Is your child ready to stay home alone?

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Some parents dread it, while others are anxiously awaiting it…the decision to leave your child home alone for the first time. How do you determine if your child is ready to stay home alone? Only a few states have laws that specify the age when a child can be left home alone, including Maryland (age 8) and Illinois (age 14). In Kansas and Missouri, state laws do not specify the age at which a child can be left home alone.

Most states have guidelines with the Department of Health and Human Services or other child protective agencies that test a child’s ability to be left home alone. According to the Child Welfare Reform Information Gateway, here are some questions to consider before leaving your child home alone:

  • Does your child feel comfortable being home alone?
  • Does your child obey rules and make good decisions?
  • Is your child physically and mentally able to care for himself?
  • How does your child respond to stressful situations?
  • How long will your child be left home alone?
  • What time of day will your child be left alone?
  • What routines well your child be responsible for? (i.e. Will your child need to fix a meal?)
  • Is your home safe and free of hazards?
  • How safe is your neighborhood?
  • Are there adults nearby that you trust and you are home and can offer mediate systems if there’s an emergency or if your child get scared?
  • Does your child know what to do if a visitor comes to the door?
  • Does your family have a safety plan for emergencies? Can your child follow this plan?
  • Does your child no his or her full name, address, and phone number?
  • Does your child know where you are and how to contact you at all times?
  • Does your child know who to contact if you cannot be reached? 

 

Once you have determined that your child is ready to stay home alone, the following tips may help prepare your child to feel more comfortable about staying home alone:

  1. Communicate. Encourage your child to share his feelings with you about staying home alone. Have this conversation before leaving and when you return.
  2. Establish rules. Make sure your child knows what is (and is not allowed) when you’re not home. Set clear limits.  Some experts suggest making a list of chores or other tasks to keep children busy while you are gone.
  3. Have a trial period. Leave your child home alone for a short time while walking the dog around the block or running a quick errand to the grocery store. This is a good way to see how your child will manage on their own.
  4. Role-play. Act out possible scenarios to help your child learn what to do if a visitor comes to the door and how to answer phone calls in a way that doesn’t reveal that a parent is not at home.
  5. Discuss emergencies. Talk about what your child considers an emergency and what you consider an emergency. Create a form with the plan and contact numbers in the event of an emergency.
  6. Prepare. Spend time with your child before you leave preparing simple snacks and meals, making sure doors are locked, reviewing house rules and expectations for behavior. This is a great opportunity to fill your child’s bucket and let them know how much you care about them and their safety.
  7. Check in. Call your child while you are away to see how everything is going. If you are not able to check in, ask a trusted neighbor or friend to do this for you.
  8. Don’t overdo it. Even a mature responsible child needs interaction with their peers and adults. Consider other options such as programs offered by schools, community centers, youth organizations or faith-based organizations.


If you determine your child is not ready to be left home alone consider these options for childcare:

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How to create your happiest year ever…

I love this time of year. The beginning of a new year. New goals. New aspirations. Excitement. Optimism. The start of something new brings the hope of something great!  We set goals to eat healthy, exercise more, lose weight, quit bad habits, be more productive…

Why do we set these goals?  

Is it because it’s the “right” thing to do, what we think we “should” do? Or, is it because doing these things will make us happy?

I challenge you, this year, to stop “shoulding” yourself and set your New Years resolutions based upon your soul’s deepest desire: HAPPINESS.  

Take a moment to reflect on your life. What moments do you remember with a smile? Is it busting your butt on the treadmill at 5am or is it that afternoon that you hiked through Tooth Fairy Forest with your family?

This year, instead of setting goals for things you SHOULD do, write a list of all the things that will make you HAPPY. Then, resolve to spend more time doing those things.  

Resolve to choose happiness above all “shoulds”.

I’m definitely not saying go hogwild on the fried chicken at Country Kitchen buffet or spend the year sitting on your couch laughing at reruns of Seinfeld. Those activities might make you happy in the moment, but when December 31, 2016 rolls around are those the moments that you will remember?

Resolve to create moments worth remembering.

I am certain this resolution will lead you to your HAPPIEST year yet!

What are your resolutions to create happiness? I’d love to read them!

