Start By Communicating

Open lines of communication between parents and their children is critical. Parents need to ensure that they feel confident about their child’s ability to be home alone and that they feel confident about their child’s ability to be home alone and that they can trust their child. The 10 to 14 year old also needs to feel safe and sure that there will be someone available if help is required. This takes communication. But, there is more to communicating then just talking. Both parents and 10 to 14 year old need to:

Remember That Your Attitude Is as Important as Your Words

  • The most important part of communication is trust. Let your 10 to 14 year old know that you trust them. Ten to 14 year olds need to show their parents that they can be trusted.

Be Honest

  • Say what you mean. Mean what you say.
  • You don’t have to agree with everything each other says. Say why you don’t agree.

Respect Each Other

  • Respect feelings
  • Don’t make fun of ideas
  • Ask for opinion
  • Respect privacy


  • Take the time to really listen to what is being said
  • Let the other person know that they can talk to you and that you’ll let them have their say

Be Fair

  • Always be willing to talk things over, but once you agree on a rule, it has to be followed
  • Don’t change the rules without warning. But be willing to change rules when they need changing

Hang on to Your Sense of Humour

  • There will be times when it’s the only thing that gets you through

Are You Ready?

When are children ready to be left home alone? Are you comfortable with your child walking alone to and from school? Is your child comfortable with walking alone to and from school and activities? This must be talked over by all family members. Parents should fill in the parent questionnaire while the young person fills in the 10 to 14 year old questionnaire. Comparing answers will help families see some of the issues they need to talk about.

Remember this is not a test. It is a series of questions to assess readiness to be left home alone.


Download a copy of the: