Children Home Alone
Children Home Alone
Ward Leber (CEO) gives expert video advice on: At what age can a child be left home alone?; How long can I leave my child home alone?; How can I help my child learn safety rules? and more...
At what age can a child be left home alone?
It varies from state to state, but usually you're looking at about fourteen. They normally don't let kids that are under the age of fourteen or what everyone calls 'latch-key' children, have long periods of time where they're waiting for their parents to come home. These are kids, often who have to make there own dinner, they have to make sure they do their own homework, because that's the situation in their family. They just can't afford a baby-sitter, or can't be where they need to be for their kids. But one of the things that I would go on, more than age, is maturity, because people usually use an age level to decide whether or not a child can stay home, and I know, literally, I know twelve-year-olds that are so street-smart that they would have no problem being alone. Even though they should be a little bit older than that, the law constitutes. The other side of the coin is, I know eighteen and twenty-year-olds that are so gullible that you'd never want to leave them alone. And the law says that they're perfectly fine and they're adults. So don't just go, you want to fallow the law. You want to call your own state to find out how young a person can be to be left home alone. But more than that their maturity levels involved. You really need to know whether or not they can take care of themselves.
How long can I leave my child home alone?
It depends on their age and on what state you're in. If you're expecting a child to take care of themselves while you're off for the weekend for two or three days, I would say that that's not a very good idea. If you have teenage kids that are 16 or 17 and you're going to go do something and you're going to trust them with the house for the weekend, it does happen. It depends on your relationship with the child and their level of maturity. I would always check. I'd make sure that my house is constantly being visited by neighbors and friends and relatives and anybody else who can come and check on what's going on.
What home safety rules should I teach my child before leaving him alone?
The main safety rules to teach your child before leaving him home alone is to not come into contact with anyone who they should not be in contact with. For instance, don't answer the door, and don't give out information over the phone. You want to be able to test them to see if they actually will do that. The main things are that you don't want to tell somebody over the telephone how long the child's going to be home alone and that's what the bad guys are trying to find out. Is there a parent there, how long will it take until they come back? So you want to be sure that they never give out that information. Secondly, letting anyone in the house; that is the worst thing of all. So you want to make sure that they never, ever open the door for anyone. If it's the next door neighbor or one of their best friends then they're going to know their voice. They also have the ability to look outside through the peep-hole and see them; they're going to know it's okay. But, somebody they don't know, I would absolutely make sure they understand that those people are not there to be their friends and if they're trying to get into your house they're lying to you about why they want to be there because no one is authorized. We didn't order any pizza, we didn't order anything to come to the front door. There is no reason for you to ever open the door and they need to know that.