Although the idea of leaving the kids without adult supervision is rattling enough for parents, at one point or another, there will be some unforeseen events in which we are left with no choice but to leave them solo at home. Stuff may go wrong while they are alone. However, when done correctly, it will definitely be a big milestone for your children as they will have some sense of accomplishment and will slowly learn how to value their freedom and independence. Being able to go home after school and let yourself in is a huge responsibility for a kid.
To lessen your worries here are some tips and guidelines to ensure that your kid is ready for this situation.
When Is It the Right Time to Leave Kids Home Alone?
The legal age to leave kids unsupervised varies across the country. For instance, children as young as eight can be left alone in Maryland, while in Illinois the age is 14. As the law differs among states, below are some general age pointers that you can use to determine your kid’s readiness to be on his own.
0-7: Children in this age bracket must be supervised by an adult at all times. Whether it is at home or outdoors, these kids are not to be left alone since they are not matured enough to determine and get away from dangers around them.
8-10: Yes these youngsters are starting to mature, but they are not yet ready to make a sound decision when faced with dangers. However, if necessary, you can start training them to be on their own they are old enough to be left for 1.5 hours during daytime.
11-12: Kids in this cohort are entering the adolescence stage and it is helpful to slowly teach them about independence. Leaving them solo for three hours at the most will give them some sort of freedom that they will cherish.
13-15: If left with no choice, kids of this age can be at home on their own for more than three hours but not through the night.
Factors to Consider Before Leaving Kids Alone At Home
Before jumping into a decision of leaving your kids home alone, you should remember that no two people are identical. This is the same for kids. This means that what works with your neighbor’s child may not be good for your children. To assess your kid’s readiness, here are the other factors to look at.
- Child’s maturity level
- The readiness and ability of your kid to comply with instructions
- Your neighborhood’s safety
- Child’s feelings toward being left unsupervised at home.
Ensure Your Child’s Safety When Home Alone
I started leaving my child alone at home when he was 11 years old. Days before that, I have started conditioning his mind of what to expect when he is on his own. In addition, I have set some sort of house rules and prepared a list of dos and don’ts to prevent any possible emergency situations that may arise.
To ensure his safety while I am away, I left him a list of all the numbers of people who can help him in case of emergency. Included in the list is my mobile number, my office number, 911 and other local emergency services providers. I also informed our neighbours that my son is alone at home so there will be some adults who can immediately help my son in times of trouble.
Setting up a smart home system can give you peace of mind when kids are unsupervised. A smart lock is a good idea if your child is letting themselves in. The Yale Security by August Assure Connected Touchscreen Smart Lock sends you alerts to your cellphone when the front door is locked and unlocked.
The Amazon Cloud Cam Security Camera allows you to keep eyes on them and has a two way audio system so you can check in.
These are just a few tips when deciding to leave the kids alone at home. Don’t rush them and give them ample time to prepare themselves for such situation. Once they are emotionally and cognitively ready, we can comfortably leave them and let them enjoy their freedom at the fullest.