Rules For Leaving Your Kids Alone For The First Time


1. Create a list of family friends or relatives to call in case they are unable to reach you in an emergency. The list should also include 911, Poison Control, your home address and phone number. Kids can panic in crisis make sure everything is spelled out for them. Keep the list in one place and never move it. If they have a cell phone, put all of those numbers in their cell phone as well.

2. Never play with knives. Or matches. Or Porn. The first two need to be told to them the latter requires parents to make sure that parental controls are on the television and computers.

3. In case they ignore the “Don’t Play with Knives” rule and decide to use one to open the plastic wrapped toy you bought them, make sure they know CPR or at the very least first aid. How to stop bleeding for example.

4. In case they ignore the “Don’t play with matches” rule or decide to cook up a four course meal, they should most definitely be instructed what to do in case of a fire. Including how to use a fire extinguisher but most importantly, “We love you way more than this house,” so GET OUT if the fire is big. Also, trying to save your Xbox is a REALLY bad idea.

5. NEVER answer the front door. EVER. (The same applies to the back door.)

6.Never tell others you are home alone. This includes posting on your Facebook wall, “OMG. My stupid parents finally trusted me enough to leave me alone. Who wants to come over?” Which leads to the next point.

7. No friends over. PERIOD. It’s a liability, a distraction and an invitation for mischief.

8. Tell them you will be home in about an hour and get back home in 30 minutes. My parents taught me this one. Brilliant move by them. I never knew when they would be home which kept me on my toes and out of trouble.

9. Instruct them to never take medicine without calling you first. Our son’s friend once took an OTC cough medicine while his parents were out. After reading the dosage of two tablespoons, he decided, and I use his words, “If two is good, eight must be better.” He was thirteen at the time. You never know when a case of the stupids will attack. Make sure you cover your bases.

10. Create a contract. Put the rules on paper. Can they go outside? Can they use the stove? And so on and so on. Read over it with your child and you both sign the contract.


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  1. Anne Kimball says

    Great list here, Stefanie. Our most difficult battle has been with keeping one of our more curious young teens away from the “inappropriate material”. So check, check, and recheck your parental controls!
    Love rule #8. I never thought of this before! I’ve got six teens, and have got being devious down to a science, but you’ve got me beat here. I bow to you…

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  2. Alana says

    So true, my then 14 caused a fire. He looked at the extinguisher, but didn’t try to use it. He also took the time to unhook the gaming systems and take games out of the cases instead of leaving the house right away. Luckily he was fine and I had excellent home insurance.

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  3. Amy says

    I have longed for the day I can leave the kids home alone, and now I’m terrified. Luckily they’re only three and five. I’ve got time to draft the contract and teach them first aid.

    Great list! Very thoughtful.

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  4. Carolina says

    #5 made me giggle. Just remembering when I was young…millions of years ago. My parents said the same thing. So in one occasion, when a friend was over, the mailman ranged the doorbell as we were passing the window (shades drawn of course), scared the beejesus outta me, I ended up pushing her to the ground combat style. To this day she stills give me shit for it.
    Awesome list! Defiantly will have to print it out when the time comes…in like 20 years. (yes that would mean my son will be 22)

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  5. Karen says

    This is actually a great list. I’ve been gearing up to leave my son home alone and trying to make sure I’ve covered everything. I’m just not actually sure he has HEARD everything. Baby steps. I think my first outing will only be ten minutes tops, a walk around the block. I’ll be able to see smoke. ;)

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  6. Kristyann says

    This list is great! My son’s are still far away from being left alone, but I will have to keep these rules in mind when they can be left alone for the first time. I’d also have to add the rule “No fighting with each other”. Although, that’s going to happen weather I’m home with them or not.

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  7. Angela Speck says

    I love this list. I’m lucky that my kids are self-confident enough to be left alone already for short periods (they are 6 and 9 and I do NOT leave them alone together) – so by the time they are in their teens they’ll know the drill.

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  8. Stacey says

    Great list! My kid would totally try to save the Xbox. Neighbor’s kid got in major trouble for doing exactly #6…that was a year ago, she still hasn’t gotten her Facebook account back!

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  9. Emily says

    I wrote a post on this not too long ago, called Home Alone: Don’t Fry Any Eggs. Yeah, we forgot to say, “no cooking” while we are gone. Big mistake, and big mess in the kitchen. And saving the XBox, oh yeah, that would so be my 3 boys. Great post!

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