Is your child ready to stay home alone? That may depend on the laws in your state. Check with your local child protective services agency to find out age guidelines for your area.
If your child meets the age guidelines, does she also:
- Follow family rules? For example, she’ll comply if you say, “No friends over while I’m out.”
- Tell the truth? If you can’t trust your child, she is not ready to be home alone.
- Know how to keep herself safe? For example, she won’t open the door to a person she doesn’t know. She won’t tell a caller that she is in the house alone.
When you decide she’s ready:
- Keep your outings short and stay close to home. For example, go up the street to the grocery store. But don’t drive an hour for an afternoon of shopping at the outlet mall.
- Let her know where you will be and leave a phone number if possible.
- Leave contact information for a neighbor or other trusted adult in case she can’t reach you. Be sure to tell the adult your plans.
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