Is Your Child Ready To Be Left Home Alone and Should You Leave Them?

There will come a time when parents are faced with the decision to leave their children at home on their own. Whether an emergency calls for the circumstance or your child asks to be trusted with the responsibility, a parent will be faced with this situation at some point. There are plenty of things that you need to consider.

Legal Factors
Is your child old enough to be left alone on their own?

Compliments of Kids

There are only three states in the US that require a child be of a certain age before being left at home alone. In Illinois, children need to be 14 years old in order to be left alone, in Maryland 8 and in Oregon 10. Just because the other states do not have any official age restriction does not mean that there aren’t other things that you need to consider. There are other child protection laws in place that you need to be aware of and you can look to these laws when it comes to determining when it may be appropriate for you to leave your children at home alone.

Taking on Responsibility
Are they mature enough?
If your state does not identify a certain age as being appropriate to leave a child at home, you will need to use your own discretion. Some children mature quicker than others, but as a parent you will need to use your judgement as well as your own knowledge and familiarity with your children to know whether or not they can handle being alone on their own. Children should be relatively self-sufficient, well-behaved and they should also know what to do in an emergency.

Being Prepared
Do they know what to do in the event of an emergency?
In the event that something should happen, it is important that you trust your children to take care of themselves and do the right thing. Do they know who to call in the event of an emergency? Do they know what numbers to call and what to say? Do they know what to do about strangers, people coming to the door, or answering the phone if it rings? These things are all good to know, and even though no one wants to think that anything will happen while they are away, it is always important that kids are prepared regardless.

Setting Ground Rules
What can or can’t they do?
You should also make sure that your kids know what is and isn’t allowed. Depending on their age and skill level, are they allowed to cook? Can they have friends over? Can they use the computer? And if they are watching younger siblings, make sure that they are aware of what the younger kids can and cannot do as well, and make sure that they know how to be authoritative and responsible in an appropriate way with younger siblings, as well.

There are many things that you need to keep in mind as a parent, and sometimes you will learn new things like rules and exceptions once you begin to experience letting your child stay at home alone. But remember, the most important thing is to trust and know your child before making any big decisions when it comes to giving them such a responsibility.

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How To Effectively Discipline Children

One of the most difficult things that parents will need to navigate to their children is dispensing discipline. Discipline is not just a means of punishment or a system that perpetuates action and consequence. It is important that children learn to understand how to behave and why certain behaviors are deemed unacceptable or unsafe. Disciplining your child is not about punishing them but it is about teaching them how to act in society in a way that is safe as well as respectful of others.

So, how does a parent go about effectively disciplining their child?

There are several things that you should remember, but one of the most important things you should keep in mind is to be clear about the rules and be consistent with them.

First off, it is important that children understand what sort of behavior is unacceptable. In some cases, children will learn this by example whether it is through their own behavior or by watching other children, and in some cases other people in general. It is vital that you have a discussion with your child as to why something is unacceptable, whether it is throwing a tantrum, stealing, being rude, or anything else along those lines. If they understand why something is bad or unacceptable, they are more likely to listen. It is important that children have some sense of personal understanding beyond the idea that something is “bad” or undesirable. Not only is it better for them in the long run, but it can help to better ensure that the idea sticks. It also helps you create a strong sense of communication and respect with your child.

Disciplining Your Child

Once your child understands what the rules are, or what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable, it helps that you remain as consistent as possible. Sometimes, contradictions will arise as new situations and exceptions present themselves, but overall it is important that you remain as consistent as you can in order for children to retain a sense of understanding. If you’re inconsistent, then your children will not have a reasonable idea of what to expect from you or how they should ideally behave.

As a parent, it is also important that you lead by example. Children are visual learners and they often learn how to behave by mimicking the way that their parents do. If you often contradict the rules that you set for your children, not only will they not understand what the rules are but they will disregard anything you try to tell them about their behavior because of it. The way that you act around your children and others will have more of a lasting effect on them over what you say, so if you support your advice and your rules with your own behavior, children are more likely to take note and to listen.

Raising disciplined children is not going to be easy. There will be good days and bad days, and some kids will be more difficult than others. It is important that you remember the advice above, but it is also essential that you employ tactics that work best for you and your children as individuals. Setting boundaries, being clear, and remaining consistent is vital, but the ways in which you discipline your child should be appropriate to them as a person involving the situation at hand.

~ KD Novelties is a publisher of personalized children’s books and are advocates for promoting literacy in children. They share parenting resources and reading tips here on their blog.

How To Get Your Kids to Listen to You

As a parent or guardian, it is important that children listen to you. This is not a means of bossing them around but a parent or guardian’s job is to help guide kids down the right path, to teach them valuable life lessons, to help dispense a sense of purpose and responsibility and to make sure that they take care of themselves and remain mindful. At times, it can be difficult to get children to listen and many parents grow frustrated with the difficulties. You may not know what to do or how to handle a situation, but there are some ways you can help better ensure that kids listen to you and that your relationship remains healthy.

Get on Their Level
When parents and guardians get frustrated, some often tend to resort to yelling. However, this does not help any situation and can possibly make matters worse. In order to get another person to listen to you, it helps to better understand why they may not be responsive. Get on your child’s level in order to gain some perspective. Some kids may not be actively trying to ignore their parents but they may simply be acting their age. Try to understand why your child may not be listening and go from there before doing anything else.

Make Your Presence Known
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous at times. If children are distracted, it may be more a testament to their age and the current level of their brain development rather than a conscious desire to ignore you. You don’t have to do anything drastic, but sometimes a tap on the shoulder, a gentle touch at the elbow or another sign that you are present can help bring their attention and focus to you and what you have to say to them.

Define Your Limits
Many parents might find themselves yelling their throats hoarse by yelling and calling their child’s name through the house that dinner is ready or it is time to leave for school. Some kids may simply tune out this noise or not understand the urgency, so it is essential to lay down some ground rules. Sit your child down and explain to them what it means when you call their names and what it is that you would like for them to do in response. Tell them that you would like for them to come to you or at least respond, it’s about being respectful. For example: “I would be happy to ask you to put your jacket on but after that we are walking to the car without you.” Let them know that listening is not so much as taking orders from you but more so an integral part of working as a team with the whole family. When it comes to other things such as bedtime, try a three-minute warning, such as “You have three minutes to finish playing your game but when those three minutes are up it is time for bed.” Giving them some space but still laying down rules can help them understand that what you are telling them is important while still giving them some space, as opposed to turning things off without warning or yelling, and calling their name repeatedly.

Communicate Effectively
Children are people in the making, and by explaining to your child why you are telling them what you want can help them understand why they need to do the things that you say. Instead of saying “Because I said so,” so many times, taking the time to explain your reasons and why some things are important will help children listen in the future so that you may not even have to take these extra measures if they take it to heart. Children are people, too, and by understanding them and having them understanding you they can begin to better understand why you tell them to do certain things without feeling like you are bossing them around or being unfair.

For more parenting resources be sure to check out the KD Novelties Blog and for unique reading books for kids visit our website at