Tuesday 22 September 2020

(AD) Is My Child Old Enough to Be Left at Home Alone?

Most parents feel anxious when it comes to leaving their children ‘home alone’ for the first time. You start to wonder what they might get up to whilst you’re gone and, more importantly, will they be safe? Legalities around leaving your kids home alone are a little blurry, as there is no specific age stated by the law. At the end of the day, it comes down to whether or not you think your child is mature enough to handle being alone, particularly if there was some sort of emergency.

The NSPCC advises that a child under the age of 12 is unlikely to be mature enough to be left for an extended period of time. They say that children under 16 should not spend a night home alone and babies and toddlers should never be unattended. These are some basic guidelines; the decision lies in your hands, as you know your child better than anyone. With some sensible preparation and a few ground rules, families can easily plan for this new milestone and feel less apprehensive! So, if you have plans to leave your child home alone for the first time, here is some helpful advice from a junior school in the Cotswolds.

Begin by carefully considering whether or not your child is ready to be left at home alone. They might be a reasonable age, but are they mature enough? Do they have decent enough problem- solving skills? Can they safely operate your kitchen appliances? Are they comfortable with being left alone without an adult? It might be worth doing a couple of trial runs so that your child becomes more familiar with the idea. Start with short periods and extend the time little by little.

If you’re worried about your child in the kitchen, it might be worth preparing their snacks or meals in advance so that they don’t have to use the oven or the knives. In fact, the more you prepare for your child, the less likely they are to face any problems while you’re gone – the chances are, they’ll spend most of the time watching the TV or playing on their digital devices. With that said, it might be worth chatting to your child about internet safety. For instance, they should definitely avoid sharing with anyone online that they are home alone, just in case the information falls into the wrong hands.

Be sure to discuss other potential dangers and explain what your child should do in those scenarios. For example, they should know how to react if a stranger comes to the door or what to do if there’s a fire. It’s a good idea to give your child a call every so often when they are home alone, just to make sure that they are ok and haven’t come across any problems.

Until next time,
Jada x


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