Department of Family Services – Children and Families

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

703-324-7500
TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035

Oriane Eriksen,
Director

Preparing Your Child to Stay Home Alone

Parents are ultimately responsible for making decisions about their children’s safety. Every child is different and must be assessed based on their maturity, skills and comfort level to be home alone for any period of time. Once you have assessed that your child is ready, Fairfax County offers these steps to prepare your child for this new responsibility.

Preparation
  1. Write family rules together. Discuss rules for phone and screen use, cooking, taking care of siblings, doing homework, going outside, having friends over and answering the door.
  2. Check in. Ensure your child has access to a phone and checks in regularly.
  3. Help your child memorize their address and important telephone numbers.
  4. Review and post a list of emergency contacts. Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
  5. Have a spare key available. Leave an extra key with a neighbor or trusted adult. Make sure your child knows how to use the door and window locks.
  6. Let a trusted neighbor know that your child may be home alone. Designate a safe place where your child can go if he or she feels scared or unsafe.
  7. Teach home safety, including proper use of kitchen utensils and appliances if allowed. Safely secure any dangerous items.
  8. Have a backup plan. Discuss what to do when your regular schedule changes unexpectedly.
Develop a Plan

These are some of the most important topics to discuss and answer together with your child.

Who do I contact in an emergency?______________________________

Name Phone Number:______________________________

Name Phone Number:______________________________

ƒWhat should I do if someone knocks on the door?______________________________

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

What if I get locked out of the home?______________________________

____________________________________________________________

When should I call 911?______________________________

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

Practice staying home alone and what to do in these scenarios.

 

 

Fairfax Virtual Assistant