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Leaving your child home alone

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When can you leave a child home alone?

It can be a difficult thing admitting that your child is grown up enough to be home alone, but in an increasingly more uncertain world parents are feeling less and less secure leaving your child home alone for any length of time. When I was at secondary school I used to walk to and from school with my mates, and sometimes when I got home my parents were still at work and my brother and sister were out so I was left for an hour or so to eat rubbish food and watch even worst television. I remember my Dad giving me my own door key, I felt very grown up and responsible and was proud to have it, sounds stupid really these days but it meant I was being trusted.

Rules and regulations

These days of course there are rules and regulations for everything and although there is no legal age limit for leaving a child home alone there is a law that says “Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health” (Children and Young Person’s Act). When it comes to leaving a child home alone then their maturity is the biggest defining factor, for example you may have a very mature 12 year old who knows not answer the door and doesn’t touch anything in the kitchen, so you may be inclined to pop to the shops and leave them playing on the Xbox, however, you may have a 14 year old who feels the need to lick all the plug sockets, so you wouldn’t leave them alone for a second. The NSPCC has some guidelines, of course they do and the general gist of it is you don’t leave under 12’s alone for more than an hour, you don’t leave under 16’s alone over night and you never leave babies and toddlers, which you’d hope was obvious but who knows.

Giving them some responsibility

The case is made that leaving your child alone for an hour, or letting them have a key to let themselves in can be very rewarding emotionally as it lets them have a sense of reliability and gets them to start understanding what responsibility is all about.home alone The first time you leave your child you will have the long chat, don’t answer the door or the phone, don’t touch the oven or hob, don’t have the television too loud and don’t barbecue the dog. If you are very sure they understand all that then pop out and let them be alone for a while, my Dad tested me, he went out and sat in his car for ten minutes then he knocked on the door instead of using his key, I passed with flying colours and it is  a good little test to make sure your child understands the rules and that you are confident they will stay safe. If you are thinking of giving your child that added bit of responsibility then good luck and remember that it’s all part of the learning experience and before you know it you’ll have keys to their house.

 

 

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About Steven Petter

About Steven Petter

Steve has three children, Connor, Harmony-Skye and Fletcher. He is a Martial Arts enthusiast as well as an avid reader of books about Philosophy, he began writing short stories and also writes music reviews.

Website: Steven Petter

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