How to Know When Your Child Is Ready to Stay Home Alone
These six questions might help you know.
You forgot to pick something up at the grocery store. Your partner isn’t home yet and your tween is working on his homework. He’s old enough to stay home alone while you run back out... isn’t he? Well, according to a new report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, even though they seem old enough, 9- to 12-year-olds might not be equipped with enough knowledge to stay home safely.
While 24 percent of tweens stay home alone at least once during the summertime, what's more important than feeling ready is knowing what to do (and not to do) in an emergency situation. “There is no single ‘right age’ when a child is ready to stay home alone,” Sarah J. Clark, MPH, director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, said in a statement. “Children at the tween age of 9-12 years may feel ready to stay home alone, but not all will be able to handle the different situations that may arise. Parents making this decision should consider the maturity of the child, sibling ages, neighborhood safety and how close they are to friends or relatives who could step in to help if needed.”
Here are six questions parents should ask themselves to help make the decision: