Children must be mature enough to be left alone.
The target age will differ from child to child; both parent and child need to agree when this is.
You must agree on the rules, and trust that the child can obey them.
Having friends over, leaving the house, cooking are a few examples of rules to agree upon.
Make sure your child has plenty to keep them busy while alone.
Keep them to a routine.
Wake up, breakfast, dressing and chores are a few examples of a basic routine to have your children follow.
Be aware of computer usage in your absence.
Use channel lock on cable TV for channels that may not be appropriate for viewing.
Your child must know what to do in an emergency and be able to carry it out. If you are not sure that your child can handle a situation, such as a stranger or friend at the door, that child should not be left alone.
If you have weapons in the house you must be sure that your child will not touch them.
One child every 2 hours is killed in the United States with a gun.
Weapons should always be locked up and unloaded.
They must know the difference between TV and reality.
Always keep the house key in a safe place, never outdoors, and preferably not in sight.
Never tell strangers that you’re child stays home alone. Let friends and family know that your child will not open the door without your knowledge and permission.
Leave emergency numbers near the telephone and teach your child when and why to use them,
911, your number, neighbor’s number, family member’s number are examples of good emergency phone numbers to be left with your child.
If you are going to be late let your child know. When you do get home make sure that you spend time with your child. Talk about their day, what is going on with them and how they feel. Your child should know they can be comfortable telling you anything. Your reaction will determine if they tell you anything in the future.
If you are not sure about leaving your child alone, attend a Latch Key class with them and discuss it together. When you both feel the time is right, start out slow and work up to longer periods of time. Your child’s safety must come first and that is your responsibility.
When disciplining your child, never tell them you will call the police or that the police will take them. In an emergency we want your child to run to us, not away from us.