Will you leave your tweens home alone this summer?

With the school year ending, it’s time for parents to make arrangements for summer child care. Parents may decide to leave their tweens (children age 11-13) home alone for a few hours or even the entire day. But before tweens are left home alone, it’s important for parents to make sure their children understand a variety of safety issues and can respond appropriately.

In a 2008 NPCH Report, we asked parents about their confidence in leaving their tweens home alone. Nearly two-thirds of parents of children age 11-13 have left their tweens home alone for an hour or two and nearly 1 in 5 parents have left tweens at home alone for an entire day.

Although most parents were “very confident” that their tweens wouldn’t play with guns and would leave the house immediately in case of a fire, parents were less confident that their tween would go to a safe place during a storm and would not give out personal information over the phone or the Internet. Read the full report: Summer safety for 'tweens' home alone.

If you’re planning to leave your tweens home alone this summer—even for just an hour or two at a time—it’s important to talk to them about safety. In our NPCH Report, many parents hadn’t discussed key safety issues with their tweens:

  • 32% of parents had not or had only somewhat discussed neighborhood safety.
  • 30% of parents had not or had only somewhat discussed Internet safety.
  • 28% of parents had not or had only somewhat discussed home safety.

Let us know what you think! Have you left your tweens home alone? How confident are you in their ability to follow safety guidelines? Have you talked to them about safety?