Experts Weigh In When Kids Can Stay Home Alone During Summer Break

With many kids out of school for the summer, it is time for parents to think about what they will be doing to occupy their kids.

Many kids spend their summer break in day camps or sleepaway camps, while others stay home alone while their parents work.

Some parents might find it unimaginable to let their children stay alone for an entire day, but many often do it, especially as they age.

The family therapist Catherine Pearlman advises parents to know if their children are mature enough to be left home alone in the summer and establish safety protocols in case of an emergency.

Do Kids Stay Home Alone In The Summer?

Pearlman says there’s no one correct answer regarding what age a child should be left home alone, but a few factors are to consider.

She says, “It depends on the child’s age, the number of siblings at home, the length of time they’re left on their own, and the region they live in.”

Signs Your Child Can Stay Home Alone

Pearlman says, “It’s important to gauge your child’s comfort level with staying alone. Some might like it, while others may feel anxious.”

Pearlman suggests considering these factors when determining whether or not your child should stay home alone during summer vacation.

  • Is your child able to meet their basic needs?
  • Is your child capable of handling a wide range of emergencies?
  • Can your child confidently call 911?
  • Is your child able to ask for help when they need it?
  • Can they make good decisions?

What Can Kids Do At Home Alone?

Kids are unlikely to do their homework or clean the house when home alone, so expecting that can be dangerous.

Rather than parents’ expectations, Pearlman suggests parents plan fun activities, movies, and games.

She says, ” If it goes well, children will be excited to be left on their own, gain a good sense of independence and build their confidence.'”