Latchkey kids are kids who are left alone after school until their parents return home from work. They are referred to as "latchkey" because they have their own keys to their homes that unlatch their front doors. The kids are expected to come straight home after school, use their keys to enter their homes, and stay put until the parents come home. If you are planning on allowing your child to be a latchkey kid, here are some ways to help your child remain safe.
Employ Locksmith Services to Fashion a Special Key
Kids who are given the privilege of being by themselves after school will understand how special this trust is when you give them their own special key. Take your child to a locksmith, like Stephen K Migoley, and have your child pick out an uncut key that they really like. So many patterns, colors, and special kid-friendly characters are now imprinted on keys that it makes this moment really special. The locksmith will then grind this key to match your own. Be sure to have your child test the key in the door lock when you get home to make sure it works properly.
Role-Play Stranger Approaches
The biggest danger for latchkey kids are strangers or people they know a little bit approaching them from outside the house. These people could easily overpower your child, force their way into your home with your child while your child is opening the door, or steal the key and use it later to break into your home. Create some situations where your child might be in danger, and then role-play these situations until your child clearly understands how to protect him/herself in these situations. The faster your child can get into the house, the better. Stopping to talk to people puts latchkey kids at risk.
Locking the Door and Calling You
Finally, it is very important that your latchkey kid locks the door once he or she is inside the house or apartment. He or she should call you right away to let you know that he/she is safe and that the door is locked. Practice this as well until your child has got it down. If anything unusual happens, your child should also call you (e.g., someone banging on the door or asking to be let in). If your child's key ever goes missing or is stolen, you will need a locksmith to change the locks and refashion a spare key for your child.