There are a large number of families where both parents hold jobs outside the home. This may be some logistical problems where schoolchildren create concerns. Sometimes it can remain a child after school in a supervised program, or a babysitter can be hired to cover the gap between school hours and working hours. Often, however, a child may have to spend a few hours without supervision until a parent comes home. Because this child has his or her own key to the house, he or she is often referred to as a latchkey kid.
A latchkey child can be left unattended for a few minutes or possibly a few hours. This does not mean that the child is completely at the mercy of the would-be intruders, however. Conscientious neighbors can match watching the outside of the house while the latchkey child learns to activate an alarm or check the door locks. A child spend unsupervised time at home can also call a parent at work to check his or her safe arrival at school. A typical latchkey child is usually comfortable with choosing 911 or run to the house of a neighbor during an emergency.
A latchkey child can also learn how to easily prepare school snacks or performing a few chores until a parent comes home. One of the best things for a latchkey kid is a standard after-school routine. It is perfectly normal for a child to worry when parents are not around, but can have a latchkey child to very quickly adapt to their absence. Having a routine, even if it's just watching television or playing a video game can provide a much-needed diversion for a latchkey kid waiting for the security of a parent.
Some parents now use technology to help with their house key child situation. Special cameras are now in the house, providing real-time monitoring and remote viewing have to be installed. Parents of a latchkey child can now log on to a secure Web site and observe their child from their workplace. There are also organized programs that support both the latchkey child and his or her parents to provide. Some working parents feel guilty for feeling alone and unsupervised leaving their child, but the "latchkey child" is often the most viable solution for families with only a short gap between school and work schedules.
- Latchkey children often several hours without supervision of their parents every day.
- A latchkey child can stay after school in a supervised program.
- Latchkey teens can perform chores until the parents get home.