My DH is physically and cognitively disabled as you may know. He has a traumatic brain injury, so even though his intelligence is in tact, he has executive functioning issues such as problem solving, planning, etc. He also uses a motorized wheelchair.
Up until now it was pretty easy to decide when it was ok for DS (4) to stay with him alone. When he was a baby and a young toddler, it was only when DS was asleep. I could run down to the drugstore after he was down for the night, etc. As DS got older (around 3) I could occasionally still do the same type of thing when he was awake because he would play independently quite well and not be upset by my leaving.
Well, earlier this year when we were living in a 5th floor apartment, DS got himself out onto the balcony for while under DH's watch. I had gone downstairs to the parking lot to clean the car and he was looking for me. DH yelled but couldn't prevent him from going out there (he actually broke the screen quite easily). Thankfully nothing happened, but I haven't left him alone with DH again since.
Now that DS is 4 he's settled down a bit and he understands safety much better, but since we live with my mom now it's been easier to avoid leaving the 2 of them alone for more than the time it takes to shower or check the mail. DH also let a census worker in the house while I was in the bathroom a couple months ago which doesn't show the best judgement.
It would really help our family next year if DS could come home on the bus from kindergarten and stay with DH for a couple hours until I get home form work. I'd like start preparing both of them for this if possible, but of course if I'm not home I won't be able to monitor the safety of the situation.
I'm thinking I could eventually invest in some technology to monitor the doors and maybe even an indoor camera. I also want to be able to leave the house for a 30 minute run around the neighborhood. Does anyone have suggestions for me on how to do this safely for both of them?
nectarine / 2400 posts
If you get a ring doorbell/cameras you could monitor the doors and that way if your child left you’d get notified and you can also talk to him through the doorbell. So kid leaves front door you get notified and you can talk to him and say so and so go inside. I also think you can lock the doors from your phone. So maybe some things like that?
nectarine / 2400 posts
ETA that would also let you deal with cenus worker type situations
persimmon / 1483 posts
I was going to suggest Ring too. We just moved our master bedroom to the 3rd floor, and I mounted a battery operated Ring in the hallway downstairs so I could keep an eye on the 2nd floor hallway where my kids bedrooms are. It’s not something you can continuously stream (I guess you could, but it would kill the battery) but like the doorbell, my phone beeps when the camera senses motion in the hallway and then I open the app to see what’s happening.
persimmon / 1023 posts
I think the camera stuff would be great, especially on the doors so you get notified. I know that would be very reassuring to me. You could even hire a professional to evaluate your house for safety and make recommendations.
I also think your DS is old enough to take a little responsibility here as well. I know my almost 5yo is VERY into helping do a lot of stuff around the house: help sort and put in laundry, ‘look after’ little brother (aka keep playing with him when I go to the bathroom for 3 minutes ha) getting into his car seat himself, etc. So perhaps you could have a conversation with him about some of the limitations your DH has and how he could be a super helpful kid by doing this/not doing this. You could even have a reward chart or responsibilities chart to incentivize it. They’ve been talking it up at school to help people and it’s really been something he’s taken to.
nectarine / 2010 posts
I think an interior camera would be a great idea for peace of mind. A ring doorbell (or similar) or even door sensors that can text or email you if a door is open could be helpful.
Something else that could be helpful - is an amazon echo. You can set it up to call other echo devices or anyone with the alexa app on their phone. It could be any easy way for your DH or DS to get in contact with you (or anyone else you set up). While DD knows how to call people on my phone, I was worried that in an emergency she wouldn't be able to find it or would forget the password. Our echo is in our living room and she knows how to talk to it.
