There is no one “right” age when letting your child stay home alone is OK, but many state laws can provide its residents with guidelines to help parents determine what’s approved in their home states. Considering your child’s age is important (for example, if he’s 6, call the sitter), but his maturity level is the real bar by which you should be making your decision.
Is your child responsible enough to know — and follow — basic rules of your home? Does she have the desire to stay home by herself? Being in an empty home for the first time can be scary for any child, so make sure your child is not only responsible enough for this task but also eager to try staying home without the sitter. We realize in some instances she may not have the choice but it’s important to give her the option if possible.
The first time you leave your child home without a sitter, set some initial boundaries like never opening the door to a stranger, not going swimming or using the stove, not having friends over, etc.
Trust that your child is willing and able to take on this responsibility. And also trust your gut. If you think that your child isn’t ready for any reason, maybe it’s not quite time to delete the sitter’s number from your contacts.
Before you go out, let your child know where you’ll be (including address and phone number) and when you plan to be back. If you are close with one of the neighbors in your area or have a friend nearby, give them a heads up that you’ll be leaving your child home alone for the first time and put them on “standby” in case your child needs to get in touch with someone before you can get home. Meanwhile when you are out, keep your cell handy at all times but...
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