Wednesday, May 09, 2012

When can a child stay home alone?

Gremlyn Bradley-Waddell, AZ Republic, May 2, 2012, writes about when it’s safe for a kid to lose the babysitter.

Of course, this depends on the kid. The adorable little adventurer—maybe not. Some 12-yr-olds are more mature than 15-yr-olds.

There usually is no law about when the kid can be left—but if something goes wrong, you can expect DETAILED questioning about what you decided.

Ask the child about it—does he or she want to be left. How do they feel about it?

Set clear boundaries and run through scenarios—when to open the door, what to say on the phone if someone calls. Really get into it!

Work up to long absences.

Write down all contact numbers.

Have a trusted neighbor or friend in your child’s phone or on a list.

What is the kid going to eat—will the stove be off limits?

If there is a fire or emergency—would the child know what to do.

We had that—my daughter’s room caught on fire. I was out. She tried to find a fire extinguisher—it did not work. Then she got the hose…then the fire dept. She was in her twenties—but this could have had a worse ending that a totaled room.

What would your child have done?

I think 12-14 is an OK range myself. I was a babysitter at 12. But plan it.

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