Kid's Zone



One of the realities of today's society is the pressure for children to stay home alone for a short time after school until a parent returns from work.

School age children need to be supervised by a responsible adult. If you can't be there in person when your child gets home from school, find a way to give him or her, the feeling of being supervised:

  • Set firm rules, with clear do's and don'ts.
  • Prepare your child to deal with situations that may arise.
  • Specify how his or her time is to be spent.
  • Keep in touch - if you're hard to reach, get a mobile phone or pager.
  • Limit the time you leave your child at home alone.

Parents should not consider letting a child stay at home alone before age 10 - and then only if the child is mature enough, only for an hour or two at most, and only if there's a responsible adult nearby to help out if needed.

Short test runs may help you assess whether your child is ready to stay home alone. Go out for just a few minutes. When you return, talk to your child about the experience. Increase the amount of time you are out, leaving specific instructions to follow. After a few trials answer these questions:

  • Does the child feel comfortable about being on his or her own?
  • Do you feel comfortable about the child being at home alone?
  • Can the child follow rules responsibly?
  • Does he/she understand and remember instructions, whether written or oral?
  • Does the child find constructive things to do without getting into mischief?
  • Can the child handle normal and unexpected situations?
  • Are you able to communicate readily with him or her when you are not at home?
  • Can the child always reach someone to help in case of emergency?

Prepare children for the responsibilities of self care, focus on how to prevent problems, handling real-life situations, and keep safely and constructively occupied.

Here are a few helpful tips:

When you get home;

  • Call a parent as soon as you get in to say you're home.
  • Eat a healthy snack.
  • Look at your list of things to do.

When you get a telephone call;

  • Never tell anyone you are home alone, even if your parents will be right back.
  • Always say your parents are busy and can't come to the phone right now. This is not a lie.
  • Never give a stranger, information over the phone. Tell them you will take a message and have your parents call them back when they are free.
  • You should always answer the phone because it may be your parents calling to see that everything is all right.

When someone comes to the door;

  • Do not open the door to anyone if you're alone.
  • If someone tries to force their way inside, call the police using 911.
  • Always keep the door locked even when you are not alone.
  • If it is a stranger, let your parents or babysitter answer the door.