A: Your question contains the answer! Start in small increments. The age of your child needs to be taken into consideration – but just because a child is of a certain age does not mean they are automatically ready to take on the responsibility of being home alone and visa versa. You know your child best. At KidSafe we believe that giving kids the opportunity to learn these important life skills, and getting the opportunity to ‘practice’, so to speak, builds confidence in the child as well as shows the child that you can trust them in these steps towards independence. (and don’t freak out if they make some poor choices along the way – that is how they learn.)
Start small with trips to the mailbox, walk the dog, or visit a neighbor for a chat. Key is to let your child know the plan (where you are going and when to expect you back) and expectations for what they can and cannot do while you are out. Can they use the microwave? Watch TV? Be on a phone? Do Homework? etc.