What to Consider about Child Supervision
Something to Consider First
Before you make the decision whether to have your child stay home alone, consider whether the following factors apply to him/her. If the answer is "yes" to any of the problems listed below, your child should not be left unsupervised.
- Accident prone
- Developmentally delayed
- Difficulty getting to or from school on time
- Emotionally Disturbed (ED)
- Expresses fears or worries about being left alone
- Frequently gets into trouble
- Mental health or physical health issues
Many school-age children fear being left alone, especially after dark. They may not admit this to their parents. Do not call the child "sissy" or "baby" and do not insist that he or she "grow up." It is important to discuss these fears with children and be sympathetic to their concerns.
Help is Just Around the Corner!
Some civic and church organizations offer child care classes for children as young as eleven. These classes enable them to become "Parent Helpers." They also teach responsibility to children who are going to be left alone or who may supervise younger children.
Please note: These organizations do not advocate that all children who take the class are able to supervise younger children.
A Word About Inadequate Supervision
There are no laws in Virginia that state specifically how long a child may be left unsupervised. Loudoun County Child Protective Services may be called about a situation involving inadequate supervision of children. A social worker may then need to assess the risk to the children. The guidelines are suggested and may help to prevent such calls.
For more information, please call 703-771-KIDS (5437).