As your child gets older, it’s likely they’ll start wanting to have more independence. They might want to go out to the park or the shops with their friends or walk to school alone. You might be wondering if it’s ok to leave them home alone for a short time while you go out.
There is no legal age to leave your child unsupervised, but it is illegal to leave your child if it puts them at risk. Whether it is safe to leave your child will depend on the situation, their age and development stage. It’s never ok to leave babies or young children alone even for a short time.
Most children reach a stage where they start asking to do things without adult supervision, this is an important part of their development. Taking small, manageable steps will help them to become self-sufficient adults.
Some things your child may start wanting to do are:
There is no set age at which it is safe to leave a child alone as each child is unique and each situation is different. Instead, it’s better to look at the situation and decide if you feel it’s safe for your child. Some things to consider are:
Staying home alone is a big step for a child and their parent, so it’s good to make sure you are both prepared and feel safe to take that step.
Before allowing your child to go out without an adult, start teaching and modeling independence skills so they can gradually become more confident. That way, you will know they have the skills to deal with tricky situations. As they develop their independence, they will want to push boundaries so it’s important to support this development whilst setting some ground rules.
You can also ask for advice from our parenting coaches.
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