When is it safe to leave your child home alone?

leaving kids home alone there is no law

in Washington or fed dial 12 years old

is acceptable but only for a couple of

hours and it's not advised to leave a

twelve-year-old in charge of other kids

especially if they're small chance is

here to talk more with us about some

things we need to consider in dangers

when it comes to leaving kids home alone

and we bring this up because it does

happen a lot especially in the summer

just this last week there was a mother

in South Carolina who was arrested for

leaving her three kids at home one was

wheelchair-bound so there were some more

issues going on there but what do we

need to consider since there is no law

about an appropriate age when we leave

kids at home marni there's the obvious

what's the child's age how emotionally

mature are they have we done any

training form you know kids I would

suggest never under age 10 and 12 so

good range but kids are different who's

going to be in the home with them or

they're going to be other kids how

quickly can they get in contact with

somebody how quickly can somebody be

there they always have two phone numbers

to call besides an emergency number and

what about things like food have we

thought about okay yeah are they gonna

eat goody yes and am I going to be gone

for two hours four hours and the other

is safety issues is their pills that

could be it accessible alcohol those

kinds of things that weapons so

sometimes we forget well there are kids

not gonna be any problem but we really

got to err on the side of safety yeah

well and you brought up some of these

but I did a little research I was

looking at the DSHS website and they

have some guidelines that you touched on

that I think it's important to go

through and and one is asking your child

if they're comfortable staying at home

alone like listen Susie we're going to

leave for a couple of hours anything

you're nervous about any concerns you

have right you know and I'm going to say

if they're show a lot of anxiety it's a

little too soon it's too soon yeah let

your kid help you dictate and also do

they follow instructions can you trust

them to tell the truth if something were

to happen good or bad exactly what if

somebody knocks on the door did they

have instructions on how to handle that

if the phone rings what do you do do

they know how to call nine

one I guess trying to gauge your child

if there was an emergency situation

would they know what to do what to do

absolutely what about family dynamics

because I you and I both have multiple

kids and when when in front of us they

can argue kind of get at each other so

when you leave them alone what are

things we need to be considering that it

won't get out of hand when we're not

there to regulate okay you have an older

kid say 12 13 you think okay we can be

gone for a couple hours you watch the

younger one but because the older one

can be alone okay it doesn't mean that

person or that child is qualified to

oversee another child and so what's the

current dynamics of their relationship

is this an opportunity to really tease

or mistreat a younger brother or sister

which happens yes and how you gonna get

accurate information on what happened

when you got home who's gonna give it to

you because they want to do it again

they want the end of the second all

right so it sounds like we need to set

some expectations some ground rules what

would be your advice before you leave

you know making sure they have kind of a

checklist but here's what I expect from

you if you want to do this I'm gonna

write it down okay and I'm going to

actually run through it with them okay

it maybe it's a neighbor or somebody

that's nearby where's the name the

number i'm going to make sure they can

actually follow through and they need to

know when do you call me when do you

call mom or dad's cell number under what

because a lot of times they can be

anxious and they'll just be calling you

you're gone for two hours and they've

already called you a dozen times right

right they're nervous you work with a

lot of kids yes they do for their kind

of mental state to be given this

independence I mean it's got to be at

some level pretty healthy for them to

feel like you're you trust them to be

responsible to handle this oh this could

be a great confidence builder yeah give

them a practice run a shorter period of

time maybe it's a 10 or 11 year old that

you feel yes they're making good

decisions go away for an hour but things

like locking the door going practice

some of this okay practice when the

phone rings how do we answer it are you

home alone what what does a kid trained

to say mm-hmm what about technology what

are they trying to say so if you

ta get a phone caller and knock at the

door I mean even as an adult there are

times I don't answer door you didn't

tell me you're coming I'm not answering

the door so what do we tell our kids

when the phone rings or there's a door

not okay oh we don't go to the door you

don't go to the don't go to the door

doesn't doesn't matter don't even go

look is what if they saw you and it

wasn't somebody that you're new now it

could be some of you know but we're

always gonna err on the side of safety

so don't go to the door if you have

caller ID on a phone teach them how to

use that don't answer a phone call that

we don't know what the number is or who

it is don't put them in that position

where there it's awkward to give an

answer yeah okay that's great advice I

was surprised that there is no law in

Washington when it comes to the age of

kids at home so you're saying base it on

your individual child give them a little

bit of trust and see where go from there

government right child is different

every child is different good advice

especially this summer dr. Jann's always

great to see you thank you