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Baloo's Bugle


December 2003 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 10, Issue 5
January 2004 Theme

Home Alone
Webelos Fitness & Readyman
  Tiger Cub Achivement #5




Home Alone Topics To Discuss With Your Den

Circle Ten Council

1. Keeping a Clean Kitchen
A big part of safe cooking is keeping the chef and the kitchen clean. The idea is to keep
germs, which can make you sick, out of your food. Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately before you begin any recipe - this is especially important for recipes that involve touching the food directly, like kneading dough or mixing ingredients with your hands. You should always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat, poultry, egg, and fish products because these items can contain small amounts of bacteria even before they were packaged. Your working surfaces (like countertops and cutting boards) should be clean and dry.

Wearing an apron will keep your clothes clean. If you don't have an apron, an old shirt will do, but don't use a smock! Smocks and other big, loose clothes are bad in the kitchen because the sleeves can catch fire if you reach over something hot. It is smart to tie back long hair so it doesn't get in the food or catch fire if it gets near something hot.

After you've finished, don't forget to wash your hands well again. Also be sure to wash any cutting boards you've used with soap and water.

2. Just You After School
If you have 30 kids in your pack, about 8 to 15 of them are on their own when they get home from school. Kids who regularly take care of themselves used to be called "latchkey children." This name started back in the 1940s, during World War II. The men were away at war, so many women had to take jobs in factories to keep the country going. With both Mom and Dad away, kids would wear a key around their necks to get into the house after school. Today this is usually called "self-care." The reasons for being home alone have changed, too. In a lot of families, both parents go off to work. In many other families, there's a single parent who goes to work. And very often, there just aren't enough childcare programs available for the families who need them.

3. Set up Ground Rules for when the boys are at home alone
Some families put up a list of rules where everyone can see them, like on the refrigerator door. Other families write out a contract and have each member sign it, saying they agree to the rules. Others just go over the rules out loud. But whatever method their family uses, there are a lot of questions to talk about.

Discuss the following with the boys:

·         Should you call Mom or Dad as soon as you get home?

·         Are you allowed to watch TV or videos, and if so, what kind and for how long?

·         Should homework be done first, even before chores?

·         Can friends come over? If so, how many?

·         What can you have for snacks?

·         Can you go outside, and if so, where?

·         What appliances can be used? (microwave, computer, etc.)

·         What chores need to be done and by when?

·         Should your parent call home just before leaving work each day? For example, would it help to have a heads up in time to finish any last-minute chores before they arrive?

Activity - Have the boys make up a schedule for what they would do if their parents were home when they got home and then one for when their parents would not at home. Talk about the differences. A schedule of what to do if parent was not at home might look like this:

3:30-3:40 -      Call Mom or Dad

3:40-4:00 -      Change clothes and have a snack

4:00-4:45 -      Do homework

4:45-5:30 -      FREE TIME!

5:30-5:45 -      Set the table for dinner

5:45 -               Mom or Dad is home

4. Staying Safe
Knowing how to stay
safe is just as important as knowing the family rules. The scariest idea for kids home alone is that someone will break in and hurt them.

Some basic safe rules to follow are:

·         Always keeping the doors and windows locked will help you to stay safe.

·         Decide with Their parents what to do if the phone rings.

·         What do they do if someone knocks at the door. If you do answer, never say that you're home by yourself.

·         If a boy does get home and the door is open, or a window's smashed, don't even peek inside. Instead, go to a neighbor you trust for help.

Activity - Have the boys practice or role play the following:

·         What would you do if someone tried to get in?

·         Do you know how to call 911 or another emergency number?

·         Do you know your exact address, where your parent works, and his or her phone number?

·         Is there a "safe room" in your house, where there's a phone and an inside door lock?

·         What do you do if  you (or your brother, sister, or a pet) gets sick or hurt?

·         What do you do if a thunderstorm knocks out the power?

·         What do you do if the toilet overflows?

·         What do you do if a fire breaks out?

5. A Little Lonely - What should the boys do?
Keeping busy with homework, chores, and play is usually enough to make their "home alone" time go quickly. But don't be surprised if sometimes they feel a little lonely or bored -- lots of kids do now and then. The trick is to have them think about their choices ahead of time.

Some good ideas to get you started are:

·         Save a few good books and magazines just for reading when you're bored.

·         Work on a hobby or a collection, or start a new one.

·         Listen to music, sing, or play an instrument.

·         See how many sit-ups you can do in 10 minutes.

·         Try a favorite craft, or a new and different one.

·         Play with your pet.

·         Write e-mail, phone a friend, or see if there's a PhoneFriend system, a special telephone line kids can call when they're alone, in your area.

Remind the boys that, parents are the best person to talk to about being home alone. If there's a problem, they will want to help them work it out. Then their "Home Alone" experience will have a happy ending.

Below you will find a Readiness Checklist that you can send home with the boys to complete and discuss with their family.

If there are answers that the parent feels uncomfortable with, it may signal a need for information, training in self-care skills, or an alternative care solution.

After the boy has gained the skills and knowledge needed to stay alone, have the parents plan a trail period of self-care in order to see how the child adjusts to the situation.

Here are some readiness indicators:

·         Does he want to be left on his own?

·         Is he afraid to be alone in the house?

·         Can you depend on him to follow the house rules?

·         Does he complete the agreed upon assigned chores?

·         Can you rely on him to tell the truth?

·         Does he have common sense?

·         Can he deal with unexpected events in a positive way?

·         Is he self-motivated?

·         Can he amuse himself or does he require constant supervision?

Home Alone - Are They Ready?

Circle Ten Council

Below is a checklist that can be sent home with the boys to fill out and discuss with their parents.

Self-Care Readiness Checklist

Yes or No - The child can give his or her address and directions to home.

Yes or No - The child can repeat and dial the home phone number.

Yes or No - The child can explain how to handle first aid for cuts and scrapes, burns, nosebleeds, poisoning, bites, choking and eye injuries.

Yes or No - The child knows where to locate first aid supplies kept in the home.

Yes or No - The child can identify two escape routes from the home in case of fire.

Yes or No - The child can handle phone calls correctly.

Yes or No - The child has demonstrated correct procedures for handling strangers at the door.

Yes or No - The child knows how to reach parents and other responsible adults by phone.

Yes or No - The child can name two adults to contact in case of an emergency.

Yes or No - The child will tell you about daily events without prompting.

Yes or No - The child can locate a safe place to seek shelter during a storm.

Yes or No - The child feels safe when alone and fears (such as darkness) or nightmares are minimal when adults are not around.

Yes or No - The child has indicated an interest or willingness to stay on his or her own.

Yes or No - If other children will be present, the children are willing to stay alone with each other and fighting is at a tolerable level.

"Police Report" Observation Activity

Great Salt Lake Council

When people give eyewitness accounts to the police they sometimes vary wildly. Try this exercise to see how observant your Cubs, parents, siblings, and friends are.

Have a person come in with their clothing in some strange way (plaid pants, unmatched shoes, shirt backwards, carrot hanging from rope around neck, red bandana, sailor hat, etc.) Do some specific actions (hop part way, bow and kiss someone's hand, crawl under the table, etc.)  This should last about 30 seconds, then leave room. Then second person comes across with different actions and clothes and exits. Then third person does different things and exits. They should be out of sight but close enough to come in when you ask. Now, ask the audience questions about clothing, actions, what they looked like. (Make a list of questions about obscure items, such as who was wearing pink sox or earrings.) Tell the audience all should learn to be observant and, if they see a crime, should write down what they saw immediately so they don't get it mixed up.

I could see this as a great Pre-Opening Activity, too,  Have the strangely dressed people wander through talking with people during pre-opening and then quiz the audience during the icebreaker.  CD




Basic First Aid Tips

Circle Ten Council

What Should I Do if I Get a Cut or Scratch?


The first thing you should do is stop the bleeding by pressing a clean, soft cloth against the wound. If the wound isn't very bad, in a few minutes the bleeding should stop.

After you've stopped the bleeding, you should always clean the wound, use only water to clean a cut. Some soaps have fragrances, which can sting and it is hard to tell which soaps will cause a cut to burn. A clean, soft, damp cloth will help you gently remove small pieces of dirt or gravel. Get an adult's help if the wound hurts to clean or if there is something in it that won't wash out easily. Most small cuts, scrapes, or abrasions will heal well without anything on them, but if you want extra protection, you can use antibacterial cream or a plastic bandage. If you use a plastic bandage, your wound won't be irritated and will be protected from germs. Change the plastic bandage daily, or if it gets wet or dirty.

What if I Get a Cut That Won't Stop Bleeding?

If a wound is very long or deep, or if its edges are far apart, then you may need stitches. The doctor puts a liquid anesthetic on your skin to numb it (numb means you won't be able to feel anything there for a while). Then the doctor will suture, or sew, the edges of the cut together with a small needle and special thread.  Sometimes instead the doctor will use a special kind of glue to close your cut if the cut isn't very deep or long. This glue holds the side of the cut together so the skin can begin to heal and you won't need stitches. Sometimes you will also need an injection, or shot, to make your skin numb. This shot will allow the doctor to stitch or apply glue without you feeling a lot of pain.

If you get stitches, after the wound heals, you will need to go back to the doctor in about a week to get those stitches taken out. The doctor will just snip the thread with scissors and gently pull out the threads. It feels funny but doesn't hurt. If your wound was glued, the glue will just dissolve over time.

When Should I Get Help From an Adult?

