Thursday, November 15, 2012

At what age does Florida allow children to stay alone?

Florida does not have a stead fast rule regarding the age that children can stay home alone. Instead the Department of Children's and Families does offer guidance to parents at the criteria they need to consider prior to allowing there children to stay home alone. Because children mature at different rates, there is no single, pre-set age at which children are considered “old enough” to stay home by themselves for short periods. Parents must evaluate their child’s individual development and physical capabilities.
Is my child comfortable, confident and willing to stay home alone?
Does my child consistently follow my rules and guidelines?
Has my child demonstrated good independent judgment and problem-solving skills in the past?
Is my child able to stay calm and not panic when confronted with unexpected events?
Have I brainstormed with my child about what unexpected situations could possibly come up while he or she is alone, and how to handle them?
Is my child consistently truthful with me? Does he or she readily come to me with problems and concerns?
Does my child understand the importance of safety and know basic safety procedures?
Will my child make decisions to stay safe, even at the risk of seeming rude or overly cautious to other children or adults?
Does my child have the ability to calmly provide his/her name, address, phone number and directions to our home in an emergency?
Can my child lock and unlock the doors and windows of our home?
Can my child tell time?
Is my child able to work independently on homework?
Have my child and I established a clearly structured routine for when he or she is home alone, with defined responsibilities and privileges?
If I have more than one child staying home, have the children demonstrated the ability to get along well and solve conflicts without physical fighting or adult intervention?
Have my child and I had some “dry runs” to allow him or her to practice self-care skills while I am at home, but purposefully “not available”?
Is our neighborhood safe?
Do we have neighbors that my child and I know and trust?
After reviewing this list of questions, you’ll have a better idea of how ready your child is to stay home alone. These are only general guidelines. Parents and other caregivers must also consider other factors specific to their individual child and family circumstances in order to make the best decision.
Parents and caregivers should begin leaving children home alone progressively—for only a short time, at first, and stay relatively close to home.


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  2. that is a good question. It probably depends how long you will be away. Are you going on a trip or the grocery store?
    Bill |

  3. This is a question that I am interested in.I remember when I was young and you could just go play outside until it got dark. Not everyone is more cautious about what their children do.

    Alena |

  4. My brother is wondering if he can leave his daughter at home. His wife passed away a few years ago and he needs to stay at work for a couple of hours after she gets home from school. These tips helped a lot. I'll have to let him know I found these and have him ask the same questions.

    Lynn Chase |