How to know if your child is ready to stay home alone

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- School is out for the summer, which means more kids will have to stay home alone while their parents work, but how do you know if your child’s ready for that responsibility?

Staying home alone for the first time can be stressful and scary for kids, and their parents.

Eau Claire YMCA Youth Development Director Jen Swicky said you should prepare your child to start staying home alone by running short errands without them, like making a run to the grocery store.

She said it’s easier on kids if you get them used to staying home alone by gradually being gone for longer periods of time.

As for what age to start allowing your child to stay home alone, Zwicky said that all depends on how independent your child is.

“A lot of times we see kids who are getting around the age 10, 11 and 12 start being able to be independent enough to be home alone,” Zwicky said. “Especially the responsible ones end up babysitting for others too whether that’s younger siblings or neighbors.”

Zwicky said if your child is home alone while you’re at work, it’s important for them to know how to get a hold of you, so give them backup numbers to call if they need something.

She said it’s not a bad idea to also have a neighbor or relative check up on them during the day when they start staying home alone, to make sure they’re doing okay.

The YMCA offers home alone and baby-sitting classes to help prepare kids for when they start taking on more responsibility.

For a list of when those classes take place click here. 

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee

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