When is it safe to leave my child home alone? That’s one of the biggest questions a parent can ask themselves this Summer.
It’s a huge decision and can make your head swim, just starting to think about it. Is it legal to leave my child home alone in my state? Are my children mature enough to stay home alone? Is my child physically safe to be home alone? Is my neighborhood safe for my child? What if someone comes to the door?
Some parents are reluctant to leave their children at home until they are well into their teens, while others think it’s fine at younger ages. Children mature at different rates so basing your decision on age alone will make it more difficult.
Here are a few more questions to ask yourself, as if you didn’t have enough already. 😉
- Can your child mentally and physically take care of themselves?
- Does your child obey rules you’ve given them in the past?
- How does your child respond to unfamiliar situations, are they easily stressed?
- Is your child scared to be home alone?
- Is your child asking to be left home alone?
Keep it simple:
Instead of rattling off every possible stranger danger scenario, give your child general rules for knocks at the door and phone calls. Or simplify your life and tell them not to answer the door at all, problem solved!
As far as recommendations about age appropriateness, it has been suggested that kids aged 11 to 13-years old are ok to leave home alone, again, it’s a personal decision. Also, make sure to check your state’s laws on children staying home alone- many don’t have any particular laws in place, but it’s good to be safe either way.
Quick Tip: If your child is asking to stay home alone, that may be a good sign they are ready.
If you are confident your child is responsible enough to take care of themselves, what will they do all day? Are you OK with them playing video games all day? Some downtime could be beneficial for kids, especially when they are really busy during the school year. On the other hand, the ever-changing content available on the internet can keep anyone busy for hours on end.
Having a plan for your kids to follow and scheduling alternative activities can help subvert the “head in the video game” as the go-to activity.
Leaving kids home alone is a big decision, but with the right considerations and conversation, your children will be fine. It’s a great time for them to gain self-confidence and grow from the experience! And if all else fails in making you feel comfortable, think about the things your generation was allowed to do and it seems like most fared pretty well 😉
Until next time,
Here’s another way we can help you help your kids.