7 Tips for Leaving Children Home Alone on School Holidays

While every child is different in terms of maturity levels and understanding of the world around them, kids as young as 12 years old (in Australia) can usually be left home alone for set periods of time, however you are still responsible for their safety. Other countries may have their own laws regarding leaving children at home so be sure to check first.
As a parent, this can take a lot of stress off you during the summer holidays since you won't need to drag your children out for every little errand you need to run.

Still, there are things you'll need to consider and prepare before leaving your child or children home alone. If you're unsure of what you need to do, don't worry! That's a natural reaction before taking any big step, and researching and understanding what skills and tools to give your kids while you're out will ease your mind.

Here, we've compiled a list of the seven most important tasks you'll need to accomplish before leaving your children home alone at any point during the school holidays. Read on to learn more so you can ease the weight on your shoulders!

1. Make Sure They're Ready

Before leaving your children home alone, it's crucial to make sure that they're ready. While children as young as 12 can stay home legally, that doesn't mean that every 12 year old is at a maturity level to be home alone. Make sure that any children younger than 12 are accompanied by a responsible older sibling when left unsupervised. These older siblings can be briefed on all the information they need for both themselves and their brother or sister.

You'll need to do a bit of prep work with your kids before leaving them unsupervised as well. No matter how mature they are, they're going to need tips about cleaning up, staying safe, using technology, and managing fever in emergencies.

2. Lay Out Ground Rules

leaving kids alone in school holidays

After you're sure that your children are ready to be left alone, it's time to set some ground rules. Good expectations include not answering the door for strangers, restrictions on what areas of the house they can go to, and chores that should be completed while you're out. 

Establishing these boundaries- especially those that give them productive tasks to complete- ensure that children won't get into any trouble while you're out. Fight proactively against horseplay and irresponsible activity by laying bare the expectations you have of your kids. 

3. Make a List of Tasks

As discussed above, it's important to create a list of tasks for your children to complete while you're out. Chores are a good idea, as are fun activities like completing pages in a coloring book or watching a favorite movie. If you're leaving a toddler with an older sibling, tell them to do some activities together that promote growth and development.

Write these tasks on a sheet of paper so your kids can see how much they need to do and budget their time. A concrete list also ensures that your children know that these tasks are serious and must be completed. It also ensures that they won't forget what to do while you're gone.

4. Have Emergency Contact Info Handy

It's also important to have a concrete list of contacts that your kids can call in case of an emergency. Write this information down and leave it with their task list, but make sure to also plug the numbers into your kid's phone. 

Contacts to include are yourself, your spouse, grandparents, and trusted neighbors. It's also a good idea to include doctor's office names and the most important number of all- 911- in case they can't remember it during a stressful crisis.

5. Create Check-In Times

Creating specific times and intervals at which your kids check in with you is also essential because it lets you know that they're safe. At these check-ins, you can ask how things are going and what tasks are currently being completed. This will ease your mind by letting you know that things are alright at home, and it will also get your children back on track in completing their to-do list.

Make sure that your children have a kid-friendly cell phone that your number, along with emergency information, is plugged into. These check-ins can be done with this phone.

6. Have First Aid Products Handy

Although check-in times will provide you with ample opportunity to know that your children are well and everything is fine at home, it's also important to have products on-hand so your kids can ensure their own well-being. No matter how quickly you rush home, there will still be an interval where your child or children are without a parent if an emergency happens. This sounds scary, but it's much less so if you set aside first aid products and discuss where they can be found.

Assembling a first-aid kit can do a lot to ease your mind. Include easy-to-use items like band-aids and Neosporin in case of cuts, but also make sure that you have other necessary products for pain relief during illness. It's crucial that you add items for fever management like heating and cooling patches.

7. Stress the Importance of Being Prepared

Above all, it's important to stress the importance of preparation to your kids, especially older ones that may be watching after your younger children. Make sure that they know where first-aid materials, contact information, and cell phones are before each time you leave the house. This will ensure that your kids will have all the materials they need to stay safe.

There are also a variety of activities you can do with older children to stress the importance of preparing and develop skills in planning ahead. Building these skills in other situations besides those in which they're home alone will ensure that children are equipped with a second-nature understanding of how to plan for emergencies.

Get Ready for School Holidays

While leaving children home alone for the first time can be stressful, it's a great step for both you and your family. Not only will you get some much-needed space, but your kids will learn skills of responsibility that allow them to grow into independent thinkers.

Now that you know how to prepare to leave your children home alone during the school holidays, it's time to make sure you're stocked up on essential emergency items. Click here to shop for products that your children can use to make sure that they're safe as can be on the school holidays. We offer heating and cooling packs for pain relief as well as easy-to-use stick-on temperature indicators, all at an affordable price!

Have a wonderful holiday and enjoy your independence


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