What images do you conjure when thinking about your kids being home alone?  In the 1990 movie, 8-year-old Kevin is accidentally left alone as his family heads to a vacation destination.  His mother has a completely different reaction than Kevin.  While his mother grows wide-eyed and wrought with fright, Kevin is gleeful, jumping on beds, using his dad’s shaving products, and enjoying domestic solitude as only an 8-year-old can.

That is Hollywood, but in reality, the potential dangers related to kids being home alone are real, leaving little room for comic relief.  However, when considering solutions and advancements in technology, the notion of leaving children home may not be so scary.  Actually, it may make a lot of sense and seem more practical compared to traditional alternatives.

Traditional Solutions

Afterschool Programs
The cost of afterschool programs are not cheap.  It’s estimated that parents will spend between a couple hundred to well over a few thousand dollars per month (per child) for programs at schools, local YMCAs, and privately-owned centers.

Moreover, some programs charge added fees for late pickups, same-day cancellations, and transporting kids.  Afterschool programs and centers, only open during the week and working hours, poses a problem for parents who want to leave home in the evenings or enjoy personal time on the weekends.

Babysitters and Nannies
Due to the limitations of centers and preferences of parents, some decide to hire babysitters and nannies.  However, likewise, the cost of a qualified sitter is steep.

 

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Additionally, it requires effort and energy to find, research, and trust a stranger.

 

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Nannies and babysitters with great experience and references may provide a service similar to daycare centers, making a portion of their homes a care center.  Driving to the nanny’s home creates an additional inconvenience for parents, and a sitter handling additional children limits one-on-one care.

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Modern Solutions

Track Your Kids
An in-between solution entails allowing your child to stay at home in conjunction with going to local homes of friends and family members.  While it may be awkward and costly to lean on a friend or member of the family full time, parents can leverage the community.

Footprints is one in a list of apps for paranoid parents.  It tracks a child’s movements throughout the day, logging waypoints. Parents stay aware of their child’s location at all times.

The app also lets parents set limits regarding how far a child can go from home or school.  The app’s Geofence notification tracks when a child has ventured outside of a predetermined area.  The app syncs with an iPhone or iPad, so a parent can stay focused at work or while running chores.

 

Monitor Your Front Door
Child researchers urge parents to balance nurturing kids with encouraging maturity.  There is no set moment a child becomes mature or old enough to be trusted at home alone, yet security solutions let parents give children the opportunity to earn trust.  Video doorbells alert out-of-home parents of visitors.  Also, it’s easy for kids to check in with parents when they get home, or for parents to see when their children arrive through the front door.

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Even better, with the free app, parents see and speak with visitors who remain unaware that unsupervised children are inside.  Parents stay vigilant while kids don’t have to be afraid of who is at the door. Maintain a clear view night and day of what’s going on at your front door while included motion sensors act as your second set of eyes and ears, delivering instant mobile alerts to your phone. With this smart doorbell, you can rest assured, knowing who’s stopping by the house at all times – especially when you’re not home but the kids are.

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Keep Your Keys
Handing over house keys to a child or hiding a spare along the property causes anxiety.  While giving kids more responsibility can be a good thing, it’s too easy to think of mishaps involving lost or misplaced keys.  Now, remote parents can maintain keys, grant kids access to the home, and ensure the doors stay locked and secured.  It also comes with a mini remote.  Though parents may be reluctant to hand over house keys, they may feel comfortable enough to allow kids to access the house via a handheld control pad.

 

Control Your Appliances
Knowing where your kids are, who is at the front door, and when the door is locked are incredible solutions.  Yet some parents feel tense about what may take place inside the home.  What if a child puts too much detergent in the washer?  What if they try to use the oven?  What if they leave all the lights on?

A Wi-Fi-enabled switch allows parents to control home appliances.  Control lights, televisions, ovens, and a lot more while you’re away.   Alternatively, put your devices on a schedule, allowing kids to have partial control over the home while you protect them (and your devices) from afar.

When it comes to children, achieving peace of mind will always be essential, but today’s solutions make it more practical and much safer for kids to be home alone.  Today’s parents don’t have to settle on costly afterschool programs or babysitters.  Wi-Fi-enabled and remote-controlled house elements give parents the integral peace of mind along with plenty of safe and smart options.