Even if your child is at an age when it is appropriate and you believe you’ve prepped them enough, sometimes unexpected things can come up. For example, a Florida mom name Debbie shared: “The first day my 3rd grader came home alone, I sent our neighbor and family friend to check in on her… and she wouldn’t answer the door! She also wouldn’t answer the phone. Luckily, we still had an old-school answering machine. So, I called and talked to her over the answering machine. I told her I would call her right back and that she needed to answer because it was her mom. Then I called, and I told her who was coming to the door. Lesson learned! We made a family code word after that.”
Of course, in addition to being able to take care of themselves, you child should also be able to know what to do should an emergency arise. You should be confident that your child knows the house rules and can also provide snacks and water for themselves without needing any help.
There are ways to help make the whole process easier, and of course a cell phone can really simplify getting in touch on either side. Make sure the phone is charged before you leave and that your child knows how to charge the phone if the battery dies.
You can use a nanny cam to help monitor what is going on. You can also try doing a test run by going out for a short 15 minute trip at first to see how things go. Also, establishing check-in times can make both sides feel better, as periodically checking in will let both of you know that the other side is reachable.