Fair   26.0F  |  Forecast »
Edit Module

Letting Kids Stay Home Alone

Is your tween or teen ready to hold down the fort when mom and dad are away? Figure out what's appropriate for your child – and household.

Trying to figure out the right time to let your children stay home by themselves can be a nerve-wracking decision. Are they ready to stay home alone? Are you ready for them to stay home alone?

Standard insights

"Most states have not enacted legislation regarding the age when children can be left unsupervised," says Krystal Kuehn, co-founder of New Day Counseling of Troy. "Therefore, it is up to the parent to make a responsible decision that is appropriate for both them and the child."

According to Kuehn, the most common age for children to stay home alone is around 12 years old. It is normal for parent to feel a little anxious when they first leave their child home alone.

"The parent will need to feel that the child can be trusted to be responsible when left unsupervised," says Kuehn.

Considerations

Leaving your child alone provides independence for the child – and it is important to know that he or she is also comfortable about staying home alone.

Adrianne Krotzer of Livonia has three children – ages 15, 9 and 7.

"The eldest has been allowed to stay home alone by herself since around 10 to 13 years old. When she was 12 to 13, we were comfortable with her baby-sitting," says Krotzer.

According to Krotzer, she has started to prepare her 9-year-old to stay home alone.

"I usually only leave for about 10 minutes, but only if I can see the house from where I am," says Krotzer. "It is a good way to get her ready for when she is old enough to be home alone or let her baby-sit."

Some parents don't agree with leaving their children home alone at all.

"My son is almost 11 and I have a daughter who is 7. I don't feel comfortable for many reasons," says Shane Ratiff of Romulus. "I trust my son to know what to do in case of an emergency, but I don't know that he would be cautious with his actions."

Ratiff worries that her son would hurt himself and there would be no one there to help him.

Make a blueprint

Setting house rules is very important before leaving a child home alone. Examples may include: Not answering the phone unless the caller ID says it's mom or dad, keeping the doors and windows locked, not leaving the house or letting anyone in, not using the stove and completing all homework.

"There should be clear rules when children stay home alone and unsupervised," says Kuehn. "They must understand the importance of following the rules for their safety."

Krotzer conducts routine fire and tornado drills with her children. She also teaches them what to do if there is an intruder. She's clear about what's off limits, too.

"My children are not allowed to call friends or use the computers or stove," says Krotzer. And, beyond that, "all regular house rules still apply!"

Jul 4, 2011 07:32 am
 Posted by  Trishasmith

If I am to leave my 12 year old son at home alone, I would make sure that I had taught him ways on how to react in case of emergency. I also registered him to SafeKidZone for his safety. It's a panic button alert installed on his phone, in just a press of it will simultaneously alert his trusted friends and family members. If needed, the incident will be routed to the nearest 911 with complete information. If you want to check out, this is their site http://Safekidzone.com/

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Holiday Ham Recipes

Holiday Ham Recipes

Still looking for some ideas for your big holiday dinner? This year, try a new recipe for your Christmas ham – thanks to these ideas from Taste of Home, Pillsbury and more.

Hanukkah Crafts for Kids: Holiday Picture Frame

Hanukkah Crafts for Kids: Holiday Picture Frame

If you're celebrating the holiday and looking for quick and easy crafts for kids, this fun and affordable little keepsake is a great way to display family memories.

Dad Gets Unexpected Reaction to Terrible Christmas Gifts

Dad Gets Unexpected Reaction to Terrible Christmas Gifts

British dad pranks his kids with bad Christmas presents, but didn't get the reaction he was expecting – and it's pretty sweet.

Simple Holiday Family Crafts to Make with On-Hand Material

Simple Holiday Family Crafts to Make with On-Hand Material

Does your family have paper cups, Legos, plastic spoons or toilet-paper rolls lying around? Transform them into angels, snowmen and even a chimney for Santa!

Bath Time Safety Tips for Babies and Toddlers

Bath Time Safety Tips for Babies and Toddlers

What's the best way to bathe your child? How can you keep them safe in the tub? A pediatric doctor at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit has tips.

Snowman Dessert Recipes: Tasty and Cute Ideas

Snowman Dessert Recipes: Tasty and Cute Ideas

Who doesn't love Frosty the Snowman? Kids will enjoy making – and eating! – some of these adorable and delicious snowman recipes.

Holiday Stamping Favorite Supplies from Stampin' Up

Holiday Stamping Favorite Supplies from Stampin' Up

Crafty company Stampin' Up offers a variety of fun stampers, punches and paper that transform into cool gift tags, cards and other fun DIY projects.

Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement