At What Age Can A Child Be Left Home Alone After School?
South Carolina schools in both Hory County and Georgetown County will be back in session in LESS THEN ONE MONTH and if you are a parent of school-aged children, pre-teens or teenagers after-school care solutions is what’s on your mind right now, are we right?
If you’ve researched after school programs, babysitters and clubs, you know that choices are limited and enrollment is expensive.
You might be ready to try the ‘free’ route aka allow your child to be home alone after school!
The question ‘At what age can a child be left home alone after school’ is one we hear quite frequently. As parents ourselves, we’ve had that same question years ago!
There is a two-part answer to this question.
- The LEGAL AGE a child can be left home alone after school in South Carolina is non-specific (there is no law regarding the age at which children can be left alone), however, the state has issued a non-legal guideline recommending that children younger than 8 never be left alone.
- The age you might want to leave your child home alone after school differs from child-to-child!
What does this mean?
It’s up to you as a parent; use your common sense and available resources!
Does Your Child Ask To be Left Home Alone After School?
In a previous article, we gave some advice on how to find out if your child is ready to be left home alone.
That included looking at the following criteria
- state laws
- safety standards
One way to measure maturity is that they either bring it up themselves or that they are excited about the opportunity.
How To Prepare A Child To Be Home Alone After School
Preparation is key for a child to be ready to be home alone after school.
Rules are important!
From that previously mentioned article, we learn to
- Schedule set times for parental contact during the time spent home alone.
- Discuss telephone ettiquette and what information is ok to share and not share.
- Establish a code word in case there is a need to communicate with the child through a third party.
- Discuss before hand who should be allowed in the house, and who should not be.
- Make a list of rules. Is it ok to play with neighborhood kids or play outside? Which activities are not allowed?
- Again, a prepared person (including a child) is someone with confidence!
Safety Rules For Kids Staying Home Alone After School
These rules are rules kids should know regardless of being home alone, or with a parent!
- Rehearse possible situations the child might face. Rehearse what to do in case of a fire, power outage, tornado, security alarm set off.
- Rehearse what to do if a stranger knocks on the door.
- For an extra safety measure, install a security system. This will allow you to be notified when your child has arrived home from school and also allows you to check on them from time to time.
Kids are rehearsing for emergencies at school; why not rehearse them at home once per month as well?
How To Keep an Eye on Your Child Who Is Home Alone After School
For those among you who are excited at the prospect of being able to allow your child the freedom of being home alone after school, but are still worried, we have several options for you; all of those will ease your mind!
- LYNX Touch System by Honeywell Total Connect
- The Honeywell Total Connect iPhone app!
- Personal panic buttons
- Self Defense Classes (yes we believe kids should have this skill!)