If your child gets home before you do, you don’t want them crouching outside the door waiting for you to get home. Yet at the same time, you may feel concerned about whether your child is responsible enough to keep the house key safe. Again, with the increase in residential break-ins, leaving your front doors unlocked to allow your kids access when they get home gives room for opportunity burglary. Issuing your child with a house key is clearly a very difficult decision to make. This article points out some key considerations to help you make this crucial decision.
Is your child old enough to say home alone?
While age is an important factor in growth and maturity, the decision to give your child a house key shouldn’t be guided by age only. There are more factors to take into consideration. Canada Safety Council (CSC) stipulates that legally, a child below the age of 12 cannot be left alone at home unsupervised. And even when your child is 12 years, home alone shouldn’t mean four-plus hours of solitude.
This said, your child can be 12 years but unprepared to handle the house keys. Paying attention to other indicators of maturity will help you decide if this is the right time. For example, does your child do their homework independently? Can they follow simple directions in the house? Are they constantly losing things? Combining your instinct as a parent with such indicators will help you decide whether this is the right time to issue your child with their copy of key, or whether you should wait a little longer.
Is Your Child Prepared?
You can’t wake up one morning and hand over some set of keys to your child. No matter how mature your child is, they still need preparation. To start with, just in case of an emergency, you need to ensure that your child has your full details. Details such as your phone number, contacts of your workplace and contacts of other close family members. Additionally, can your child do simple things such as heating food in the microwave? Does your child know a few basic first aid procedures? Before giving your child a house key, you must be sure they are prepared to stay alone in the house. Once you’ve ascertained that your child is ready to have their key, practice locking and unlocking the door until it’s a breeze for them.
Frequency of time spent home alone
You also need to consider whether your child will need to unlock the door every day or just occasionally when you’re out running an errand. If it’s an everyday thing, you need to minimize the chances of losing the key by securing it with a lanyard that can either be worn around their neck or attached on their backpack. On this note, for security reasons, never opt for key hideaways. Most burglars do their homework before breaking in, so if you keep the key under a doormat, you’ll be comprising the security of your home. If you don’t want your child walking around with latched keys or a lanyard hanging on their neck, opt for keyless entries such as smart locks (these make safer options).
When deciding on whether it’s the right time to give your child their set of keys, consider the law, your child’s maturity, their preparedness, and frequency of time spent home alone. Start slowly by leaving your child for say 20 minutes, and gradually extend the time. For more information Winnipeg residential locksmith services, please feel free to get in touch with LocksmithMAN right away!