Is My Child Old Enough to Be Left at Home Alone?*


*This is a collaborative post* 

 

As your child gets older and you start to give them more independence, a time will come where you will be faced with the question…are they ready to be left home alone? 

The answer is different for every parent and it is completely natural to worry about your child’s safety no matter how old they get. Setting a plan and putting some rules in place is the best way to help you and your child prepare for this new milestone.

To help you decide if your child is ready to be left home alone, here is some great advice from an independent college in London

What is the legal age?

Surprisingly there is no legal age requirement to leave your child unattended at home. However, child protection experts say that ‘it is an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.’ Therefore, it is critically important to evaluate your child’s readiness. 

Is my child ready?

You know your child better than anyone, so trust your instincts when making your decision about leaving them home alone. Take into consideration their maturity level and problem-solving skills, as well as their feelings about being left on their own. If you are unsure, you could try a short practice run while you pop into a neighbour’s house.

How can we prepare?

  1. Emergencies

Make sure your child knows what to do in an emergency. Discuss potential situations, such as a power cut, a fire or a stranger at the door and explain what they should do in each scenario.

  1. Contact numbers

Let your child know what time you’ll be back and who to call in an emergency. Leave all your contact numbers and also give them family and neighbours phone numbers in case they can’t reach you.

  1. Food & drink

Can your child confidently operate the kettle, cooker or microwave without adult supervision? Make sure that your child is capable of safely preparing food and drink on their own. If you are worried, then you could prepare their meals or snacks in advance.

  1. Online safety

It is also a good idea to talk about what they’re going to do while you’re out. For example, if your child has access to the internet or social media channels, it is important to explain cyber safety and ensure that they do not mention to anyone online that they are going to be home alone.

*Photo source Pexels 



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