When is your child ready to stay home alone

When deciding whether a child is ready or not, parents should consider their childs feelings, and have a plan in place.  Most children are not ready to handle emergencies until about 11 or 12.  The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to have someone responsible watching their children up to this age.

Things to consider to determine when a child is ready to be left alone:

Is there a law in your state about how young children can be left at home alone?

Does your child obey rules and make good decisions, even in emergencies?  Does the child know when to call 911.

Is the child physically and mentally ready?

How long will the child be alone?  If it is during a meal time, can the child fix a meal?

How often will the child be left alone?

If your child seems ready, you should begin with a short separation while you remain close.  Be sure to set rules about whether guests are allowed or not.  You should review several possible situations and solutions, such as:  a stranger at the door, the child finding an open door or broken window upon coming home.  Also think about possible safety issues in the home, and whether neighbors might be able to help in case of an emergency.  Finally, the decision to allow a child to be alone at home is only after, the above considerations are realized, and both you and your child are comfortable.  You should not feel pressured into accepting an unsafe situation, better safe than sorry.

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