If you are wondering when and if it’s okay to leave your child at home you will want to read this article and make sure that you have considered the points brought forth in it. Honest answers to these questions will determine if your child is able to handle the responsibility of being left alone at home. Many parents are under the assumption that there is an age established by law that a child can be left alone at home, this is not correct. Only in the states of Maryland and Illinois are there specific laws stipulating the age of the child that can be left at home. Although the National SAFEKIDS campaign, suggests that children under the age of 12 not be left alone at home.
Things to consider before you leave your children alone at home:
How is your child’s maturity level, is your child impulsive or mature for their age? This will be one or your most key and vital questions to honestly answer to know if your child is old enough to be left at home responsibly. I would recommend that you try leaving your child at home for short periods of time to see if they can handle the responsibility. Such as a simple errand to the post office, or the grocery store to pick up a forgotten item can be a good opportunity to determine if your child will follow your rules and if they are comfortable being left alone in the home by themselves. Be sure to leave a phone number so your child can reach you in case of an emergency. You will want to make a call home to check on your child during this dry run to see how they’re doing. You must take time to adequately equip your child for this responsibility.
You need to make sure that your home is childproof, for instance make sure that all medications are in a locked cabinet. Make sure that the children do not have access to any fire arms or ammunition in the home. And as a parent you need to consider what things could potentially harm your child, as you answer these questions, those items will need to be removed.
Role play with your child what they should do in case of an emergency. It is important that they know where all safety/emergency phone numbers are, it would be best to have your home address and your telephone number posted next to the safety numbers. Just in case your child does have to call for emergency assistance, the excitement of the situation when they call could cause them to forget their location. You need to have a plan established about what your child would do if someone was to try and enter the house while they are home alone, and what they should do if there was a fire.
All of these are key elements that must be addressed and satisfactorily handled before the child assumes the responsibility of being left alone at home.