Every family at some point will face the question of when they can safely leave their child home without adult supervision. Often the first question people have is, “When is it legal?” The answer for Wisconsin families is that there is no set age. The recommended guideline is often listed as age 12,but many factors come into play. Following are some things to consider when trying to decide what is right for your family.
- How mature is your child?
- Is your child comfortable with the idea?
- Does your child have help nearby?
- Does your child know what to do in an emergency?
- Is your child responsible for any siblings at the same time?
- Are there any medical issues?
- How safe is your neighborhood?
- Have you established some safety rules regarding answering the door, having friends over, using the oven or stove, etc.?
- Are there any firearms in your home?
- Is your child aware of dangers involving internet use and strangers?
When you feel your child may be ready, start out by leaving your child for a short period of time while you run a quick daytime errand like picking up a few things at the grocery store. Be sure your child has access to a phone and that you have a phone with you as well. As both of you become more comfortable, you can gradually increase the length of time your child is alone.