Is My Child Old Enough to Be Left at Home Alone

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As a parent, you may be stretched from time to time. Having to manage your errands etc whilst having children isn’t the easiest and sometimes you may find yourself struggling to find childcare. You may be left with no other option but to consider leaving your child at home alone. Whether it’s for 15 minutes or a few hours, it’s not a decision that you should take lightly. You should think about your child, where they are in their development, and how old they are to evaluate whether or not it’s a safe call to make. An independent school has shared some guidance to help parents make this judgement.

The Law
While there is no legal age to leave your child at home unsupervised, it is illegal to put them in any sort of danger and at risk. It is deemed as neglectful behaviour which can be prosecuted for.

Young Children
It goes without saying that young children and babies should never be left home alone. They are unable to take care of themselves and have little to no understanding of the world around them. Despite whether they are clever for their age, if a situation were to arise, they would not know how to respond and deal with it accordingly.

Children Aged (6 to 12)
Primary-aged children between these ages usually cannot walk home by themselves, babysit and cook. They lack the maturity to deal with such situations and therefore should not be left alone for long periods.

Secondary Aged Children (12 to 18)
While your child may display signs that they are mature enough and wise enough to be left at home, you should speak to them to gauge how they feel about it. If you are considering doing so, set some ground rules surrounding issues like who to open the door to and how to deal with hazards. If your child has special needs, you should also take them into consideration as it may prevent them from getting the help that they need in the event of an emergency like a fire.

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