When can you leave your child home alone?

It comes a moment when every parent is in this situation: you have to leave home and you have no one to leave the child with. Is it okay to leave him alone or is he too young? When can you leave your child home alone?

Because each child is different, there is no clear answer to this question. However, it’s not good to underestimate him either (he may be ready to stay home alone), but not to overestimate him (you may leave him alone and something happens).

So how do you make the right decision? Child Welfare Information Gateway in the United States has created a very useful guide that helps parents. You need to consider the physical, mental and emotional development of the little one, but also his desire to be left alone.

Here are some questions to answer before deciding:

How long will the child be left alone? Will he need to eat during this period? Can he heat the food by himself?

How often could the little one be left alone?

How many children will stay home? If they are different ages, can the older ones take care of the little ones?

How safe is the neighborhood you live in? Does the child know what to do if a stranger knocks on the door?

He can contact a responsible adult living in the area if he needs anything?

Does he knows his full name and has your phone numbers?

Does your child follow the established rules? He can make good decisions?

How does the child respond to unfamiliar or stressful situations?

Once you have answered these questions, it will be easier for you to make a decision. Then, it is important to have a “trial period” first – leave the child home for a short time and not go far away. You should also establish clear rules (not to open the door if someone rings, not to walk outdoor, not to light the stove, but to heat the microwave, etc.).

It is preferable to prepare some activities for the little one when you are gone. These can be fun (to paint, read a new book) or to be useful for the household (tasks that are age-appropriate and harmless).

The age when you can leave your child home alone