Most parent remember the movie home alone, when a young child was left unintentionally at home all by himself, while the whole family went on holiday. Sometimes parent had to go out quickly to the shop or a few doors from home and left their child/ren at home. Parent find it had to even indicated they have left their under 10 years old at home.
I was having a conversation with a mum and she indicated her 11 year old daughter cooks food from starch. This showed a level of responsibility from the child, but when it came to leaving her home alone or working from school alone, she had to research on what the law had to say. This showed some part of responsibility on the mum’s side but she was also covering herself so as not to be accused of child abuse. What does the UK law say about leaving a child home alone? Does it provide an age restriction in leaving a child home alone? Having in mind that a child legally is anyone under the age of 18 years.
According to the children and young peoples act, there is no age range on when a child can be left home alone. Why you may ask? This is to indicate that children sense of maturity or taking on responsibilities are at different developmental stage and not on age. Take the illustration above, an 11 year old who knows how to cook from srach and a 14 year old who has never cooked and gone near a cooker. Who is likely, out of the two, to know what to do in an emergency. The important thing about leaving children home alone are:
>level of maturity and responsibility,
>not putting the child at risk
>the child knowing what to do in an emergency
Points to consider:
- Is my child responsible enough.
- If there is more than one child, Will the older child be responsible enough to look after the younger ones.
- Will all the children get along.
- If the age gap is not much between siblings, Will the young child/ren be ready and willing to listen to the older child.
As a parent, if you have to leave your child/ren home alone, think is it nessary, what i want to do is it soo important or it can wait and will there be risk associated with me leaving the children home alone. Remember ‘ Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’ (www.direct.gov.uk
). For more information on children being home alone Click