Looks like your child is… emotionally ready to stay home alone
Your child is able to self regulate – they can handle themselves well. You feel confident leaving them at home with a solid set of instructions.
Your child spends short periods of time at home alone. Maybe it’s been a necessity because of the school/work time gap. Maybe it’s so they can spend time doing something fun at home rather than grocery shopping with you.
Whatever the case, they probably still have questions about situations that may come up when they’re home by themselves. In all the classes I’ve taught over the years the same questions come up over and over. Even from students that come to the home alone course after already regularly spending time home alone. You tween probably has the same questions.
Err on the side of over-communicating. Situations that you instinctively know how to deal with because of your life experience are new to your tween. Explaining why you’re handling situations the way you are helps them see the logic – so when they’re alone and facing a similar situation they can draw from your shared experience.
“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. It looks like your tween has some of those characteristics.
The Stay Safe! home alone course is a great way to open conversations about topics that as adults we assume kids know how to handle (believe me – they don’t, but they want to.) Register your emotionally ready tween for an upcoming Stay Safe! Home Alone course. Together, we’ve got this 🙌
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