Charlotte’s children’s doctor helps you make the right parenting decisions

Charlotte’s children’s doctor agrees that parenting comes with its own share of pressure and responsibility. To make it worse, there is no parenting manual for when you can run to the store and leave your kid behind. Or when to finally let your kid walk to their friend’s house alone, among others.

Is your child ready to stay home alone?

There is no recommended age for leaving a child home alone since kids grow differently. While one may be ready at age ten, another may require two more years. But you can always tell when your child is ready for the passage. This is through how they handle their responsibilities. If they can handle homework, chores, hygiene, and other personal duties, they may be mature enough to stay home alone. Secondly, you must consider how long you will be gone and how far you will go. Taking more time increases the chances of mischief. The location and condition of your home also matter. Having a home improvement project or water body nearby can be risky. Also, assess if your neighbors can help should the need arise.

Tips to ascertain your child’s safety during their first time staying home alone

1. Test it and see

You don’t want to get caught in a situation where you have to leave your child without preparation. Such scenarios often cause anxiety and fear for both parents and children. Experts advise leaving the child alone for a brief period, such as thirty minutes while remaining nearby and easily accessible.

2. Always childproof the environment

An unintentional injury is the most common killer of children from age one into adulthood. Your child’s safety and well-being are your first responsibility. Therefore, make your home as safe as possible. Get rid of lighters, matches, and tobacco to prevent fires. Also, lock away guns and make sure they are unloaded and separated from ammunition in storage.

3. Create simple rules

Making a set of simple-to-follow rules can promote your home’s safety. Homes with pools should forbid swimming without adult supervision. Others include having a rule against children having visitors while the parent is away. The list can always get longer if an older child is required to care for their younger siblings. But avoid giving them duties like giving baths and cooking.

4. Have an emergency plan in place

Tell your kids what to do in the event of an emergency before leaving. Create likely scenarios for emergencies and practice them in advance using role play. Discuss each step in-depth and why it is vital. Engage your children by asking for their input and ideas to make sure they remain focused. It’s advisable to compile a list of phone numbers and place them in an easily accessible place. Your child should also know how to use the phone.

5. Stock your home

Kids should have access to adequate food and drink. Reducing the need for cooking by leaving healthy snacks that call for little to no preparation is best. Children should also access any necessary prescriptions, but restricted to the amount needed during their absence.

Work with Charlotte’s top children’s doctor

There is no magic number to when you can leave your child at home. But plan carefully and introduce the idea gradually by extending the time span each time your child proves their competence. Having Charlotte’s top children’s doctor in your corner can help with more parenting tips. Gastonia Pediatric Associates, your Gastonia area pediatricians, offers top-quality pediatric care.