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Workshop For Youth ‘Home Alone’

By Staff | Apr 13, 2017

A workshop to help build skills, maturity, and confidence for children to safely stay home alone is being offered by Palo Alto County Extension and Outreach.

“We’ve all read the headlines ‘9 year old saves the day by calling 911’ these are the feel good stories that can happen when kids have adequate education from parents, teachers and community partners in caring for themselves when they are home alone,” says Angie Strohman with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “But, not every story goes that way when kids are home alone. Sometimes stories of children left home alone can lead to tragedy.”

The workshop to help youth build skills, maturity, and confidence to safely stay home alone is being offered by Palo Alto County Extension and Outreach. The program is Saturday, April 22, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Cost includes handouts, snacks, lunch and supplies. Registration is required. This program is limited to 20 seats. To register, call the Palo Alto County Extension Office 712-852-2865 or email angies@iastate.edu

Topics discussed with your child include:

Ideas for rules to have in place when your child is home alone.

Setting a basic schedule you want your child to follow when home alone.

Knowing your child’s procedure if someone comes to the door when you’re gone.

Ideas for managing the ever-present squabbles that occur between siblings.

“This workshop does not certify your child is ready to be home alone. You must make that decision as a family. Your child will leave our workday with a family workbook to guide you through discussing rules and expectations together,” said Strohman.

According to Ann Torbert, 4-H Program Specialist, “Youth left home by themselves without self-care skills may find ways to occupy their time – that grownups in the home may not like or some may truly be fearful staying home alone after school. These classes are skill building and also incorporate ways for grownups in the home to support this step towards independence.”

According to a 2013 publication by Michigan State University, “US Census reported 7 million school-age children across the US are left home alone during summer months.” Four state have laws defining at what age a child can be left home alone Oregon (10 years of age), North Carolina and Maryland (8 years of age) and Illinois (14 years of age). Eleven other states suggest an age range of 8-12 years old. Iowa has no set age.

According to Latchkey Kids (www.latchkey-kids.org) the general rule most kids under age 12 are not mature enough to deal with emergencies. Much of this decision as a parent relates back to the maturity of the child. How does a parent know if kids are ready for time at home alone? Parents need to understand the maturity level of their children in three areas physical, intellectual and social/emotional. www.parentslikeus.com/on-their-own-ok/