A few of my resolutions to create happiness:

  1. Having FUN makes me happy…Spend more time playing, laughing and being silly.
  2. BALANCE in my life makes me happy…balance my time between work, play, relaxation, relationships, me-time, charity.
  3. SUCCESS and accomplishment makes me happy…Take daily action towards my life goals.
  4. Spending QUALITY TIME with my loved ones and friends makes me happy…have parties, celebrate everything, host more happy hours, lunch dates, put down my phone and Be present with people, snuggle my family and puppy.
  5. TRAVELING makes me happy…plan vacations, take road trips.
  6. Feeling HEALTHY makes me happy…walk the dog, walk with friends, do yoga, plan healthy meals, cook with my family, meditate.
  7. MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION makes me happy…spend time daily talking with my kids about topics beyond “how was your day”.  
  8. INSPIRING others makes me happy…write inspiring blogs, public speaking, write inspirational book, practice affirmations.
  9. Being KIND and HELPFUL makes me happy…continue working as a pediatric OT,  volunteer at kids’ school, volunteer on HOA board, do lots of random acts of kindness.
  10. Being CREATIVE makes me happy…write some more books (maybe with my kids), launch the Comfy Cup.
  11. Having FREEDOM and FREE TIME makes me happy…So I vow to practice saying “no thanks” to thongs and things that don’t make me happy! (haha, typo that I decided to leave in–because thongs don’t make me happy…I much prefer a cozy booty-covering underpant). No thanks to thongs that ride up my crack!  Also, no thanks to any THING doesn’t create FUN or FREE TIME or HAPPY AND MEMORABLE MOMENTS.

Each year, I choose a “word for the year”.  Several people have asked what my word is this year.

 This year, my word is HAPPINESS.

    What is yours? 

    5 Things To Do Before 2016

    Although the high temp in Lenexa is 56 degrees today.  (Woo Hoo!) It’s officially winter. Yes, winter is here and spring is just around the corner.  From now on, the days will gradually lengthen.  I love this time of year.  It’s a time for reflecting on everything you have.  All the things, people, and experiences you are grateful for. This is the time to look forward to a new beginning.  It’s the time for setting goals and intentions for the new year.

    Amidst the buzz of the holidays, take some time to quiet your mind and do these five things to prepare yourself for the new year:

    1. Make a list of all the things you love.

    2. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for.

    3. Answer these questions and set your intentions for 2015.

       -When are you the happiest?

       -What is something that you can share with others to improve their lives?

       -Where do you see yourself one year from now?

       -What is your personal mission statement?

       -What are your values?

    4. Make a vision board.

    5. Take time to play. Be silly and have fun.

    The greatest gift you have is the gift of creation.  You were born to create.  You are constantly creating and you probably don’t even realize it.  You create thoughts, love, kindness.

    You create your own future…what will you create in 2016?

    The BEST jeans for the kid that ONLY wears elastic waisted athletic pants.

    For the past two years, my 9-year old son’s wardrobe has rarely deviated from elastic waisted athletic pants.  We have endured tears and tantrums about putting on a pair of pants that have a zipper for class programs, weddings, and family portraits.

    I am not the mom who picks out their kids’ outfits everyday.  I’m exactly the opposite.  Anyone who has seen my kids on any given school day knows that I let my offspring choose their clothing–almost always.  

      A handful of times each year, I ask ny kids to wear something that matches and looks like they didn’t just roll out of bed or walk off the basketball court.  

    Special occasions requiring dressed-up attire have been a tearful, sweaty disaster with my big-guy.  UNTIL, my neighbor enlightened  me about Abercrombie & Fitch’s sweatpant stretch jeans.  

    That’s right.  SWEATPANT. JEANS. 

    Jeans that fit and feel like sweatpants. This is not a joke. This is a real thing. If you don’t know about it, you are missing out.

    After purchasing a pair of the $39.95 a&f straight sweatpant stretch jeans, my 9-year old son who hasn’t worn a pair of jeans without crying in 2-years exclaimed,

    “On a scale from 1-10, I give these a 9.75!”

    Then, HE WORE THEM TO SCHOOL! All day.  Without complaining. He even rode his bike around the block wearing them after school.

    I am getting ZERO kickbacks from a&f for this blog (although I would gladly except some in order to afford multiple pairs of these magical sweatpants jeans).  I wrote this so other mothers with “husky” “sensory-sensitive” boys can experience the bliss and freedom from a life lived solely in athletic pants.  
     Disclaimer: my husky 9-year old needed a size 14 in the skinny stretch jeans, so size up if your little man is a bigger-little man.

    Seriously…Give your family the gift of a athletic pant-free holiday and order some of these magical jeans today!  You will not regret it.  Especially when it’s time to go to Aunt Vivienne’s fancy China-clad Christmas Eve dinner and you kid wants to roll up to the table in his Under Armour apparel.

     A&F Sweatpant Stretch Jeans

    World’s best “how-to” book not found in the self-help section

    I absolutely love this post by Pam Grout. Our world is our canvas and our thoughts are our purple crayon.

    Pam Grout

    “Your opinion of yourself becomes your reality. If you have all these doubts, no one will believe in you and everything will go wrong. If you think the opposite, the opposite will happen. It’s that simple.”
–50 Cent


    My favorite how-to book will never be found in the self-help section of the bookstore. It was written long before the term self-help was even coined.

    It’s a children’s book called Harold and the Purple Crayon and it rivals Oprah when it comes to addressing the possibilities of the human condition.

    Written by Crockett Johnson in 1955, this little 65-page masterpiece tells the story of a little boy named Harold who decides to go out for a walk one evening. When there isn’t any moonlight (and, of course, everyone knows a good walk requires moonlight), Harold just takes out his purple crayon and draws the moon.

    He also needs a sidewalk (which he…

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    Houston, we have a winner…29 winners of the E3 Selfie Challenge

    I am a huge fan of Pam Grout and her awesome books that inspire me to realize the power we all have to create extraordinary lives.
    I also love vision boards (as you have probably figured out)…look what manifested from my vision board this time…a pair of tickets to one of Hay House’s “I CAN DO IT” conferences!
    What irony and awesomeness and excitement! Thank you, thank you, thank you Pam Grout for this amazing opportunity!

    Pam Grout

    “Remember…nobody wins unless everybody wins.”—Bruce Springstein
    E3 Bookie!!
    Gosh, you guys! It was utterly impossible to pick winners of the E-Cubed Selfie Challenge. Creativity and joy and excitement just oozed out of every entry. In the end, I had to throw all the entries in a hat and eenie-minie mo it.

    Seriously, you guys are all SO. COOL! I feel honored to be sharing the same planet with you. I did notice a couple trends. Quite a few of you will soon be traveling and publishing books. At least five of you want to meet Ellen DeGeneres although I also got a kick out of the entrant that wants to meet Brett Favre.

    I wish from the bottom of my heart I could give away prizes to every last one of you. I really, really do. You all deserve it! And I can’t wait to hear the stories about how all your…

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    Practice Patience

    Spread Loving Kindness

    It’s Monday, so, I thought I would leave you with an act of kindness that is very simple.

    In our busy society, we often are hurrying from one thing to the other. Our mind is focused on completing this step as quickly as possible so we can move on to what is next.
    Occasionally, we encounter an obstacle. A stoplight. A trafficjam. An illness. Or, a shoelace that needs to be tied.
    The one simple act of kindness that you can practice during these moments is patience.
    Take a deep breath. Smile. And wait–patiently.
    Think about it, what will happen if you get to the next thing a few minutes late? In the grand scheme of your life, is a few minutes worth huffing and puffing about? When we practice patience, we are doing an act of kindness for ourselves and for others. Without any words, we are saying, “I…

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    Don’t give things up, give them out!

    I am so grateful for my awesome friend, Kate, who is spreading love and kindness this Lent season.
    #Spreadlovingkindness 😘

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    Spread Loving Kindness

    I dropped in to see my friend, Kate, this morning. I was so inspired by her family’s plans for Lent that I just have to share them…

    Lent is a season when several denominations of the Christian faith acknowledge the ways they have turned away from God in their lives and focus on turning their hearts and minds back toward God.
    Lent is often associated with “giving up something”. However, my friend, Kate, and her family have decided to turn their hearts and minds toward God by giving out something.
    Kate showed me a grid of 40 Random Acts Of Kindness that her family has committed to complete over the next 40 days.
    They kicked off there went season by placing flowers and kind notes on the windshield of strangers car is in the Walmart parking lot. Today, they are practicing holding the door open for others and saying, “after…

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    Be a cheerleader

    Spread Loving Kindness

    One of my absolutely most favorite things to do is to be my friends’ BIGGEST cheerleader. Whether it is supporting their growing costume business, sending them encouraging text messages during their 100 mile bike race around Lake Tahoe, or using social media to spread the word about their latest book release, I love, love, love to cheer my friends on.
    Everyone has a unique gift to share with the world and I just get all giddy and goose-bumpy when I see my friends following their dreams.
    I bet you know someone who is working towards a dream.
    How can you encourage them?
    Your mission today, if you choose to except it, is to encourage that friend to continue with their dream. Maybe you like their Facebook page about their new business, or send them an encouraging message. Whatever it is do it with all of the love and kindness in…

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    Namaste.

    Spread Loving Kindness

    An act of kindness does not have to be a physical act or spoken word. An act of kindness can be as simple as giving someone a silent blessing. Some call this prayer, but to me, saying a prayer is challenging, it requires some thought. In my busy brain, I need something more simple. I prefer to “namaste”.
    You might think that “namaste” is just a word you say at the end of your yoga class. But, do you know what that word means?

    Namaste: I respect the presence of God within you; I bow to the God within you.

    With that one simple word, you can send love, respect, and kindness to others.
    I have to admit, I started this practice as a means to find peace and love when I encountered people that I didn’t particularly enjoy being around. When I was in their presence, I would silently…

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