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Signs Your Tween Can Stay Home Alone

by Lori Sciame | February 26th, 2015 | Tweens

tween (400x400)You love your child.  This translates into worrying about every aspect of his or her life.  You worry about everything from providing enough nutritional foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to stewing over whether he or she gets enough sleep.

One area that causes parents a great deal of concern is determining when a tween is ready to be left home without a sitter.  Of course every tween matures at different rates, so one size does NOT fit all; however, if you watch for the following signs, they will certainly guide you in your decision of whether or not to leave your son or daughter alone for brief periods of time.

Expressing a Wish to Try Going it Alone

At some point, most tweens will start asking to be allowed to stay home alone.  For instance, if you usually make your tween accompany you on short trips to the convenience store or to the gas station, he might begin asking to be left behind for those few minutes.

It can certainly be scary when you allow him to do so for the first time, but you must begin this process of letting go.  While it may be difficult, it is a good idea to start allowing a responsible tween to be left alone for 10 – 15 minutes at a time.  This will let the child  build his confidence in anticipation of being left without a sitter for longer periods in the future.

Understanding What to do About What Ifs

Another sign a tween may be ready to be left without a sitter revolves around her knowledge of what to do in certain situations.  Examples include: a stranger rings the doorbell, the smoke alarm sounds, or the lights go out.

We all know  the three situations described above usually do not happen while a parent is gone for only 15 – 20 minutes, but I believe it is always better for a child to be prepared for the what ifs.

Your tween may be ready to stay home for a short amount of time if she can recite what to do in case one of the above really happened.

Past Behavior Instills Trust in His or Her Abilities

As you work towards the idea of allowing your tween to stay home alone for short periods, it’s always good practice to look at his or her maturity level.  A child that follows directions, one who can be counted on to actually complete what he or she promises, and one that doesn’t have any worrisome behavior issues may be ready to be left alone.  Again, the key here is a history of being responsible.

What if My Child Tries and Fails?

Tweens may seem to be ready for this new experience; however, sometimes your child may become very upset the first time he or she experiences being all alone.  If this happens, do NOT be mad at your son or daughter.  Eventually, everyone becomes able to be on his or her own; it just takes some longer than others.

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