Leaving the child alone at home without adult supervision is a big step for any parent. It’s not much of a surprise that they are often unsure as to when would be the right time to leave their child alone at home. But on an average it is not advisable to leave children of less than 10 years of age alone at home.
Whether the child is ready to be left alone at home depends on a few criteria.
The Parents Should Give These Criteria A Good Thought Before Attempting To Leave Their Child Alone At Home:-
Whether the child has previously handled brief periods of being alone well.
Whether the child shows signs of responsibility like doing their homework on time or following directions.
Whether the child can respond well in case of following rules and safety measures.
Whether the child is able to do little things like taking phone messages, fixing a snack or locking unlocking the doors.
Whether the child is mentally prepared enough to handle an emergency or accident of any kind.
Whether the child usually uses good judgment or takes unnecessary risks.
Whether the child is okay with staying home alone.
If all the above criteria are positively met, then the child is probably ready to stay home aloe. But still, it is important for the parent to talk it out with the child and find out if they have any fears or anxieties in being left home alone. Parents can start preparing their child for being home alone by leaving them alone for brief periods of time by coming home a little late for work or going to buy something nearby. The parents should monitor how the child is reacting to these. Also it is important to prepare the child regarding safety measures like dialing the emergency number, not opening doors to strangers, staying away from electrical appliances they are not well versed with, not telling anyone they are alone etc. it is necessary to go over and over these measures, repeatedly, so that the child becomes used to them. The child should also be taught to follow rules like which TV shows to watch, if friends come over then which rooms are off-limits, rules for using the computer or Internet, what to eat during those times etc.
Points To Remember:
Make sure things like alcohol, prescription drugs, tobacco, lighters or matches, car keys etc. are not lying around.
Make sure there are parental filtering settings are done for the Internet on the computer or the television.
Make sure the kitchen is stocked up with healthy food.
Keep things like flashlights, first aid boxes and important phone numbers like that of relatives, doctor, police or fire department etc. within the reach of the child.
Make sure to create a list of things to do and avoid when alone at home.
Make sure to ask neighbors to keep an eye on the child and also call up the child from time to time to ensure they are okay.