Leaving kids at home, people have different opinions about the same. Some feel that leaving kids alone at an early age isn’t good due to safety issues. Others debate the fact that leaving a child at home should depend purely on his or her maturity level. Some states even have stringent laws on the age limit below which a child cannot be left alone at home. Many families where both parents are working have no option other than leaving their kids alone at home.
When you find yourself facing the decision of leaving your child at home, you shouldn’t take this decision in a jiffy. There are certain things that your child must be well versed with before he or she can be left alone at home. You as a parent are the best judge, but consider the below points to analyze whether your child is really ready to be left alone.
Child’s age and maturity:
Maturity levels of children varies with age. Young children are dependent on adults and shouldn’t be left alone without supervision. On the other hand, some young adults can make their own meals and complete their homework on their own. By leaving your kids alone at home you are trusting him or her with their work. Therefore, you should only do this if you feel comfortable about your child handling itself without hassles.
There should always be a safety plan before you leave your child alone at home. Firstly, your child should be aware of the emergency service’s contact numbers in case of critical times. They should also know whom among relatives or close friends they can call for help in case of emergencies. There should also be limited usage of social media during alone time and no ‘home-alone’ hints should be left on social media platforms. You must also teach your child about his actions during the below scenarios:
- Handling the alarm system at home.
- Using the escape routes and ladders to leave the house in case of a fire.
- Using flashlights and candles during a power outage.
- Taking the necessary medicine dose during a medical emergency.
- How to check for known visitors if there is a knock on the door.
- If you are too concerned about your child’s safety, you should also invest into a wireless security camera in your house.
First Aid kit:
This is a very critical aspect of making you feel comfortable about leaving your kids alone at home. Keep the first aid kit in an accessible location and train your kids beforehand with the basics of using one. This training will help them in tackling smaller injuries like burns, cuts, etc. They should only call emergency services when things go out of their hands.
You will have to plan for some snacks for your kids while you are away from the house. Take them through the kitchen safety rules and prohibit cooking without supervision as it can get risky. Keep your kitchen safety checks like smoke alarms, etc. in place to avoid any mishaps. It is always advised to give clear instructions to your kids related to getting food from the kitchen if they feel hungry. Know more about it here.
To keep things simple, you can prepare a timetable and ask your children to follow it in your absence. When they would be busy with tasks like homework, eat snacks, play with toys, etc. they wouldn’t mess around in the house and get themselves in trouble. You can even call them at frequent intervals of time to check if the actions are being followed.
Depending on your comfort give clear instructions if your kids are allowed to have house guests in your absence or not. For older mature kids probably in the age range of 12 to 16 years, having guests should be fine. But for younger kids take a call based on your kid’s maturity.
Even though you feel that your child is emotionally strong and can spend time alone at home, it is always advised to talk to them before doing so. Some kids are sensitive and need more attention and supervision in their activities. Thus, it is always good to discuss with them about their feelings about staying alone in the house.
Leaving your kids at home is a big step towards their adulthood. With proper preparation and training, you can prepare your child to handle unexpected situations. This step will make them independent and responsible in life. Consider all the points mentioned above in making the decision in letting your child stay home alone.