Our very own Suzanne Pearson was on 3 Counties radio, on the JVS show, on 29th July talking about this. With the school holidays upon us and parents struggling to take the 6 weeks off work it is an important question to ask.
General rules to consider are:
- Know (and be honest about) your child’s maturity, a round figure is over 12 years. Think about how your child would cope in an emergency? How do they deal with stress or a change of plan?
- Have ground rules – only have cold food (ie leave the cooker off!), Don’t answer the door to strangers.
- Plan for the unexpected – Who do they contact in an emergency? Leave contact details for them in an obvious place. Do they have access to a phone – is it charged? Do they have a signal?
- Have a neighbour (or someone you know and trust) check on them.
- Don’t tell people on social media they are alone – and make sure they know not to post this too.
- What is a reasonable amount of time to leave them? Practice this by popping out for 10 minutes or so first and see how they cope/feel.
- Listen to your child – if they seem uncomfortable with the idea do not leave them.
- Slowly give responsibility to your children as they grow, encourage them to put their clothes in the laundry basket, put their plate away, find their shoes, ask them how they think they could solve their problem etc if children are used to learning about taking responsibility and problem solving they will have a healthy self esteem they will then be used to it when the appropriate time comes for them to be on their own.