Preparation and Communication for Children Home Alone

There is no right or wrong answer to when you can start leaving your child at home for
short periods of time. There are many factors that can determine whether your child is
ready, including maturity, temperament, health, age and level of comfort. Although the
Canadian Safety Council suggests that parents shouldn’t consider leaving a child home
alone before the age of ten, this shouldn’t be considered the only criteria.

Before you make the decision to trust your child to man the fort for a short period of
time, ask yourself these questions. They will help you in making the responsible

  • Does your child feel comfortable being home alone? Ask them how they feel.
  • Do you feel 100% comfortable with the idea of leaving him/her home alone?
  • Does your child follow directions, understand instructions, both written and oral?
  • How does your child deal with unexpected situations?
  • Do you have a reliable method of communication with your child when you aren’t
  • Can your child reach someone in the case of an emergency? A neighbour? The
    authorities? Are they comfortable with this responsibility?

If you’ve thoughtfully answered these questions and have come to the conclusion that
your child can in fact be left alone for a short time, follow these steps.

  • Give your child a schedule, a routine to determine how their time is spent
  • Set firm rules, the do’s and don’ts, including what to do if someone were to come
    to the door
  • Keep in touch throughout the time spent apart, checking in on your child,
    confirming everything is going smoothly
  • Before you leave, ensure your home is safe and secure – doors and windows
    locked, stove turned off…
  • Just because your child can care for him or herself, doesn’t mean they’re ready
    to look after a younger sibling or friend

How long is too long?

  • Remember, every child is different. But feel free to use the below as a general

    • Children ages 10 -12: up to 2 hours
    • Children ages 13-14: up to 5 hours

Children ages 15-16: up to a whole day.


Home Alone (with first aid)

This course is designed for the 9 and 10 year old group by the Canadian Safety
Council, to help prepare them to deal with unforeseen emergencies and staying safe in
times where they may find themselves alone for short periods of time. Participants will
learn how to deal with phone calls and visitors, recognize hazards and follow home
safety procedures. They will also learn first aid basics, healthy eating, fire safety and
how and when to use 911.

Find a course near you and register at or call 905-568-1905.

Babysitting Basics (with first aid)

Developed by a team of child care professionals, trained babysitters, St. John
Ambulance instructors, and parents this course teaches new babysitters the skills
necessary to care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. It emphasizes safety, dealing
with emergencies and first aid basics. Course materials include; a student activity book,
a certificate suitable for framing, and a wallet-size certificate.

Find a course near you and register at or call 905-568-1905.

Quick Links

Find class schedules and registration links below. If you prefer to register by phone, or have questions please call us.

Client Service Hours
Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Phone: 905-568-1905
Email: [email protected]

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