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Parenting tips for leaving kids home alone

Author John Thompson
Submitted 13-01-2010

Experts say there’s no magic age for kids to be considered old enough to stay home alone. It all depends on each child’s maturity and common sense. While just two states – Illinois and Maryland – currently have laws governing how old kids need to be in order to stay home without an adult or babysitter, there are ways fathers can determine if their kids can be trusted to stay home without them for a few hours.

Fathers and mothers know their children best so good parenting advice is to ask yourself some simple questions about your child’s readiness. Does he/she know the house rules and follow them? Does he/she know what to do in case of an emergency? Does he/she feel comfortable with idea of being home alone? Can he/she make a snack or prepare a simple meal for themselves? These are all things fathers should consider before allowing their kids to stay home alone.

Before leaving a child alone for the first time, parents should prepare by going over simple rules like not opening the door for strangers and whether or not to answer the phone. Leaving a list of emergency contacts is important as well. And, setting a routine on what he/she should do while you’re gone is also a good idea.

Experts suggest easing into the home alone situation slowly. Start by leaving kids alone for small periods of time when you’re close to home at first. Gradually build up by being away an additional 15 minutes each time and assess the situation as it develops.ADNFCR-1662-ID-19538566-ADNFCR