Many parents want to know when their child is going to be able to stay home alone for the first time. It is a nice thought to be able to go out for a few minutes, run to the store, or stay a little late at work, etc. without having to get a babysitter. Of course, leaving your child home alone for the first time has some risks. Some of the risks you face when you leave your child home alone is that they will eat too much junk food, watch too much television, and not do the things they ought to be doing! Additionally, they may feel frustrated or anxious about being at home by themselves.
The first thing you have to consider when thinking about leaving your child home alone for the first time is their age. In most states, a child needs to be 12 years old before they can legally be left alone. However, just because they are 12, doesn’t mean they are mature enough to be home alone. You should determine whether or not a child should be left alone based on the child’s personality, your personality, and your neighborhood. If your neighborhood is not safe, then you may want to wait until your child is older to leave them home alone.
Here are some things to consider-
Set rules: These are things like, no friends when you are gone, etc. It is important to let your child know that you want to be able to leave them home alone, but that they have to know and follow some rules before you can do that.
Set consequences: The next important thing is to let your child know what the consequences are going to be tied to the rules. If they invite friends over when they are home alone, for example, they will not be able to stay home alone for a month, or they will be grounded for a week, etc. There has to be rules and consequences attached to the rules about staying home alone.
Next, talk to your child about stranger danger: Kids should know what to say when someone comes by or calls on the phone if they are home alone. It is best if they just don’t answer the door, and don’t answer the phone. This can be problematic if it is a solicitor, etc. It is not safe to say that your parent is not home. If they forget, they can try the tactic of, “My parent is not available right now.” It is important that they know to never say that they are by themselves or that their mom is not home.
Safety and Emergency contacts: If your child is going to stay home alone, they should have a list of safety rules to follow, such as not using the stove while you are gone, etc. However, they should also have access to a list of emergency contacts, including neighbors to help, but also city emergency numbers like the police department, fire department, poison control center and so on.