Children mature at different ages and they may or may not be ready to handle the responsibility of being home alone. That is a decision you need to make with your child. Even if you think they are ready to be alone, they may feel as if you are abandoning them and pushing them before they are ready for it.
After you have the conversation and decide they are ready then it is time to set the ground rules. Children need structure to be able to do as you wish, you cannot expect them to just understand what you are thinking if you haven’t told them. Here are some of the rules we think should be established before you allow them to stay home alone.
Check things out before entering- They should look for anything unusual around the house such as opened doors or windows that shouldn’t be left open. If they do find this, they should to go to a neighbor’s house and call you.
After entering lock the door- Locking the door behind them will ensure nobody comes through that door without them knowing.
Once inside, reset the alarm- If you have a home security system installed, teach them how to use it and how to reset the alarm once they get home.
Answering the door or phone- this is completely up to you on how you would like to handle this. You may not want them answering either of them. But if you do make sure they know to be cautious an never let anyone in the house and take messages for the phone instead of answering questions.
No Cooking- Cooking is the leading cause of home fires according to the National Fire Association. You should set ground rules about what appliances can be used. After those rules are set make sure they know the safety precautions in case something goes wrong with that appliance.
Chores- I know they are a drag for kids but giving them a list of things to do will mean they are less likely to get into trouble while you’re not around.
This is just a short list of things that can be done to keep them safe, is there anything else you have tried that has worked well for you?