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Home Alone?

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, 07-10-2012 at 07:59 AM (4837 Views)
I don't know about you, but as a homeschool mom, I find it difficult to leave my kids. When they got old enough to go to youth group at church, it was hard to leave them. It's even hard to leave them with a sitter, who I know is fully competent. I'm just so used to being with them 24/7.

Now that they are getting older, I'm trying to sort of wean myself from them. One of the ways I'm doing this is by allowing them to stay home alone sometimes. I still don't allow them to stay home for long periods of time, and we are careful to set strict boundaries for them while we are gone.

  • They are not allowed to unlock the door for ANYONE, unless we call ahead and tell them to expect a specific person. This includes mom and dad since we should have key to let ourselves in.
  • They are not to be online while we are away from home. We obviously have to take measures to be sure that there is no way they can even access the internet while we are gone. Even the most well behaved teens can get into big trouble if allowed to be unsupervised on the web.
  • They are not allowed to tell anyone that they are at home alone. This may seem obvious to us as parents, but kids usually don't think of these things. Some parents don't allow their kids to answer phone calls unless it's from a parent when they are alone. This keeps them from even accidentally mentioning that mom and dad are not home. We have friends who will even have friends call up their kids while they are home alone, just to test them to see if they will follow this rule.
  • My hubby doesn't allow our kids to cook on the stove unless we are home and keeping an eye on them. Kids too easily loose focus and can forget that they have something on the stove thereby creating a fire danger.
  • We make sure they know what to do in case of an emergency. Is there a trusted neighbor they can run to? When should you call 911 or just call mom and dad?

So what age is old enough to start letting your kids start staying home alone? I think a lot of it depends on the kid and their level of maturity. Another thing to keep in mind if you are leaving multiple children alone together is, how well do they interact together? How well do they at resolve conflicts on their own? I know that my sister and I used to have some real "knock-down-drag-outs" when our mom was away from home. There were a few times when we became a serious danger to one another.

I believe that it is important to allow our teens to learn how to handle themselves without mom and dad around. Being at home alone is one of the safest ways to let them start. It helps them to build confidence in their own independence and to begin growing into well adjusted adults. Next time, I'd like to talk about how to prepare a teen to babysit younger kids. In the meantime, I would welcome your thoughts and opinions on this topic.

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  1. fairylover's Avatar
    We have been trying to figure this out at our house. My son just turned ten. He thinks he should be able to stay alone for a few minutes while we go to the store or something. My husband thinks he should be able to stay alone during the day. I do not.
  2. Dee's Avatar
    It's not an easy thing to do. I think you need to take into account each child and their personality.