Latchkey Kids

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

Latchkey Kids

Postby softcoach » Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:57 pm

My 2 girls (P5 & P4) are currently in a Student Care centre near their school. I am thinking of pulling them out and leaving them alone at home after their exams in Oct/Nov. We do not have a maid or any other help to look after them. Appreciate any advice on how I can help my girls get ready to be alone and independant. They have been in a BASC since N2. Thanks!

softcoach
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Postby Angelight » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:08 pm

Hi softcoach,

I was a latchkey child cos my mum got to work to provide for the family. What she did was to wake up early to prepare lunch for us which she kept in a warm flask. She also gave me and my sis a house key each in case we were in different sessions. It's more tough for my mother, but my sis and I learnt independence and to be self-reliant at a young age.

Angelight
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Postby cherrygal » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:19 pm

I was also a latchkey kid from Sec1. I would hang out with my other latchkey classmates and have lunch at MacDonald's before going home. Sometimes, I would cook instant noodles for myself. In my recollection, my latchkey days were fun! So much time for myself but I also had the initiative to study and complete my homework without supervision.

You have to make sure your kids can do their schoolwork unsupervised. You should also instil some house rules and do spotchecks occasionally. Some latchkey kids end up mixing with the wrong bunch of friends and go galivanting instead.

cherrygal
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Postby softcoach » Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:33 pm

Thanks Angelight and Cherrygal for your replies :D . Both my girls have not been left alone for more than 2 hours before and I feel kinda bad placing them at home alone.

I have decided to take them out of BASC partly because of the cost incurred, and partly because of their heavy school work. In addition to their already heavy school work, the BASC is piling them with centre assessments and worksheets. I have spoken to the BASC teachers to allow my girls to concentrate on their school work but my girls still feel the pressure given by the BASC teachers to complete both sets of work – for school and for their BASC.

Hopefully, they would have more time to rest and do quality work at home, as well as learn to be more self-reliant. I am planning to take a few days leave during the Dec holidays to work out an agreed schedule with the girls and sort out 'logistics'.

I hope you can share with me more on how I can help my kids... eg. start taking initiative to complete their homework, study, on their own; safety/emotional aspects to take note of. Thanks for your time and help!

Appreciate the inputs from this forum ….

softcoach
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Postby Angelight » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:27 pm

Softcoach, I can understand how you feel abt leaving your kids at home alone. My mum didn't have a choice then, but my sis and I turn out fine. So don't feel guilty. I'm sure your kids will understand.

Before I share with you my own experience, I must add that every child is different. Kids during our era were also more subservient and less rebellious. You should know your kids better than anyone, so apply he appropriate monitoring and discipline as you deem fit.

How to prepare your latchkey kids:

1. Set your own house rules and make sure they comply. Otherwise, there will be consequences for them to bear. For my, or rather, my mother's case, it's caning.

2. If you are not preparing lunch for them, give them enough pocket money to eat outside. But make sure they come home STRAIGHT after school and lunch (unless on days they have activities or tuition).

3. Make sure you call home often to check on them. Don't ask your kids to call you cos kids nowadays have handphones and with mobiles, they can call from ANYWHERE.

4. Set them timetables to eat lunch, do homework, shower, take a nap etc so they know what is expected of them.

5. Emphasise safety and caution them to be wary of strangers at all times. Tell them to NEVER open or even answer doors from strangers.

6. Give them your contact and other emergency numbers in times of emergency like kids not feeling well or accidents at home etc.

7. If your job is time-flexible, make a surprise home-check so your kids know that they are always being 'watched'.

8. When your kids are older, you can also ask them to help prepare dinner like soaking/washing vegetables and thaw the frozen food first before you come home to cook.

9. Make sure you check your kids' schoolwork after you come home, and spend quality time bonding with them.

10. Reward your kids when they show good discipline coping alone at home and always assure them of your love and concern.

Hmmm...10 tips. Hope that helps. :D


softcoach wrote:Thanks Angelight and Cherrygal for your replies :D . Both my girls have not been left alone for more than 2 hours before and I feel kinda bad placing them at home alone.

I have decided to take them out of BASC partly because of the cost incurred, and partly because of their heavy school work. In addition to their already heavy school work, the BASC is piling them with centre assessments and worksheets. I have spoken to the BASC teachers to allow my girls to concentrate on their school work but my girls still feel the pressure given by the BASC teachers to complete both sets of work – for school and for their BASC.

Hopefully, they would have more time to rest and do quality work at home, as well as learn to be more self-reliant. I am planning to take a few days leave during the Dec holidays to work out an agreed schedule with the girls and sort out 'logistics'.

I hope you can share with me more on how I can help my kids... eg. start taking initiative to complete their homework, study, on their own; safety/emotional aspects to take note of. Thanks for your time and help!

Appreciate the inputs from this forum ….

Angelight
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Postby cherrygal » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:30 pm

softcoach wrote:
I have decided to take them out of BASC partly because of the cost incurred, and partly because of their heavy school work. In addition to their already heavy school work, the BASC is piling them with centre assessments and worksheets. I have spoken to the BASC teachers to allow my girls to concentrate on their school work but my girls still feel the pressure given by the BASC teachers to complete both sets of work – for school and for their BASC.

I hope you can share with me more on how I can help my kids... eg. start taking initiative to complete their homework, study, on their own; safety/emotional aspects to take note of. Thanks for your time and help!


Hi softcoach
Why don't you try a home-based afterschool care instead? I was surfing around and found one in Hougang. Think the family lives in a big flat and has extra space for 5 - 8 kids. They said they will supervise schoolwork, provide lunch etc. Not too bad if you don't want additional worksheets.

IMHO, it's too early for primary school kids to be latchkey kids. You can maybe have a trial period during the school holidays and see if they can manage.

Although I was a latchkey kid, I always knew what time my parents will come home. My mom always returned to prepare dinner and we will have family dinners everyday. This is important as it binds the family together. Even if I was out shopping with friends, I made sure I rushed home by 6pm for dinner. This "rule" will help you prevent your kids from going out till late esp when they reach their teens.

As for safety issues, you gotta put a list of emergency contacts by the phone just in case. Tell them not to open the door for strangers. If you have trustworthy neighbors, tell them to help keep an eye on your kids. And since they are girls, teach them not to enter lifts with strangers, and always be alert. I like to use newspaper cuttings of real-life incidents to educate the kid. There is a recent article about such molest cases.

cherrygal
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Postby EN » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:54 pm

I was a latchkey kid at the age of 9. So do my children age 9 and 11.

Besides the listing done by Angelight, you will need to gauge how your children react when a situation occur. For eg, heavy rain with thunder and lightning. Some children are afraid being alone with so much thunder and lightning going on. Home accident like slip and fall. How to react and who to contact. Stove / oven / microwave. Are they allowed to use them and what are the precautionary measure. Broken plates/glasses, what they should do if they accidentally break them.

For ensuring that they do their homework and do revision, create a schedule for them to follow. Are they able to do their homework unsupervised? I told mine to do what they are able to cope and I will help with those that they have issues when I come back from work. If simple explanation is needed, they are free to call me.

For a start, you will need to take leave from work and help your children to follow the schedule that you have created. Set a momentum and gauge from there. Good luck.

EN
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