Preparation and Communication: The Key to Safety for Children Alone at Home

Nowadays, many children have to spend time alone at home until a parent comes home from work.

Children aged six or sixteen must be supervised by a responsible adult. If you can not be at home when your child comes home from school, give him the impression that you are watching him.

It is recommended, among other things, to parents:

  • To set firm rules that clearly set things to do and not to do.
  • To prepare the child to deal with any eventuality.
  • To specify what the child must do while he is alone.
  • To call your child regularly, using a cell phone or a pager if necessary.
  • To make sure the house is safe.
  • To limit the amount of time their child spends alone at home.

Responsible children who are at least 10 years old can spend one or two hours alone at home, provided there is a responsible adult who can help them if necessary. Age is not the only factor that determines whether a child is able to do well at home alone. One has only to think of pre-adolescents and unsupervised adolescents who can sometimes get more trouble than young children.

To determine if your child is able to stay alone at home, make small trips. Upon your return, ask your child to share their experience. Then increase the length of time you spend outside the house, leaving instructions to your child. After a few exits, answer these questions:

  • Does your child feel comfortable when alone?
  • Do you feel comfortable leaving your child alone?
  • Can your child follow the instructions responsibly?
  • Includes written or oral instructions. Does he remember it?
  • Can your child find constructive activities to do without making nonsense?
  • Can your child cope with normal and unexpected situations?
  • Can you easily communicate with your child when you are away?
  • In an emergency, can your child contact someone at any time?



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