If you feel your child is mature enough to be left alone for short periods you need to make sure they are safe:
- Ask them first. They may like to feel grown up but some might feel scared and not want to stay home alone.
- Have rules clear on what they can and cannot do.
- They should be able to talk through, and remember what they would need to do in unexpected, worrying situations.
- You should be sure that your child is safe getting themselves food and drink.
- Make sure they do not have access to any medication, sharp objects such as knives, chemicals, alcohol and drugs and lock them away safely.
- Tell your child when you will be home. If you are going to be late let them know so that they do not worry.
- Make sure they know who to contact in an emergency.
- Tell them not to post details about being home alone on social media.
- If your older child is looking after a younger child please make sure they are responsible enough to do so.
If you and your child decide that they are ready to be left home alone it is good to prepare and practice.
If your child, or you, have any doubts that they are ready then you might need to think about other care available for your child. These are some options you can think about;
- Family or friends may be able to help.
- Team up with other parents you know and look after each others children when needed.
- Talk with your employer to see if there are any changes to working hours possible until your child is ready.
- Look into local after school, or community sporting / creative clubs
- Look in to childminders locally - many take older children.