Deciding when it’s right to let the kids stay home alone

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When you are a parent there are many important decisions that you will have to make. One big one is whether or not you should allow your kids to stay home alone without a babysitter while you are out. There are several factors to consider when you are trying to decide whether or not now is the right time to allow your kids to stay at home without you.

Legal Rules

One of the first things to consider are the legal rules that govern when you can allow your children to be at home alone. While some states do not have specific laws, they all have basic common-sense requirements. Overall, you are not supposed to leave a child under 7 unattended without an adult around. Kids younger than 10 should not be left alone for more than a couple of hours.

Maturity Levels

Another factor to consider when you are trying to determine if you should leave your children at home or not is the maturity level of each child. It is important that you think about each one of your children to ensure that they are each able to handle this situation. If it seems as if your kids are very independent, they may be ready for you to step out for a bit. However, if they seem to require constant attention, they likely aren’t ready.

Gradual Process

Once you have decided that now is the time in which you feel comfortable leaving your child/ren home alone, you need to make sure that you ease into it. While you might have dreams of going out to dinner or away for a few hours, you should start small. For example, if you would like to try it out, you should head out to a local convenience store for a quick 15-minute run. This allows everyone the opportunity to try being alone on a trial basis. You should then gradually build it up over a few years. This will help you and your kids to feel comfortable.

Time of the Day

Another important factor that will influence if you can leave your kids at home is the time of the day in which you’re planning to be away. If you’re looking at going out late at night, it might not be a good idea for kids of a certain age. However, kids of the same age might be able to handle it if you are leaving during the daytime.

Security System

Regardless of when you decide it is a good time to leave your children at home without you, you need to ensure their safety. One of the best ways to do this today is through a security system. There are many great security systems that you can invest in that can provide you with peace of mind and protection. When you are looking for a new system for your home you should look for one that has security cameras, wireless capabilities, and can connect to local law enforcement. This will allow you to better monitor your home when you are away.

Emergency Plans

When you are looking to leave your kids alone, even for a short period of time, you need to make sure that you have emergency plans established. There are a variety of things that you should consider running through with your kids. This includes teaching them how to call 911, making sure they know what to do in case of a fire, and a variety of other strategies to help manage an emergency.

Ultimately, choosing when to leave your kids home alone for the first time is a very big decision. While there are guidelines that can help you to decide when it is appropriate, you should trust your gut. Even if your kids do not seem mature enough for it today, there will come a time when they will.

about the author…Kevin Gardner graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS. As busy as he is with his career, Kevin has made his family a priority and has found creative ways to give them the time they deserve. Whenever possible, he writes about his experiences and shares them to help others. 

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