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Date night, a quick run to the store, hitting the gym for an hour… there are so many times parents wish they could leave kids at home instead of grabbing a babysitter or bringing everyone along. While most states have different laws, the state of Illinois regulates that legally, a child cannot be left alone until the age of 14. Before your child turns 14, it is important to make sure they are ready to be left alone. How can you tell when they are ready?
Before letting a child stay home alone, Jennifer Schott, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, wants parents to remember that every child is different. It is important to understand that while one kid may be ready at age 14 to be left home alone for a few hours, another may not be. And that’s okay.
In order to see if your teen is ready, consider these factors:
Before parents leave their teen home alone, Dr. Schott suggests going over these steps together:
Before leaving your kid home alone at nighttime, practice a few trial runs and slowly build up everyone’s confidence. Start with a few daytime trials – such as a quick run to the grocery store or lunch with a friend – and increase the length of time you’re gone. Do this until both parents and children are comfortable for a night home alone.
When you first left your kids home alone, how did you prepare them?