Sometimes life circumstances don’t allow us to spend as much time with our children as we’d like. And sometimes it means we must leave them at home alone. How can you do it safety? Is your child ready?
IS YOUR CHILD READY TO BE LEFT HOME ALONE?
When thinking of leaving your child alone you need to look at your state’s legislation to determine if they are old enough. Each country and state has it’s own regulations. Some states don’t require a specific age but rely on circumstances to determine if it’s appropriate others require the child to be at least 14 years old.
If the law and circumstances permit, you need to consider if your child is ready. Consider asking yourself these questions:
- Are they responsible?
- Are they easily frightened?
- Do they know what to do in an emergency?
- Do they know their address and phone number?
- Are they able to call for help if something was to happen?
- Do they know how to contact you?
- Do they feel comfortable spending time alone? Or do they require constant attention?
- Are they well behaved? Will they follow the house rules?
- How long will they be alone?
PREPARING YOUR CHILD
If you have decided your child is ready, you need to prepare them. Before you leave you child home alone you should lay some ground rules. This will make it easier for both of you to adjust to the change.
SET UP GROUND RULES
Before you leave make sure your child knows;
- What they are allowed to do when alone (watch tv or use the computer)
- What they are NOT allowed to do (eg have friends over or cook)
- Should they answer the phone/door in your absence? What if its someone they know?
- Do they have to complete certain chores by the time you come back?
- What they should do if the feel lonely, scared or in danger?
SET A ROUTINE
Setting a routine for your child can make it easier for them to feel comfortable alone. For instance, you leave them at home every day for one hour after school.
Alternatively, you can leave them at home for a few hours on a Friday. Set up a list of things they have to do by the time you come home, it may look something like this:
- Finish homework
- Set the table
- Free time
It’s also good practice to make sure your child calls you when they have come home and for you to call them when you are running late.
Before you leave you child for the first time, make sure you do a safety check of the house. Ensure that fire alarms are working, check doors, locks and entry points. Contact your neighbour and arrange for them to help your child if they require it.
A good way to keep track of your kids when they are alone is to monitor your house remotely from your phone. Set this up with Cammy using a webcam or ip camera. The service can give you piece of my about their safety. Check the get started section here.
THE BENEFITS OF LEAVING YOUR CHILD HOME ALONE
As your child grows up, you need to gradually give them more freedom to make decisions.
Leaving your child alone for a short time can boost their self esteem, give them a sense of independence and let them know you trust them.
Leaving your child home alone is a big step for every parent, one that should not be taken lightly. There are a few things you need to consider beforehand (such as the law) before you make the call.
If you decide you child is ready, then you need to set ground rules, establish a routine and have an emergency plan. We also recommend monitoring your home remotely with our app.
At the end of the day, no one can tell you if your child is ready but you. In this post we have listed just some factors to consider in preparation.