Top Tips for Leaving Kids Home Alone

Most parents feel apprehensive about leaving their children ‘home alone’ for the first time.
What will they get up to? And will they be safe? – With some careful planning and a few ground rules, families can easily prepare for this new milestone and feel less anxious!

Did you know that 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.’ The guidance given by the NSPCC is as follows;

  • Children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time.
  • Children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight.
  • Babies, toddlers and very young children should neverbe left alone.

If you are preparing to leave your child home alone for the first time, here is some helpful advice from The Manor Preparatory School:

  • Carefully evaluate your child’s readiness for this new responsibility. You know your child better than anyone, so take into consideration their maturity level and problem-solving skills, as well as their feelings about being left on their own. Do they feel ready and comfortable with the idea?
  • It is also important to do a few trials (while you are nearby) to help your child get used to being home alone for short periods.
  • Is your child capable of preparing food and drink? Can they safely operate kitchen appliances without your supervision? If you are unsure, then you could prepare their meals in advance or leave plenty of easy snacks.
  • Remember to discuss cyber safety. If your child has access to the internet or social media, it is important that they do not mention to anyone online that they are home alone.
  • Discuss potential dangers with your child, such as a fire or a stranger at the door. Explain what to do in such an emergency and always leave your child with various emergency contact numbers.
  • When your child is home alone, it is a good idea to call them every so often to see how they are getting on. Alternatively you could ask a friend or neighbour to pop over and check on them.

*Collaborative post

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