.

Visiting Friends
Most people have a rule that no friends are allowed in the house when they're home alone. This may be no fun but in the end, is safer for everyone.

Stay Inside
Your parents may want you to stay home and not go anywhere-- not even a friend's house, local park, or store.

No Internet
Many parents, including Jessi's and Joey's mom, ask their kids to wait until a parent is home before going online.

These may sound pretty strict, but you'll be surprised how quickly they become part of your routine...and how they help you feel safe!

Routines are very important when you're home alone. Jessi and Joey shared their after-school drill:

  • Get home and call Mom to check in
  • Relax, get a snack
  • Do homework
  • Read a magazine or book, or watch TV until Mom comes home

Keeping a routine is more challenging when you have a brother or sister to watch. In the next section we look at what happens when you're Alone with Siblings.

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You're In Charge
All in a day's work when
You're In Charge!

Vote Now
Your friend calls you and asks you to come over, even though it violates the house rules. You:
Go to his house
        because it's just
        around the
        corner.
Invite your friend
        over instead.
Tell your friend
        sorry but you
        can't right now.



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