Prepare Your Child to be Home Alone

Talking, role playing, and rehearsing actions to be taken to solve predictable problems will help give your child confidence to stay home alone. Also, your son or daughter will feel far less anxious if he or she can determine which problems can be solved with simple responses and which situations are serious enough to require adult help. In general, the “what would you do if …,” problem solving technique can be very effective. Ask questions your child is most likely to face such as: “What would you do if …”

… you lost your keys?
… your sister started “throwing up a lot?”
.. a man in a uniform asks you to open the door and sign for a package?
… you came home and smelled gas in the house?

Here’s a model problem framework that explores different solutions with a four-part process.

1. State the problem

  • I came home from school and found the door broken open.

2. Give different responses

  • I can go inside to see if anyone’s there.
  • I can yell, “Hey, get out,” and then run.
  • I can go to a neighbor’s house and call the police.
  • I can call my parent from a neighbor’s house.

3. Discuss the consequences

  • If an intruder is still inside, I’m in big trouble.
  • I could scare the intruder away but I might get caught.
  • Police will check out the house.
  • Same results as above.

4. What’s the right response?

  • I decided to go to my neighbor’s house and call the police. Then I called my mom or dad. I’ll probably stay at my neighbor’s until my parent comes home.

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