When kids hit their tweens, we assume they’re old enough to stay home alone.
The problem with fixating on age instead of maturity means that some kids manage themselves at home alone before they have the skills to do so. Others are prepared to handle the responsibility but are stuck at home with a nanny. Age cannot be the only indicator of readiness. Maturity is harder to evaluate. However, there are a few key indicators.
- Doing chores with minimal reminding or complaints
- Managing their after-school routine independently
- Able to come up with logical solutions to simple problems
It’s not just about age
Your child’s unique brain, their environment and experiences influence the way they act, think, and feel.
As parents, we can’t control our child’s unique brain – although sometimes we wish we could instantly install logic – but we do have some control over our home environment and the experiences.
It’s about handling responsibility
Giving your tween some responsibilities will help them hit those brain development milestones and set them up for success.
According to the research, kids that do chores are better equipped to deal with frustration, adversity, and delayed gratification. If you take the time to give explicit instructions, they’ll be able to take a few household chores off your plate, and they’ll feel good about contributing.
Age-appropriate responsibilities build home alone readiness
So when you’re trying to fill the after-school/ home from work childcare gap, consider helping your tween develop the skills they need to manage themselves safely at home alone. Your child will thank you – and so will your chequebook.