Looks like your child is not ready yet… but they will be
It’s hard when your child is begging you to let them stay home alone – but they’re just not ready.
You want them to be able to take that next step of independence but you know you’d be worried every second you are away.
Just like every kid learns to walk and talk and read at different ages, kids are ready to stay home alone at different times – age is only one factor to consider.
Here’s the thing though, without some structured help building skills for independence, your child will struggle longer than they need to – and you’ll continue to need to find after-school care for them.
So set some time aside to help your child develop the skills they need to stretch their wings and finally be able to say they can stay home alone. Trust me, your kids will thank you in the long term.
“We never know the love of the parent till we become parents ourselves.” — Henry Ward Beecher
How to make the most of your time preparing your child to stay home alone….
1. Teach your tweens tasks
At first, teaching your tweens how to complete household chores, might seem like a lot of work, but it’ll save you hours in the long run. On top of that, it’ll help build up their confidence and self-reliance. Sounds like a sweet deal, right?
Start with small, easy to do tasks like unloading the dishwasher, making their school lunch, or doing their own laundry.
2. Set routines
Helping your tween set some morning and evening routines will go a long way to helping them develop the skills they need to care for themselves when you’re away.
Break it down a larger morning routine into micro-routines. Let them take ownership of one micro-routine at a time. This will create some easy wins, increase their confidence, lower everyone’s stress level, and build their responsibility muscle. They’ll be able to stack those micro-routines until they’re managing larger routines like a pro.
3. Practice routines when you’re home
You’ve created routines together, you’ve taught your tween what’s expected for each part of a routine (micro-routines) – you’ve set them up for success.
Get your tween to create their own checklist for each micro-routine… even if it’s ugly, the check boxes are crooked, and the handwriting is barely legible.
Then, let them practice those micro-routines when you’re home – no nagging required. (If you’re like me you’ll have to bite your tongue quite a bit when they don’t do things exactly the way you would. But, a bit of tongue biting is worth the results. Soon, having them complete micro-routines independently will be the norm and you can spend that tongue biting energy elsewhere.)
Hold up — let me introduce myself!
Hey there, I’m Marina Gabor. . . 👋 I’m the mother of three teenagers. We’ve spent a lot of time together as we’ve homeschooled the past 9 years. And I learned a few things as we navigated the tween years. Also, as a certified Red Cross Youth Leader I’ve taught hundred of students over the years. Without fail, I notice that the kids that are ready to stay home alone have certain characteristics. And those characteristics don’t show up at a specific age – every student, regardless of age that I taught was in that class because they wanted to prove that they were responsible enough to stay home alone – and that desire was the start of their path to greater independence.
If your child has been asking if they can stay home alone, they’ve got the desire – register them for an upcoming Stay Safe! Home Alone course. Together, we can help them develop the skills they need to stay home alone safely. 🙌
Looking for a few more resources?
1. Follow me on Facebook and stay in the loop about upcoming Stay Safe! home alone and executive function skills classes.
2. The Red Cross Stay Safe! Home Alone course (available for Canadian students) covers practical situations tweens may need to deal with when home alone. They’ll also learn some basic first aid skills. You can find out more about the Stay Safe! program as well as our Executive Function Skills classes here: oakfieldsafety.com/home-alone