At a certain age, every parent begins to wonder if it’s time that they can start leaving their child home alone for a short period of time. Generally, the most serious concerns from parents are whether their child will be safe and whether their child will be able to keep their home safe. But while adults may have certain tools that they can use to protect themselves, kids need to be taught how to be safe and responsible before they can be left without parental supervision.
To help your kids get ready for this time, here are three tips for leaving your kids home alone.
Once the time comes that you think your child is ready to spend some time on their own, meaning they’re both old enough and mature enough, you should ease your way into making this change and adding on this responsibility.
According to ChildWelfare.gov, the very first time you leave your child home alone should only be for a very short time. This will allow your child to see what it’s like for them to be at home by themselves or with the responsibility of younger siblings without a parent there to supervise. After just a short time, you should return home to see how things went for your child. This could unearth issues with spending time alone that you hadn’t thought of before and can help your child better prepare for longer periods of time that they might need to be on their own.
Teach Them How To Handle Certain Unexpected Situations
Ideally, nothing exciting would ever happen while your child was home by themselves. However, because that’s not the reality of the world we live in, there are certain unexpected situations that your child should know how to handle if they’re going to be left on their own.
Some scenarios that you should go over with your child before leaving them alone, according to Dr. Steven Dowshen, a contributor to KidsHealth.org, could include things like calling and speaking to a 911 operator, how to arm and disarm your home security system, how to use a fire extinguisher, what to do if a stranger comes to the door, and other situations.
Build Up Their Confidence
While your child might be excited about the idea of being in charge, being on their own can also be scary.
Although you might be feeling nervous about the thought of them being unsupervised and on their own as well, Lynn Perkins, a contributor to the Huffington Post, recommends that you do what you can to build up their confidence before you leave them. Share with them how you know they’ll be fine, will make wise choices, and have the knowledge and ability to keep themselves safe.
If you think your child is ready to be left home alone now, consider using the tips mentioned above to prepare everyone involved for this big step.