Staying home alone is a milestone in a child’s development that rewards their growing sense of responsibility and helps them build confidence. These are some signs a parent can look for to determine if your child is ready to take care of themselves for short time periods, along with steps for getting your child and house ready.
Deciding If Your Child Is Ready To Stay Home Alone
- Know your local laws. Kids develop at their own individual pace so legal restrictions are just part of the picture. Many experts suggest that ages 10 to 12 is a typical threshold period for starting self-care. Your local police department or Child Protective Services agency can advise you on the laws for your jurisdiction.
- Determine if your child is willing. Ensure your child wants to stay on their own. Otherwise, the experience can backfire and create more fears and anxieties.
- Examine your child’s track record. Look for evidence of taking responsibility and demonstrating sound judgment. Does your child get himself ready for school? Is his homework consistently done on time with minimal supervision?
Steps To Take With Your Child
- Test it out first. Build up to leaving a child alone for longer stretches. Start out with quick visits to a neighbor or trips to a local store. Discuss any issues that arise. Praise them for managing on their own and looking after the house.
- Rehearse difficult scenarios. Train your child on how to answer the phone and door when no adult is present. Get together and role play about how to call 911 and respond to other emergencies.
- Discuss all the rules. People of all ages are more likely to obey rules when they participate in making them and buy into the reasoning behind them. Many kids also need occasional reminders about anything that occurs infrequently.
- Schedule check ins. Create the feeling of supervision. Ask a neighbor to check in while you’re out. Require your child to call you when they arrive home or if they plan on going out.
- Develop a guest policy. Ban all guests if you think that’s safest. Otherwise you may want to specify which individuals are allowed over and limit the number at any one time.
- Plan activities. Boredom can lead to trouble. Give your kids something to do, so, for example, they’ll play a board game instead of making prank phone calls.
Steps To Take With Your House
- Post emergency numbers. Stick a list of important contacts on the refrigerator door and by each phone. Include the police and fire departments, your family doctor and your own numbers.
- Limit internet access. Some parents prefer to shut down internet access completely. In any case, talk with your kids about staying safe online and remaining alert to their surroundings.
- Provide safe snacks and meals. Put the stove off limits to younger kids. Leave them with food that’s ready to eat or can just be heated in the microwave.
- Remove hazards. Double check that matches and prescription drugs are out of reach. Get rid of any toxic products that you’re unlikely to use.
- Secure all windows and doors. Check that everything is locked, including the garage. Give a spare key to a neighbor in case your child loses their own. Teach kids to go to a neighbor’s house and call the police if they see a broken window or other signs of a possible break-in.
Work schedules and other obligations make child care challenging for many families. If your kids are ready to stay home alone, taking care of themselves can be a great solution that encourages a healthy sense of independence. Otherwise, provide adult supervision until your family is prepared for this big step.
Do you want a marriage that’s filled with passion, excitement and mutual respect? The key to experiencing the type of marriage you’ve always dreamed about is effective communication.
At the foundation of every intimate relationship is communication. The greater the depth of communication, the stronger the bond is between you and your spouse.
Marriages survive and thrive when each person shares their thoughts and feelings on a regular basis. You develop trust in your relationship by sharing your heart and allowing yourself to become vulnerable. You make that trust grow when you resolve to become a person that makes your spouse feel safe to open up and be vulnerable as well.
Your marriage relationship can often cause complicated emotions within the both of you. If you commit to seeing the other person’s point of view and creating an atmosphere of safety and open communication, however, you can experience a close marriage relationship even when life presents its biggest challenges.
These tips can help you communicate effectively with your spouse:
Above all, love each other. Decide that being loving is more important than being right. If you’re willing to concede in a disagreement, you can diffuse many angry situations without them escalating into a major confrontation.
- Notice the warning signs of an escalating discussion. If you’re starting to raise your voice or say hurtful things to your partner, take a walk and cool off. Instead of thinking about all the reasons the other person is wrong, examine the part you might have played in things getting to this level.
- When you return, apologize for your part in the disagreement. Usually, both parties shoulder some part of the blame in an argument. Then, calmly express your feelings.
