Before you leave your child at home alone, you should make sure that he feels safe and comfortable and can handle the responsibility. Most children are not ready to be left alone until they are at least eleven or twelve years old, but it will depend on your child's maturity level. You may want to gradually let him stay home alone for very short times to make sure he is ready. Some things to review before you leave your teen home alone include:
- Make sure that he is comfortable staying home alone.
- He should know his full name, address and phone number. He should also know how to reach you at work.
- He should know how to deal with situations that may arise while he is alone. He should know to not open the door if someone knocks in any situation (you can review different situations that may occur). He should not open the door even if they say they have an important package or if they say they are a policeman. Instead of opening the door in uncertain situations, he should know to call you first.
- Also review what to do in emergency situations, such as a fire. Make sure he knows how to call 911 and know to get out of the house in case of a fire.
- Structure his time when he is home alone. Be clear about any chores, homework, or other things that he is supposed to do. Have a routine that he must perform when he gets home, including locking the door and checking in with you if possible.
- Childproof the home. Remove guns and lock away alcohol or medicines.
- Be clear about any restrictions that you may have, including not using the stove or other appliances.
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