Deciding when your child is ready to stay home alone can be challenging. Some young children may insist that they are ready before you think they are, whereas some teenagers may feel nervous even though you feel confident in their abilities. While most experts agree that children should be at least 10 years old to stay home without adult supervision, there is no magic number of when children will be ready. Before determining whether your children are ready to stay home alone, ask yourself the following questions.
Is Your Child Ready To Stay Home Alone:
- Does my child show responsibility?
- How does my child handle unexpected situations?
- How aware is my child of safety procedures?
If you feel confident in your child’s abilities to show responsibility, stay calm in unexpected situations, and use safety guidelines, then the next step is to prepare your child to stay home alone. Below are 8 practical tips.
8 Ways To Prepare Your Child For Staying Home Alone:
- Check in with your child about how he/she feels about staying home alone.
- Explore any anxieties or fears your child has and provide active listening, support, and problem solving.
- Create a consistent safety plan with your child (i.e. emergency numbers, home security system, ways to reach you).
- Review with your child what is expected during the time he/she stays home alone (i.e. homework completion, can/cannot have friends over, can/cannot use certain appliances) .
- Give your child tasks or activities to do while you are gone (i.e. crafts, new movie, game).
- Role play with your child various scenarios (i.e. someone comes to the door, someone calls the house, smoke alarm goes off, someone gets hurt) that could happen while you are gone to help him/her feel confident and prepared.
- Practice with your child by leaving the house for 30 minutes and discussing how your child felt.
- Give praise whenever your child is able to stay home and follow all of the rules and guidelines!
We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas! What have you used to gage your child’s readiness to stay home alone? What tips would you give to other parents?