- Be careful to speak in terms of how things have affected you, instead of pointing fingers at the other person. Think of the discussion as one you would have with a teammate that is trying to solve the problem, and not as an enemy that must be defeated at all costs.
Many people think that compromise is an ugly word. However, learning to compromise is a valuable key to peace in your home and in your marriage relationship. Decide that you’ll seek a win-win solution in every situation. When you face a disagreement, think about how both of you can get what you want and need.
- If you both give in a little, you show each other that you’re committed to the relationship above all else. You show your love for your partner in a tangible way when you sacrifice a little of what you want for the good of both of you.
Listen Effectively. Many disagreements are caused by a failure to listen attentively and empathetically to your partner. If you learn to listen effectively, your arguments will be shorter and your marriage will be a sweet fellowship of two people who love each other.
- When the other person is speaking, resist the temptation to interrupt. Instead of thinking about what you’re going to say to counter your partner’s statements, pay close attention. When your spouse is finished, repeat in your own words what was said. Say, “What I hear you saying is… Is that what you’re saying?”
- This gives your spouse a chance to correct your understanding if you’ve misunderstood what was said. It also shows your partner that you care about solving the problem instead of simply winning the argument. You’ll experience greater emotional intimacy and a quicker resolution that both of you can be happy with.
Strive to embrace difficult conversations as an opportunity to deepen your relationship and show your spouse how much you care. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes, seek a solution that makes both of you happy, and let go of the need to be right. If you do, you’ll experience a vibrant, exciting marriage relationship that survives the tough times and lasts a lifetime.
Our society relies heavily on credit to make major purchases. Credit can even be used for smaller purchases. Even phone companies check your credit when you want to start phone service. Plus, prospective employers sometimes check your credit as well. It’s never too soon to begin building your credit.
It can take several month or even a few years to establish a good credit score. It’s smart to establish an excellent credit history before you need it. Learn about credit and how you can use it effectively to build a high credit score.
What’s Important for a Great Credit Score?
There are three primary components of a credit score:
Your payment history. Do you pay your bills on time? Then you’re perfect. Late payments and collection actions seriously damage your credit.
The length of your credit history. If you’ve only had credit for a couple of months, your score will be lower than if you’ve been using credit for several years, assuming everything else is equal. That’s why it’s important to get started today.
Your utilization ratio. If your credit card limit is $2,000 and your balance is $1,000, your utilization ratio is 50%. Always keep your utilization below 35%. Any higher than this will result in a lower credit score.
By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll can figure out how to build a great credit score. Acquire credit, make your payments on time, and keep your credit card balances low. It’s also helpful to have a good mix of credit.
How You Can Build Your Credit
Build your credit successfully from scratch with these strategies:
Open a bank account if you don’t already have one. This will help you with your local bank. When you’re a reliable customer, it will help in the future. Remember that your local bank has a credit card program. They also provide other types of lending.
- While a bank account won’t affect your credit score, it can help you to acquire credit with your bank.
Ask your bank for a secured loan. Ask for a loan against your savings account balance. You can easily borrow 90% of your current balance. Banks love to make these loans because they can’t lose money. If you default, they’ll take the money out of your account themselves.
- Take the money you’ve borrowed and use this same money to pay off the loan. Make a few payments and then pay off the full amount.
Acquire two credit cards. This can be very easy if you’re a college student. Fill out a few credit card applications and see what happens. If you can’t acquire a conventional credit card, look into secured credit cards. After using a secured card responsibly for several months, you should be able to get a conventional card.
- Avoid getting two of the same type of card. Mix it up. Get a Visa or MasterCard and an American Express or store card.
- Use the cards regularly, but only for small purchases. Be sure to pay your bill on time and avoid carrying a balance. Each month, pay off what you’ve charged.
Pay all of your bills on time. Thirty-five percent of your credit score is related to your payment history. Late payments can be recorded with the credit bureaus and damage your budding credit score. This includes your utilities and even possibly your rent. Sit down once a week and pay your bills so you can keep a handle on them.