Young teens can stay home alone for a few hours, but parents still worry.

They worry even more when they hear that children are most likely to get into trouble during those hours.

Try these ideas if you’re uncomfortable having your middler home alone after school:

  • Ask at school. Many schools have afternoon programs for the children of working parents.
  • Look into community programs. Check with your community center or local religious center.
  • Trade with another parent. Do you have a neighbor or a friend who can check on your child? In exchange, you might provide weekend babysitting or another service.
  • Hire a high school student. Use the words “study buddy,” never babysitter. If an older student can spend even an hour with your middler, it may give both of you more peace of mind.
  • Leave notes and check in if all else fails. Let your child know you’re paying attention.

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