Health Library

Categories > Family Wellness > Children’s safety

Home alone

Being left home alone is a rite of passage for many children. But how can parents know when their children are responsible enough to be in charge? Here are some things to think about before you go solo to the store.

  • How old is your child? Most experts recommend that children be at least 12 before being left home alone. By this age, they should know how to follow directions, including taking phone messages without letting the caller know they are home alone.
  • Are there little ones to consider? If you have more than one child, make sure they can keep the peace while you’re at the post office.
  • How safe is it? Think twice before leaving your children alone if you see a lot of strangers in your neighborhood.
  • Is your child responsible? If your child can follow through with tasks like putting away laundry, he or she shows signs of self management.

Before you leave your child in charge, remember to leave a list of emergency numbers by the phone, including, if possible, the number where you’ll be.

Note: Some local governments have set age requirements for children to be left alone. So check before you leave your child at home.