Tell an adult if you cut yourself on something dirty, like a rusty nail, or if you are bitten by an animal or a person. Bites can be very dirty. The mouths of people and animals have many, many germs, and the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection. Your mom or dad should check with the pet's owner to make sure its shots are up-to-date.

Certain cuts or bites could develop into tetanus, a serious illness also called "lockjaw." Your parent can make sure you have had a tetanus shot recently. Tell an adult if you are scratched by fingernails or claws. These kinds of scratches are also very dirty and may need a doctor's care. Cuts, scratches, and abrasions are a normal part of every boy's life.

Theme Activities

Heart Of America Council

Invite a special guest to pack meeting, such as local government people, radio and TV people, Red Cross people to talk about being Home Alone

Invite a fireman or policeman to hand out the awards at pack meeting

Learn about Operation E.D.I.T.H. (Exit Drill In The Home)  http://www.henriettafire.com/fire_prevention/op_edith.htm

Visit a fire station or police station

Visit the Red Cross Center in your area - collect First Aid and Safety information

Review emergency procedures for home and auto

Make first aid kits

Display home fire escape plans at pack meeting

Practice dialing and rehearse emergency messages that would be given to dispatcher

Demonstrate how to smother flames on a person’s clothing

Make a fire related neckerchief slide

First Aid kit Neckerchief Slide

Circle Ten Council

Material: -

Plastic 35 mm film canister

Plastic curtain ring, pipe cleaner or other device for loop


Acrylic or model paint

Self-adhesive bandages with first aid ointment

Alcohol pads

Change for phone call


Directions –


Punch two holes in the film canister for the curtain ring or pipe cleaner and glue in place. 

Paint the canister white

Paint or tape first aid on the can (1)

Put bandages, pads and change in canister

Seal with lid

(1) The Red Cross symbol shown is copyrighted to The Red Cross.

The following ideas from SCCC provide good ideas for things for your Cubs to do while “Home Alone”  CD

Write in a journal

Santa Clara County Council

Get a special notebook or staple some paper together and write about the events of your day.

Write a letter to the President

Santa Clara County Council

If you've got a question or comment for the president, shout out to him!  Address your letter to:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Or go to www.whitehouse.gov/kids.  You can E-mail the president from this site.  But a written letter will get a written response!!

Create or Act out Commercials or TV shows

Santa Clara County Council

Get permission to use a video or tape recorder and record your voice doing your favorite commercials or TV shows. 

Create your own talk show and interview your siblings, toys, or pets.  Have your den create a talk show or skit about being safe while “Home Alone.”  Then tape it and show it to the other dens.  Get ideas from your parents as to what to include.

Make a bird feeder

Santa Clara County Council

String raisins or popcorn together on a thread. You can also get a pinecone and fill in the petals with peanut butter and birdseed. When an adult gets home, hang your feeder on a branch outside a window...so you can watch the birds enjoy their meal!

Safety Buzz Session

Great Salt Lake Council

Have everyone at pack meeting break into small groups with some parents in each group. Give each group one of the following questions. Give them 5 minutes to discuss their question. Then have the groups come back to the main area and have a spokesman from each group report on their question and the solution they came up with. For suggested answers, see the section "Preparing, " in the BSA Family Book.

Following the reports, thank everyone for their thoughtful solutions.

Then say the following:  It is very important to know what to do if a problem arises. If you know what to do, you don't need to be afraid. You can do the right thing that will keep the problem from getting worse or keep a bad thing from happening. When something goes wrong you will be able to make good choices. We have some boys who have made some very good choices this month.

Safety First Family Quiz

Question 1: You are walking home from school when a man you don't know pulls up in his car to the curb beside you. He tells you that your mother has been hurt and you should go with him. What do you do? Why?

Question 2: You are skate boarding with your little brother when he falls and scrapes his hand and knees. What do you do? Why?

Question 3: You are roasting a hot dog over a campfire when a spark flies up and catches your jacket on fire. What do you do? Why?

Question 4: Your parents are both at work when someone you don't know calls on the telephone and asks to speak to your dad. What do you do? Why?

Question 5: You are visiting your grandma when she falls down. What do you do? Why?

Question 6: One of your friends wants you to skip school with him and go on a hike. What do you do? Why?

Question 7: A strange dog comes up to you. What do you do? Why?

Here are two Scouts can do while Home Alone after you show them how at a Den Meeting CD

Coffee Filter Art

Great Salt Lake Council

On a coffee filter draw designs with washable markers.

Fold the filter into a triangle, dip point of filter into a cup of water.

Let filter absorb water, causing the markers to bleed.

Open filter to reveal cool tie-dye design.

Pressed Leaves and flowers

Great Salt Lake Council

Take a nature hike around your own yard, and collect fun flowers and leaves.

Place flowers and leaves in between two sheets of paper towels, then place in the yellow pages phone book.

Let flowers and leaves dry completely.

Use to make pictures, collages, cards, etc.


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