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Children often express an interest in being left alone around 4th or 5th grade, but it’s hard to know when they are ready to be left on their own. It depends on family conditions such as: how long the child will be alone, if there’s a trusted friend or neighbor who could help in an emergency, if your child can reach you by phone, if you’re able to be home on time most days, how safe the neighborhood is and how many other children are left alone.

It also depends on your child’s maturity level and the skills they have to take care of themselves. This checklist can help you think about how ready your child is for “on my own” experiences. It can also give you ideas on how to make the experience better for both you and your child.

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Parent and Family Checklist

This checklist will help you to decide if your child is ready to be home alone.

DOES YOUR CHILD...
  • Complete household chores?

  • Complete homework?

  • Arrive at school and home from school on time?

  • Observe family rules?

  • Ask for help when problems arise?

  • Communicate about feelings?

DOES YOUR CHILD...
  • Show interest in being able to stay alone?

  • Know why they are home alone and where you are during that time?

  • Find things to do when they are alone?

  • Get along with sisters/brothers and do you have rules to help them get along?

  • Safely make snacks?

  • Use the phone and know what to say to a caller they don’t know?

  • Know what to do if someone comes to the door while they are alone?

  • Know what to do if they get a small scrape or cut?

  • Safely use the computer?

  • Handle small emergencies such as being locked out or loss of power?

  • Know a friend or relative they can contact if you are not available?

  • Get to practice being alone for a short time?