Leaving Your Kids Home-Alone for the First Time

Remember the anxiety you felt when leaving your kids home alone for the first time when popping to the shops, every possible disaster that could have happened ran through your head. Were they playing with the iron, or sifting through the cupboard full of detergents and bleaches? Were they having a fight with their brothers and sisters, or had they broken your prize vase? It is normal for these kind of irrational thoughts occur when making the big step of leaving your youngsters at home for the first time, the next big step of course, is leaving them for a week or more when you take a vacation.

Every doting mother wants to spend as much tome with their kids as possible, but there comes a time when you and your husband want to take a holiday together and feel confident enough that your youngsters will be adequately able to look after themselves for an extended period of time. I first left my kids home alone for a week when my eldest was 17, I felt at this age he was mature enough to look after himself and the house. He wasn’t Gordan Ramsey but he could whip up simple nutritious meals like omelets and grilled steaks, I left instructions before I left just to make sure!

Another great tip is to ensure your kids know how to use the washing machine and tumble dryer, smelly teenagers will no doubt need to wash their favourite jeans at some point; again give them a quick demo before you go and leave notes incase it slips their mind. Repeat for other essential appliances like the dishwasher and cooker. Make sure they have enough money to get through the week, I know my lad had a huge appetite and the food left in the fridge certainly wouldn’t keep him going for seven days!

While you want to give them everything to make sure their week runs smoothly, you also want to re-enforce the fact that they need to respect the house. Many other parents have told me horror stories about their teens having parties while they were away, leaving the house in a mess, sometimes with hundreds of pounds worth of repairs to carry out. Most seventeen year olds will see a ‘free house’ as an excuse to invite their friends round and get drunk. Don’t ruin all their fun, let them know they can have a few friends over but make sure they are aware any damage must be paid for by them. Above all don’t worry and enjoy your holiday!

Joanne is a copywriter and has three kids whom she is able to trust when she goes away with her husband. Even she gets confused leaving instructions for her Bosch washing machine.

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  1. Jane Cooper says:

    Oh dear as the mother of 15 year old twins I wholely understand the anxiety of leaving kids at home, we have the issue of the impending 16th birthdays and of course they want a party which will inevitably end up as you so rightly say with their friends coming over and getting drunk. Sadly the days of childrens entertainers and clowns and party bags are well gone by.