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Sep 29, 2010

Home Alone – the kiddos

If you are considering leaving your child(ren) home alone for small periods of time or during the afternoon while you are still at work, you may be wondering: what are the rules? Are there laws dictating at what age a child can be left at home alone?

According to About.com’s article linked below, few states mandate a specific age for allowing parents to leave their child at home.  However, National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends no child be left at home alone under the age of 12.  At the age of 12 other factors also have be considered to determine if your child is ready for this new realm of responsibility and safety issues.  The article, “When Can I Begin to Leave My Children Home Alone?” provides some guidelines to consider before taking this ‘leap of faith.’

  • Is your child mature enough?
  • Leave a phone number where you can be reached.
  • Call and check in regularly
  • Establish a routine for your child to check in with you too.
  • Discuss expectations and what will be allowed while the child or children are home alone.  Is television permitted? Should homework be completed? Is the computer off limits?
  • Explain how to handle emergencies. 

As a single parent, after school care can be an expensive budget item.  When your child nears the age of responsible independence, it’s tempting to urge them to spend this time at home and save on after-school care programs.  But make sure your child is comfortable with this new plan.  Ensure she feels confident with her ability to manage things on her own in your absence for those couple hours after school. Be sure to cover all the bases before making it a permanent solution.

We have been working on this plan in our home for a few weeks now that the school year is in full swing.  I can’t believe how much my kiddos have grown up.  They are becoming responsible young people right before my eyes.

What are some added tips you can share about leaving your tweens and teens at home alone?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Find yourself… keeping it real.

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