Expert post: Should your children be home alone?
In the UK, there is no official minimum legal age at which children can be left home alone. So how do you decide when yours are ready?
Leaving your kids home alone for the first time can take a huge leap of faith. There is no set formula for when children can be left alone - it will depend on their level of maturity, their confidence and even, to a degree, where you live. These mums on Mumsnet have widely differing views on when their children were ready - yours will probably be different again.
Leaving your child home alone
- Think about whether you feel your child is responsible enough to be left alone and discuss with them whether they feel ready. If either of you are unsure, don't do it.
- Most primary school children should not be left for long periods.
- The first time, make your outing very short - perhaps ten minutes while you pop to a local shop or a neighbour's house.
- Make sure your child has your phone number, and some other phone numbers of people locally they could contact.
- Discuss what they should do if there was a fire or another emergency.
- Tell them not to answer the door to strangers.
- Set rules for what they are and are not allowed to do while you are out and ask them what they plan to be doing.
- Tell them what time you will be back and don't be late!
As I live very rurally, where my children would have to phone someone or walk 15 minutes to summon help in an emergency coupled with the fact that I naturally assume the worst is always going to happen, I don't plan to leave my children alone anytime soon. But we'd love to hear when you first did so, or when you plan to.
Government advice on leaving children home alone
Advice from the NSPCC
Post a comment
You must be signed in to post to Ready for Ten.
Haven’t registered? It’s really quick and simple.