Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Feature: Home Alone

When my daughter was in fifth grade, her daycare experience came to a screeching halt. The program at her elementary school had closed due to lack of space, and we'd scrambled to find a program that would transport her to school. The pickings were slim and, once we found a program, the fit was less than ideal. It wasn't that the program was bad; there just weren't many kids her age there, which meant she was bored, especially on days when her school was closed and mine was not. After a while, we had to give serious consideration to the inevitable question.

"Can't I just stay home by myself?"

At some point, every parent has to address this question. When our kids are little, the answer is easy. As they get older, things get more complicated and one size does not fit all, especially since local ordinances vary as widely as kids' maturity levels.

In the end, after a lot of consideration, conversation, and many trial runs, as well as assistance from articles like this one, we determined that she was old enough to stay by herself after school. The decision ended up being a good one for our family, and a stepping stone to the independence that accompanied the middle school years that immediately followed.

Planning and preparing for this decision can make all the difference. If you're not sure what to do, take some time to do your research, if you can. Take your child's confidence, maturity level and feelings into account and talk to other parents whose styles resemble your own. Make sure your child knows what to do in case of an emergency, and be sure you have a back-up plan. And, once you take the leap, expect to put lots of contingency plans into place at first and then back off slowly as your confidence (and your child's) grows.

In the end, it's a leap of faith and a rite of passage.

No comments:

Post a Comment