Tinzley Bradford, Our Single Mom Advice Maven Examines Kids “Home Alone…” 

Hey Single Mothers,

You’re a great mom and you do all the right things for your child. So what happens if you’re challenged with the task of not having anyone to watch your child while you work?

It’s common for parents to be anxious or nervous about leaving their child home alone for the first time. Face it, there have been nightmare stories. Some people end up facing criminal charges. So I do understand why one would be reluctant to even consider leaving their little one home alone.

My daughter was pretty responsible at a very young age. Raising her as a single mom, I many times had to make tough decisions! My daughter did great however and over time it got easier.

We all have things that come up that may back us against a wall. Whether it’s a snow day and the schools are closed, an unexpected meeting at work, your kids getting out of school earlier than you get off work , what will you do if you don’t have a sitter? Would you let your child hang alone at the house? How do you know they’d be safe?

So when is it okay to leave your child at home alone?

There have been many parents arrested for child abandonment and/or leaving their child unattended after something terrible happening. However, there is a difference between child abuse and neglect and a parent who had no other choice. You have to feel confident in your child enough to trust that your kid can handle themselves.

Photo Source: Pinterest


**Depending on your city’s child home alone rules and laws, you may want to contact your local CPS (Child Protective Services) Office for advice: 1-800-422-4453.

There are signs that will make it much easier to determine if your child is ready and mature enough to stay home solo.  You should also factor in how long you’ll have to leave your child home alone. Will it be an everyday thing? Will it be for 5 or 8 hours or longer?

Here are my suggestions:

1. Ask your child how they feel about the possibility of them having to stay home alone. Most kids would say; oh that would be fine but be sure you look closely to see how sincere that response is. Some kids may display signs of fear being left home alone and others may show confidence.

2. Kids under the age of ten still have a lot to learn and are still very much young minded and may not be ready for such a huge responsibility. I suggest over ten years old only!

3. How responsible is your child when it comes to chores, homework discipline, etc? If he or she seems responsible leaving them alone will more than likely be fine. If you always have to tell them to do stuff over and over again and they don’t seem mature or responsible enough yet, then NO.

4. How well does your child handle things when they don’t go as planned? Are they pretty calm and poised or do they panic and get upset looking as if they can’t handle things? If this is the case then they may not do so well if left home unattended. The last thing you need is a panicking child running to a neighbor’s house, then that neighbor calling the cops. Then, well, you have some explaining to do.

5. Does your child know how to take care of themselves? How about basic first aid needs? 

6. If you tell your child to never open the door for strangers or anyone except you unless you say otherwise do they listen? Make sure they know the seriousness of this. You can even test them by telling them you’re running to the store and you can send a friend you trust to the door to see if they will indeed not open it.

7. Are you constantly having to save the house from burning down or you look up and notice your child has slipped outside without you knowing it? These may be signs their not quite ready to go at it alone. But think about how much you already depend on your growing child now. You ask them to bring you something to drink, you ask them to go get things for you, put up the groceries or even wash the dishes. If so, I’m certain they can stay home alone occasionally.

If you prepare your child for being a latchkey kid who may come home from school each day a little earlier than you get off work, everything will probably be okay.

Take a deep breath and prepare. Your child is getting older each day and at some point you have to believe in them enough to know they’ll be just fine.

Good luck!


P.S. If you can’t see the video above Click Here: “Kids Home Alone.

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