Guidelines for Leaving Your Child Home Alone

good morning it is Friday morning that

means it is time for mom talks

I'm Jackie Furman I'm here for Laura hi

today she is busy being a mom herself

this morning we are continuing our

summer days series talking today about

staying home alone and we are out here

the specialty care center with Stacey

Manley Roger she is a a community

education instructor she's going to help

answer our questions about everything we

need to know about when it's time for

your kids to be home alone so talk to us

first about are there any rules or laws

that we have to follow so our two main

coverages here in Missouri in Illinois

so Missouri makes it really easy there

are no laws there first we also teach in

Illinois and Illinois of course has laws

around it so Ellen oi says 14 years old

there's a longer statute to that if you

want to dig more into that but 14 is

whatever like this so that's the law

what about the recommendation just in

terms of what we'd say here are children

so what we like to talk about isn't

necessarily cabbage so every kiddo is

different so you usually see them

between 10 and 12 is when we start

having a conversation about being home

alone it really depends on the maturity

of your child so you really know that

if you think they're ready to handle it

or not and we teach a class specifically

to help kids learn to be home alone but

what are some of the things that that we

teach so we do teach a class actually I

like to call it a workshop because I

don't feel like I'm teaching what we're

really doing is getting conversation

started with families so you come as a

family and you work together as a family

and I think that's a really nice way

just to start conversation about what

this staying home alone look like and we

just mediate so we kind of talk about

topics and we left the family it's kind

of take them in there so they also get

to learn from each other and I'm sure

the age requirement or the age

recommendations are probably different

per child my kids of my own so this is a

very relevant topic for a thirteen year

old yes home alone right now

is that cool no is it cool I don't well

you know it's funny because I think

there are some kids who I would say not

so much correct but tell me what I'm

doing wrong what should I tell him so

what we're looking for is we really want

to make sure that you are having open

conversation with them if he understands

what the house rules are when you're

going and if he can follow those and you

were not right on the right track so

that's really important thing be always

saying that I like to talk about in the

workshop that you don't always think

about it and as we have a section and we

asked the kids to complete it and we

asked the parents it's like tell me

about the emotions you

when you think about staying okay so

they're finishing it on their own

the parents are finishing it I think the

parents are shocked when they hear that

when the kids are excited and they feel

proud but they're also scared so knowing

that helps you go into it also there's

some of the things that they're scared

about I think part of it is what happens

if there's bad weather can I handle that

if there's somebody knocking on the door

I know what I'm supposed to do but am I

going to handle that right so it's just

getting used to not having that parents

around to make those decisions for them

what about I think you talked earlier of

Coby got together about house rules

being different than when you're home

alone houses when mom and dad are home

it's up for example my son loves to cook

yes that's a perfect example or a cliff

example so when you're home it's

probably okay for him to use the

microwave heat up something to eat

but guess what when you're not there you

may feel differently about that so again

that open communication so that he knows

when mom's not there this is something I

can't do I have to wait so we talk about

what are the rules gonna be if somebody

knocks on the door

what is your disaster plan what happens

if there's a fire in the house where's

your meetup location all of those things

so we talked about that in in the

workshop we we draw plans if you don't

already have a plan

and I think that sometimes parents don't

want to think about they don't want that

to happen but if the kids are prepared

if it happens they're just better what

else can we do to help our kids feel

more confident again open communication

and you really have to keep the line

but I think also starting out slow and

then building time will help them build

confidence she just grabbed a shorter

periods of time and work into bigger

periods of time because the longer you

leave you home alone and the more

complex the situation becomes okay so

what about times a day is it better to

be home alone with the daytime okay the

night so we all say it's better to start

out during the day because things are a

little more normal for them and then as

they get more comfortable with it you

can talk to about talk to them about it

though definitely that's one of the

things in the last class that I had is

they felt it when it's night they feel a

little more scared about the noises in

the house about things happening outside

I think we have a question if my son

does not have a cell phone

are there other ways for him to contact

9-1-1 if he's home alone - great

question so what we talked about is we

always recommend in the workshop that

you go visit your local police

department and do that for multiple

reasons one we don't want them to be

afraid to call 911 to know that the

police want them to call if they have

questions the other thing is in your

area if you have a landline even if you

don't have a landline but you have a

phone that plugs into your outlet you

can typically call 911 but you want to

check in your local area for that what

about other kids in the home you've

decided that your 13 year old is okay to

stay home alone

what about buddies that's a great

question again we take that back to the

parents and what are your house rules

and maybe it starts out that there are

no nobody is no friends coming into the

house and as they do better with me

you can add that but again not only when

you add time do you that complexity but

when you've add more kids you've had

complexity okay so speaking of adding

other kids I know we covered babysitting

earlier in the spring just to kind of

talk about the differences between when

you know you're ready to stay home alone

versus take care of another kid exactly

and we have actually that's one of the

conversations we have in staying home

alone too is if you have a sibling and

again it all goes back to the maturity

of that child

so babysitting there is no right age for

that it really depends from the kiddos

what am I forgetting to ask you that's

critical that you make sure that your

parents know um I I think part of it is

the parents feel confident when they

walk out the door that their kids are

going to do and follow the rules they

want them to follow if you have that

open communication you're very clear

about house rules you'll be well on your

way do you have any upcoming workshops

that we should know about oh gosh so if

you get our kids today magazine or the

email it's fabulous the very centerfold

has all of our classes so you can check

out the schedule all you have to do is

call three one four four five four kids

and they can get you set up so if I have

questions about whether my 13 year old

can you know it's a bigger conversation

yeah so we want you to come to class

thanks for having me it's an important

subject absolutely well that wraps up

today and that is the first day of

summer by the way it's a happy first day

of summer and that is the end of our

summer day series for today thank you so

much have a great weekend