Is your child ready to stay at home alone?
Use the following checklist
as a guide….you and your child should complete it separately (use the discrepancies
in the answers as conversation starters)
Answer YES, SOMETIMES, NO
2. Knows how to reach parents/trusted adults by phone and can name two adults to contact in an emergency.
3. Knows how and when to call 9-1-1.
4. Knows where first aid supplies are kept in the home.
5. Can accomplish basic first aid tasks (clean/bandage a small cut, flush out an eye, treat a minor burn, etc.)
6. Knows how to respond to a fire in the home, including identifying two escape routes.
7. Knows how to respond to an inclement weather emergency.
8. Knows how to respond to strangers at the door.
9. Feels safe when alone and fears (such as darkness) or nightmares are minimal when adults are not present.
10. Has indicated an interest or willingness to stay on his or her own.
11. If applicable: Can be trusted to peacefully coexist with siblings/other children in the home when adults are not present.
12. If applicable: Can be trusted to watch over younger siblings without adult supervision.
13. Has a clear understanding of household rules and consequences for rule-breaking.
These are additional readiness considerations. Use them to assess your child's maturity in other areas of their life. Respond ALWAYS, MOST OF THE TIME, SOMETIMES, NEVER:
1. Completes household chores on time
2. Completes homework with little supervision
3. Generally follows and respects family rules
5. Notifies parents/caregivers of whereabouts and schedule
6. Has friends who can be trusted
7. Is capable of thoughtful decision making without adult input (consider role playing this by setting up a scenario)
These questions are designed to promote conversation with the child and to provoke deliberate consideration of the stay-home-alone step. Look for patterns in your answers, are there more NO/NEVER than YES/ALWAYS? Trust your gut about your child's readiness! If you assess that they're ready, start with very short timeframes and lengthen them as you become more comfortable.