Tips for Leaving Kids At Home Alone

Kids at home. By themselves. Alone.

Ok. Just that blog title scares me.

I can not believe that my kids are old enough to even BEGIN this discussion.

I was talking to another mom recently… I LOVE talking to other moms, learning, bouncing ideas off each other and helping each other.

Way better than searching through some blogs.


Searching blogs is cool too. I actually like reading and writing blogs. obviously.

But… let’s pretend you aren’t reading my blog… let’s pretend we are having a good old mom chat at the park or on the walk to school.

How on earth do you start leaving your kids at home ALONE?!?!

Kids At Home - Tips for Leaving Kids At Home Alone

Leaving kids at home scares me just thinking about it.

Yet, the time comes when leaving the kids home becomes a great option and a wonderful life lesson.

Just in the past year, we have been sticking our toes in the water of our kids’ independence.

Are they ready? How will they act when we aren’t there? Will they respect each other? Will I come home to a major mess of emotions and stress?

My mom heart beats double time thinking of all the possible scenarios of what could happen… the dangers, the possibilities, the catastrophes!

Yet… we’ve raised great girls. They know right and wrong. They understand the house rules. They {for the most part} respect each other and try to get along. They are smart, resourceful and ready for a bit of freedom.

You can read a lot of great articles by Kids Health and Parenting.

How old they should be, how many should be left at a time and so on…

If you search the web, there really are some fabulous resources for finding out if your kids are ready to start staying home alone.

For us, leaving kids at home boils down to trust.

Talking about trust, explaining trust and then giving opportunities to earn trust.

Trust and parenting go hand and hand. Our girls must understand the value of trust and the cost of breaking trust.

In the beginning, we started with 10-15 minutes of the girls being home alone. We were in the beginning stages of running and stayed very close to home on those first short runs, letting the girls know we were close by if they needed us. As they built trust, we have been able to grow this time.

We are careful about when we leave the girls. Not at meal time or bed time or any other key moment of the day. Leaving them at a time when they are fed, happy and playing is a much better option than when their needs are high and there could be an unnecessary meltdown by 1 or more of them while we are gone.

I lay out the rules very clearly every time I walk out the door. {my girls could recite this to you word for word}

“No fighting. No arguing. Respect each other. Go to your beds if you can’t agree on something and take a time out away from each other. Don’t open the door for anyone. Call if you need help. Play well and have a good time!”

I make sure they have an activity or two ready to go so they have things to do while we are gone.

I put out a snack or tell them what is available for snacks so they don’t have to go through cupboards or drawers looking for something.

They know our home boundaries for TV, computer, social media, the kitchen and personal belongings.

The girls have emergency numbers and neighbor’s numbers. I often let our neighbors or a friend know ahead of time so they are aware the girls are home for such and such amount of time.

*Leaving something fun like this with them for all the info they might need

We check in with the girls on Voxer or texting.

We ask good questions when we get home.

If trust was at all broken, we remind them that staying home is a privilege and it could be lost at any time. They could have to come with us everywhere… all errands and meetings and so on. This is a HUGE motivator now that they have tasted the blessing of watching themselves while we have a meeting or go out to the post office.

Some of the benefits we have noticed since starting this process of independence is that the girls have learned to help each other more. They have learned to depend on each other more. They are building trust with each other and learning to mind their own actions on a deeper level.

They are understanding that trust is give and take. Trust is valuable and worth working hard to keep. And they need each other to keep that trust in tact.

So, while I learn to let go, be brave and trust my girls, they learn to obey even if I’m not there and to respect each other enough to get along well.

They learn that God is there when I am not.

They start to grow up in new ways.

Do you leave your kids at home alone?

What are some things you did at the beginning or have learned to do now before you leave them along?




  1. We leave the kids home alone, longer if Cas is home but even the twins will be by themselves for an hour or so. Cas is 15 and in October she stayed alone over night (just her) to watch the dog while Rich and I attended a wedding. We checked in several times and my mother in law is only 5 minutes away should she need help but she did great. It’s a hard choice to decide when to leave them but by extending that trust we are showing them we believe in them. It helps them to act more mature and in turn we trust them with more things. As parents that’s what we want to raise them to be mature, responsible adults.

    1. I think it is great having someone close, like your mother in law or our friends here, to help give everyone peace of mind. If something should happen, help is just minutes away! Teaching trust and helping them build confidence is so important! thanks for sharing, Shanna! Tell your kids hello!

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