Children will often feel that they are more mature than they are, and this can make life confusing and difficult for parents and kids alike. One of the first signs of this is the one who insists he is ready to stay home alone rather than go along with you, or the child that is ready to start taking on babysitting jobs to make their own money. Whether your child wants to stay home when you go out to dinner or a movie with your friends, or while you go to work, you want to be sure he or she is ready for this responsibility. Before you say yes or no, consider some important points.
- Know the Importance of Home Security Systems
Every home should have a security system. Not only can a good system alert your child to dangers at your home, it can alert your neighbors and the proper authorities, too.
You can check security system reviews to find the specific system that is right for your home. Instead of worrying about intruders, fire, or other serious issues, you can enjoy your night out or do your job. You can have confidence knowing both your child and your home are safe.
You may live in a safe neighborhood, and your child believes he is ready for this responsibility. However, the final decision is up to you. Even if the laws in your state say he has reached the appropriate age, age is not the only factor. When you, the parent, feel he is ready, it can be a positive experience for both you and your child.
- Make Sure Your Child Is Prepared
A calm, frank conversation can help you to determine if your child is prepared to stay home alone. There are some important topics to discuss:
Do they know the rules, and are they willing to cooperate with your rules? Some examples may include not having friends over to visit, not playing outdoors, or not playing loud music. Rules can also include items in your home that they are not allowed to touch. Toxic chemicals, medicines, and guns are a few examples that go beyond the obvious ones of lighting candles or using the stove to cook.
Is he or she familiar with home safety? The doors and windows should be locked when you are not at home. Your child should not open the door to strangers, or talk to strangers who call on the phone. You may prefer that the stove when you are not present.
Do they know what to do in an emergency? Before your child stays home alone, they will need to know what to do if an emergency occurs. It should be reviewed how to call 911, how to get in touch with a trustworthy neighbor, and how to call you regardless of your location. Whether there is an attempted break-in, a fire, or an injury, you need to know that they are prepared to reach out for appropriate assistance.
- Make Sure They Display Maturity
Regardless of their age, there are some signs that your child is mature enough to take responsibility for him or herself. One example is willingness to ask for help when it is needed. Whether they are experiencing a serious emergency or a minor difficulty, they should not try to deal with it themselves. From a power outage to an unexpected illness, they need to know how to ask for help.
A second example is the ability to assert one’s self. You want your child to be polite and respectful, but you do not want them to be taken advantage of or harmed. Notice if they stand up for themselves in difficult situations.
Third, while risk-taking is common in many children, it is not an asset when your child wants to stay home alone. Risk-taking behavior is not a sign of maturity, and could put them in danger if there is no one else at home. They will not take unnecessary risks if they is ready for this responsibility.
- Establish a Schedule for Check-In Times
If you believe your child is ready for this all-important step, talk about check-in times. Depending on the situation, it could be every hour, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, or whatever schedule you feel is appropriate.
Whether you have a cell phone or landline in your home, let them know they must adhere to the schedule you have discussed in advance. Always have your own cell phone handy so they can call you. Kids are less likely to feel alone when they can chat with you periodically, and this also makes you feel better to know that they are safe.