Visit our foundation to give a gift.
View Locations Near Me
Main Campus – Hartford
Connecticut Children’s – Waterbury
Urgent Care – Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Danbury
Connecticut Children’s Surgery Center at Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Fairfield
Search All Locations
Find a doctor
Find A Doctor
Request an Appointment
Amenities and Services
Who’s Who on Care Team
Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Expect—Picture Stories
Understanding the Different Fees
Estimate of Financial Liability
Pay a Bill
United Technologies Family Resource Center
Family Advisory Council
Legal Advocacy: Benefits, Education, Housing
Electronic Health Records
Share Your Story
Pay a Bill
Login to MyChart
Clinical Support Services Referrals
About the Network
Join the Network
Graduate Medical Education
Continuing Medical Education
MOC/Practice Quality Improvement
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC)
Learning & Performance
Meet our Physician Relations Team
Request Medical Records
Join our Referring Provider Advisory Board
View our Physician Callback Standards
Read & Subscribe to Medical News
Register for Email Updates
Update Your Practice Information
Refer a Patient
Find and Print Health Info
Health Information For Kids
Are you home alone after school until your parents get home? Plenty of kids are. No one knows exactly how many, but the number is in the millions.
It’s common for both parents to work or for kids to live with just one parent, so many kids spend some time alone after school. Many schools now have after-school programs, but some don’t, and in some cases, families may not be able to afford the extra expense.
You might have many different feelings about being alone. Sometimes you might be happy to have the place to yourself. Sometimes you might be lonely, or afraid, or just plain bored.
So you and your mom or dad have decided you’re mature enough to take care of yourself after school. Every weekday, you’ll come home, let yourself in, and then what? Good question! This is why you’ll need to set up some rules — before you’re home alone.
Some families put up a list of rules where everyone can see them, like on the refrigerator door. Other families write out a contract and have each member sign it, saying they agree to the rules. Or a family might just go over the rules out loud.
But whatever method you use, there are a lot of questions to talk about, like:
Once you’ve decided on the rules, you and your parent may find it helpful to make a schedule. That way, you’ll know what’s expected of you each day. A schedule might look like this:
Knowing how to stay safe is just as important as knowing the family rules. Again, this is something you need to talk over with your mom, dad, or both of them. Go over safety rules for the kitchen if you’ll be doing any cooking while you’re home alone. It’s a good idea to practice what you would do in a real emergency, just in case anything ever happens.
Kids who are home alone might worry that someone could break into the house and hurt them. The good news is that this is very unlikely. But keeping the doors and windows locked will help you to stay safe.
Decide with your mom or dad what to do if the phone rings or if someone knocks at the door. It’s never a good idea to tell someone that you’re home by yourself. And if you get home and the door is open or a window’s smashed, don’t even peek inside. Instead, go to a neighbor you trust for help.
Other kinds of emergencies could come up, too, like a toilet overflowing, a fire, or you or a sibling might get sick or hurt. Just in case, you’ll want to know:
Talk with your mom or dad about how you feel about being home alone, especially if you feel lonely or scared. They might be able to give you some ideas or solutions that will make you feel more at ease. Maybe you can go home with a friend once a week or a neighbor can start checking on you. Sometimes a kid just isn’t ready to stay home alone and other arrangements need to be made.
Keeping busy with homework, chores, and play can make your alone time go quickly. But you might find yourself wondering what to do next. The trick is to think about your choices ahead of time. You might even want to keep a list of stuff you like to do. Need some ideas to get you started?
Writing a report? Studying for a test? Having problems at school? Get tips and advice.
In a medical emergency, kids can be heroes just by calling for help. Find out more in this article for kids.
Millions of kids live with just one parent. Are you one of them? Find out more in this article for kids.
You can be a big help when someone is hurt or in danger. How? By dialing 911. Find out more in this article for kids.
It’s scary to think about a fire happening at your house. But you can fight the fear – and prepare yourself – by learning the right way to handle a fire emergency. Find out more.
Have you ever been afraid? Everyone gets scared sometimes. Find out more about fear in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.