There isn’t a magic age at which an individual child is instantly mature enough to stay home by themselves for a limited amount of time. The “On Their Own and OK” project offers information to help parents determine if their child has the skills, maturity and confidence to safely stay home alone.

While no one can promise that your child will do all the things you want them to do when they’re home alone, the “On Their Own & OK Checklist” developed by Iowa State University Extension in Linn County and the “On their Own & OK Parent Guide” can help you with a variety of topics, including:

  • Ideas for rules to have in place when your child is home alone.

  • Setting a basic schedule you want your child to follow when home alone.

  • Knowing what you want your child to do if someone comes to the door when you’re gone.

  • Knowing what appliances to let your child use (if any) when you’re away.

  • Ideas for managing the ever-present squabbles that occur between siblings.

  • And more!



Skills Training

A group session lead by a trained instructor is also available to help older kids develop self-care skills needed to eventually be ready to stay home alone.

To permit this training to be offered at a specific location, it is helpful to have a site organizer identify sponsors willing to cover basic presentation costs.

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On Their Own & Ok

This checklist can help you think about two important things:

  1. How ready is your child to be home alone for short periods of time?
  2. What skills does your child need to develop in order to stay home alone safely?
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Parent Guide

On Their Own & Ok

This guide is a must read if you are thinking about leaving your child home alone. Whether it is soon or a little ways down the road, this guide will get you thinking ahead. It is full of useful information and tips that can help you prepare yourself and your child to make that step as easy as possible.

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