As children get older, they need to take on more responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is taking care of themselves. Whether it’s for a few minutes or a few hours, eventually every child needs to be able to stay home alone. Here are ten tips on deciding when your child is ready.
- Your child should indicate a desire and willingness to stay alone - Children who are easily frightened or express an unwillingness to stay alone are probably not ready for this responsibility.
- Your child should be showing signs of accepting the responsibility – Children who are able to get ready for school on time and complete homework and household chores with a minimum of supervision are illustrating their growing sense of responsibility.
- Your child should be aware of the needs of others – Children who remember to tell you where they are going and when they will be back and are mindful of the promises they make are aware of other’s needs.
- Your child should be able to consider alternatives and make decisions independently – Children who solve problems on their own and do not depend on their parents for every decision are demonstrating some of the skills they need to care for themselves.
- Your child should be able to talk easily with you about interests and concerns – Good parent-child communication is needed to ensure that any fears or problems that arise because of staying alone can be quickly discussed and dealt with.
- Your child should know how to react in situations such as – being locked out, being afraid, being bored, being lonely, and arguments with brothers and sisters.
- Your child should know house rules about – leaving the house, having friends in, cooking and use of kitchen equipment, appropriate snacks and meals, talking with friends on the phone, and duties to be completed while home alone.
- Your child should have good telephone skills – Such as a list of emergency numbers, knowledge of what to say in an emergency situation, how to respond if someone calls, and understanding of appropriate and inappropriate reasons for calling parents or other adults for help.
- Your child should have good personal safety skills – Such as how to answer the door when alone, how to lock and unlock windows, what to do if approached by a stranger on the way home, what to do if they think someone is in the house when they get home, and what to do if someone touches them inappropriately.
- Your child should have good home safety skills – Like kitchen safety (use of appliances, knives and tools), what to do if they smell smoke or gas- or in the event of a fire, what to do during severe storms, basic first aid techniques and how to know when to get help.
For many children these abilities begin to appear between the ages of 10-12. Some children may take longer than others, but it should be a mutual decision. Both the child and the parent need to be certain they are ready. A trial period of one or two days a week could be tried first, allowing both the parent and the child time to assure themselves that they are ready for this next step in responsibility.Taken From Nanny Classifieds