At what age a child can be left home is an extremely controversial subject and one that has been argued for many years.
Some parents believe that there is a certain age that children are able to be left home alone responsibly, whereas others believe that it is down to maturity levels and development of skills. Leaving a child home alone can sometimes be a last resort, either for 5 minutes or a few hours at a time.
For parents who are wondering whether their child is ready, who is some advice from a private nursery in New York on if your child is old enough to be left home alone?
Consider if your child is mature enough to be left at home alone. Being left alone requires a strong sense of responsibility which many children have to be taught over time.
Risks of fires occurring, electrics and gas being turned on, doors not being locked and just simple accidents can be fatal and occur within minutes. In order for your child to understand how to handle situations like these, they need to have reached a certain level of maturity.
Ask yourself: Does your child understand and follow rules? Do they have good judgement? Do they understand stranger danger?
Have a practice run if you have a strong feeling that your child will be okay to stay at home alone. Let your child spend 30 minutes alone and remain nearby in case of an emergency. When you return, discuss with your child how it went and what their concerns and compliments are.
Ensure your child is able to handle unexpected situations. In the case of an emergency, your child should be able to find an address book, call the police, lock and unlock doors, use a phone confidently, know how to contact you and nearby neighbours and what to do in case of a fire.
Remember to childproof your home no matter how well your child follows rules there are always ways that they can get themselves into trouble. Lock away anything that could be a danger to them such as alcohol or tablets and go over all the rules so they feel confident being alone.
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