Home Alone

Is your child ready?

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

(HealthDayNews) -- While many parents think children age 10 or older are mature enough to be left home alone, it really depends on the person, says St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Here are some ways to prepare your child:

  • Walk your child through potential scenarios and watch how he or she reacts.
  • When necessary, guide your child on the appropriate responses.
  • Teach the importance of keeping track of the house keys.
  • Make sure your child knows the correct way to answer the phone.
  • Role play emergencies and how to handle them.

If you feel your child is ready, start by leaving him alone for short periods and gradually lengthen the time he stays by himself. Your child should be completely comfortable by himself before you place a younger sibling in his care.

--

Last Updated: