AD |Leaving a child ‘home alone’ for the first time can make any parent feel anxious. However, with some careful planning and important rules set in place, both parent and teenager can feel more prepared and confident about this new milestone.
Here are 10 top tips from St Christopher School for leaving your child home alone for the first time…
- When deciding whether to leave your child home alone, it is important to evaluate your child’s readiness. You know your child better than anyone, so take into consideration their maturity level and problem-solving skills, as well as their feelings about being on their own.
- It is also important to ensure that your child feels comfortable about being left home alone. Discuss their feelings and talk through any concerns that they may have.
- It is a good idea to trial a few short practices first, while you are nearby, to help your child get used to the idea of being home alone. Talk about how they felt whilst alone in the house and any challenges that they faced.
- Make sure that your child is capable of safely preparing food and drink on their own. Ensure that they can confidently operate the kettle, cooker or microwave without adult supervision. If you are worried, then you could prepare their meals or snacks in advance.
- It’s also a good idea to talk about what they’re going to do while you’re out. For example, they may like to play on the family computer, but need your help to set it up, or enter passwords before you leave.
- If your child has access to the internet or social media channels, it is important to explain cyber safety and ensure that they do not mention to anyone online that they are home alone.
- Discuss potential emergencies such as a power cut, fire or a stranger at the door and explain what to do in such an emergency.
- Make sure they know what time you’ll be back and who to call in an emergency.
- Leave all your contact numbers and also give them family or neighbours phone numbers in case they can’t reach you or need help straight away.
- Call your child every so often to see how they are doing on their own, or ask a friend or neighbour to pop round and check on them.