LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Leaving your kids alone without parental supervision is a big leap, but it’s an important one.
There are lots of reasons parents look forward to this big milestone in their teen’s development, from date nights to babysitters canceling and school closing.
It’s certainly a lot easier if you don’t have to coordinate childcare.
It’s less stressful in some ways but maybe more in others because allowing your child to be home alone is a big step.
Clinical psychologists say many factors should go into your decision, and not every child is responsible enough when they hit the same age.
You’ll want to consider several things, including:
- Are they physically and mentally able to care for themselves?
- Does your child obey rules and make good decisions?
- Does your child feel comfortable, or fearful about being home alone?
Here are 6 tips if you think your kid might be ready. These can help prepare you and them.
- Have a trial period. Leave them home alone for a short time stay close to home and see how it goes.
- Role play. Act out possible situations to help your child learn what do to,
- Establish rules. Make sure your child knows what is and is not allowed when you are not home. You might also want to give them a list of chores to do to keep them busy while you’re gone.
- Check-in. Call your child while you’re away to see how it’s going. Have a trusted neighbor or friend check-in. Use technology to keep an eye on things, maybe you want to invest in security cameras that let you see what’s going on in your house with your phone.
- Talk about it. Encourage your child to share their feelings about being home all by themselves.
- Don’t overdo it. Experts say even mature, responsible children should not be home alone too much.
There are other options to consider, including: after-school programs, community centers, or youth organizations.
Michigan law has no minimum age at which children may be left alone without supervision.