Is Your Child Ready to Stay Home Alone?

When is my child ready to stay home alone?

While there may not be legislature in place to determine when children may be left home alone, there are some steps that parents can take to determine when it is age appropriate. Most would agree that a typical 15 year old should be capable of taking care of himself, while a 5 year old most definitely should not be left unsupervised. It’s when they get to the tween years that it becomes a legitimate possibility. Some considerations for parents to determine if your child is ready could be ::

  • Does your child show general responsibility as a member of the family?
  • Does your child know her phone number and address?
  • Is the home a safe environment?
  • Do you have a trustworthy neighbor or family member close by?
  • How long will you be gone?
  • Do you have a landline phone or does the child have phone access?
  • Does the child feel confident in staying home alone?
  • How does your child handle emergency situations?
  • Can your child communicate on the phone clearly?
  • Does your child respect your authority and follow directions in your presence?
  • Do you have parental controls on electronic devices, TVs, etc?
  • Does your child exhibit good decision making?
  • Does she show signs of being a “risk-taker”?

Preparation

The key to success in most any endeavor is preparation. It is a good idea to have a few {and maybe a few more} “dress rehearsals.” After going over the Home Alone Guidelines, the first dress rehearsals may be while Mom gets a shower and gets ready – uninterrupted, as if she’s not there. {Sounds nice, right?} Then, maybe Mom and Dad take a walk around the neighborhood or mow the yard or visit with a neighbor. Still a dress rehearsal, but within arm’s reach. These times will give you plenty of insight if your child is ready for the real thing or not. It is not worth rushing it. Wait until you and your child are confident. Being able to self-govern is a an important life skill, we don’t want to miss this opportunity to teach it well.

Home Alone Guidelines & Printable

Parents may want to discuss the rules of the house before leaving your child home as well.

  • What snacks are available?
  • What kitchen appliances/utensils are available? {No cooking, no knives, no microwave popcorn, etc.}
  • Is the computer/TV/ game console open for use?
  • What are the rules for going outside?
  • What are the rules for having friends over?
  • How often is she expected to “check in” with you?
  • What are the consequences for not answering the phone when Mom or Dad call?

Here’s a printable resource that may be helpful, too! Emergency Information & Guidelines

Click here for PDF download.

Relax

Now. Once all reasonable preparations have been made, relax. Try not to call every 6 minutes, 28 seconds. *Smiling* DSC_0268

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Melissa is a native Floridian currently making Houston home. She has a background in English education, but ended up teaching sex ed to middle and high school students. This passion for teaching healthy relationship education transformed into a ministry of teaching parents to speak early and often to their kids about healthy sexuality. {Which she says was way more fun than teaching poetry.} But that’s all “Doppleganger Melissa” now. These days, she is a full-time homeschooling mama to two future world-changers, Meghan and Maddy. She is an unapologetic sanguine who loves having people around her table eating off of paper plates and drinking sweet tea. When “Mel’s Diner” {the kitchen} isn’t open, she may be working off calories at the gym, driving her girls around town, or trying to round up some twenty-somethings to feed and mother. Melissa believes in a few things pretty strongly :: Jesus, her spouse, the power of Diet Coke, and that traveling should be a sport. You can find her over at Spouseisms, or on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook {@Spouseisms}.

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