I’ll never forget how shocked I was when I heard a friend say she’d left her 10-year-old daughter home alone. It got me wondering about the right age to stay home alone and when that time would come for my children.
Some states actually have laws regarding the legal age to stay home alone, but many don’t. But even then, moms need to consider the maturity of their children, regardless of their age, before they let them stay home alone.
If your child is mature enough and of the legal age to stay home alone, he’ll get to develop his independence and gain real experience at being responsible. Still, before you say goodbye and walk out the door and leave your child behind, look at these 6 Ways to Train Your Children to Stay Home Alone.
1. Plan ahead.
Don’t just say one day, “Hey! I’m running to the store. I’ll be right back!” That might send your kids into a panic. Or at the very least, it puts them in a situation they might not be ready for. So use our When Mom’s Away Planner printable to think ahead of time how you want to structure your children’s home alone experience. Then, look at the tips in How to Know if Your Child is Ready to be Home Alone.
2. Review the rules.
Have a heart-to-heart with your children using our Home Alone Rules Printable. Then, before you head out, hang it up for them to reference while you’re gone. Also, look at the Home Alone Rules by State to make your child is old enough to stay by herself.
3. Start small.
A quick trip of 30 minutes or less is the perfect outing for a home alone first time. After that, you can gradually work up to longer outings.
4. Test run.
Let your children know that the first outing is a test run to see how they do. Let them know in advance that you’ll be checking in with them when you get back to rate their behavior.
5. Check in.
Even if you have full confidence in your child, still call them every half hour or so to check in. As they get older, you can check in less. You can also have them call you.
They did it! If they did well while you were gone, reward them with a surprise of your own, or let them choose one from our Reward Jar Printable Coupons.
Let’s Talk: Have you left your child home alone? If so, do you have any tips for training a child to stay home alone?