Also, could you like for an older kid to be a helper for those couple of hours, at least for awhile? When I was 10-12 I would go over and watch two kids 3 days a week after school while the dad worked from home. I mostly just played with them, got them a snack, and had them start homework. It would be cheaper than a full on babysitter or nanny.
cantaloupe / 6085 posts
i was going to mention a door alarm but I see the ring works even better! Also I would be sure you’ve wall mounted furniture for safety ... that kind of thing can be really scary anytime but especially in this case. Bookcases, dressers, secure any heavy tvs, etc. Being without an adult to help might encourage risky behavior to reach things (toys, food, drinks, but really anything).
pear / 1750 posts
@gotkimchi: Yes I love that idea! I wasn’t sold on the Ring until you mention the intercom feature.
@Madison43: that sounds cool! I looked at those cams and it’s definitely an investment for multiple cameras/doorbells. Do you pay for the monitoring service?
@muffinsmuffins: this is a very good point. We’ve been doing a morning routine chart and had great success so far, so i think he would get into it.
@catgirl: oh yes we already have 3 echo dots. We use them for music, timers and the intercom feature, but that a good idea to teach him how to call our cell phones. I could consider a helper. I actually have a caregiver for DH twice a week so we could factor that person in too (maybe for an extra fee).
@bhbee: hmm, well I’m pretty strategic about storage so DH can reach, and DS is really tall so he hasn’t tried to climb anything in a while luckily. But it’s good to keep in mind that any random tools, meds, etc should be put away properly.
In addition to all this, what are some of your strategies for teaching kids this age about safety? I feel like he’ll get it with repetition. Tv shows or books in the topic?
persimmon / 1483 posts
@macintosh: no, we don’t have monitoring bc I’m not using it as home security - I just want to make sure my kids aren’t wandering around in the middle of the nigh! And yes, they are pricey. But I only needed one. Another option is a nest cam - you can live stream that one and the cameras have a wide angel lens so you can see more of your house with a single cam. That could be better/cheaper overall if you have a single level or open floor plans.
kiwi / 745 posts
We have SmartThings monitors on all ours doors and windows and it alerts us when they are open or open for long periods. We have a Ring and pay for the recording, it’s pretty reasonable. Our doors/windows are also connected to our Echo and it announces when a door is open. We also have a $40 IP camera from Amazon we can check from work, etc.
grapefruit / 4278 posts
We used to use a Yi Camera on our front door. The have good picture quality, night vision, and the ability to talk through the app. These could be a good solution for you since you don't need to be able to necessarily record what is going on and just need motion alerts and the ability to view what's going on. You can get multiple cameras for the price of one Ring doorbell.
Full disclosure, we replaced it with a Ring when they were on sale for Prime Day. The ring app works a bit better, but that was more of a DH decision and I was just fine with the Yi cam.
GOLD / nectarine / 2884 posts
Stupid question possibly, but can your husband get your son from the bus stop? The only reason I ask is because in my school district, someone has to be at the bus stop waiting for the child until they are in the fourth grade I believe. But I'm not sure how other districts handle that!
honeydew / 7235 posts
We have a SimpliSafe indoor camera that has monitors on the doors and windows. It makes a ding when the doors are opened so we know if someone opens a door, which is helpful, and then the alarms you can set are for when you're away or when you're in the home. It was super affordable and VERY easy to set up, we've been really happy with it this past year.
pear / 1750 posts
@Mrs. Sketchbook: Good point! I don't recall my parents really waiting with me at the bus stop but that may have been for older grades. I was thinking at least for Kinder that they'd drop off pretty close to the front of the house. DH can go to the front porch with his wheelchair but sadly there's no sidewalk to our street (it's weird corner lot). We also have a driveway off the cross street, which is a much busier street so I'll have to see what the district is willing to do. I hope it works out since the bus literally drives right past my house each day.
@hellobeeboston: Do you mid sharing a link to the model you have? I'm looking for something similar to put on the doors, but I don't really need a whole security system like what the Ring package contains.
honeydew / 7235 posts
@macintosh: sure! We got this:
....and then we had to buy extra sensors to add on to the windows, and one other door. If you click "Need extra sensors" on the first pic it shows all of the sensors you can add on.
Simplisafe has sales - if you want to wait. I think we got ours Black Friday last year and it was 20% off, and there were extra sensors included.