10 Questions Every Kid Needs Answered Before Staying Home Alone

It doesn’t matter if your kids are walking to school, riding the bus, or just logging on at the kitchen table. The start of the school year is the perfect time to remind them about home safety, especially if they will be spending time home alone.

These are the 10 questions you should answer before the first day of school. 

Different kids need different rules at different ages, but these questions will help you cover your bases.

Let’s be real: Kids are gonna be kids.

They will play, rough house, horse around, get silly, and generally do any number of things that could result in cuts, bumps, and bruises. As a precaution, every kid who will be staying home alone should know the basics of first aid.

A great way to introduce kids to first aid is to turn it into a fun activity, and make a DIY kit together! You can explain every item and what it’s for while you build out the kit.

Make your own first aid kit with this downloadable checklist! Download

Every family should have a written plan in case of an emergency . The plan should explain how family members will get in touch with each other, along with a contact list of trusted friends and family. If it’s been awhile since you reviewed your plan, take a few minutes to look it over and discuss any changes with your little one.

Now, an important follow-up question: When is it time to dial 9-1-1?

Older kids may already have a good grasp on this practice, but younger ones may need a little more help. A good starting point for teaching kids how to use emergency assistance effectively is to gauge their understanding about what constitutes a 9-1-1-level emergency.

Try posing a few different scenarios to see how much coaching they need:

I fell and scraped my knee.
Someone I don’t know is trying to get into the house.
The dog threw up.
There is a fire.

Just to be safe, make sure they know they won’t get in trouble if it turns out to be a false alarm.

Role-playing lets kids practice, and also helps them memorize information they will need to give the operator, like their address or your phone number.

Fire safety rolls up into your family emergency plan.

Before being home alone, all kids should:

Know the basics of home fire safety
Be familiar with where your smoke detectors are and how they work
Memorize the family fire escape plan

If you have kids home alone, we recommend monitored fire and CO detectors.

Have a home security system? Walk kids through the basics, like how to arm and disarm the system, what to do if the alarm goes off, and how to avoid false functions.

Make sure they memorize their passcode and warn them not to share it with anyone.

Kids are going to want to have friends over when they’re home alone; you can pretty much...