5 Things to do Before Leaving Your Teen Home Alone Overnight

Leaving your teen home alone overnight?
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Whether you have a business meeting out of town, or you’re hoping to go away for an anniversary getaway, there will likely come a time when you want to go away for the night without your teenager.

While you could probably send your teen to someone else’s home, or invite a trusted relative to stay at your house, there’s also the option to leave your teen home alone for a night or two.

If you’ve decided that your teen is ready to stay home alone for the night, here are five things you should do first:

1. Make Your Expectations Known

Establish clear rules well in advance of your trip. If you don’t want your teen to invite a friend over, or you don’t want your teen to go out with friends for the evening, make that clear.

Discuss potential consequences for throwing a party or for inviting a guest to stay overnight. Tell your teen you will take away privileges, such as driving privileges or the ability to spend time with friends, if any of the rules are broken.

2. Discuss Safety Planning

Talk to your teen about safety issues, including social media safety – such as not announcing that you’re out of town. Letting people know you’re out of town could lead to a variety of problems, including other teens trying to peer pressure your child into hosting a party.

Ask your teen how he’d handle emergency situations, ranging from a small kitchen fire to a power outage. Make sure your teen has the tools he needs to deal with unexpected circumstances and potential emergencies.

3. Assign a Friend or Family Member to be a Contact Person

If you are going out of town, it’s important for your teen to have a local contact person. Assign a trusted friend or family member to be a point of contact. In the event of an emergency, like a tornado or a sports injury, that person could assist your teen.

You can also ask that trusted friend or relative to check on your teen. Let your teen know that this person may be making a visit at some point in time. If your teen knows there will be someone checking on the home, he’ll be more likely to behave responsibly.

4. Schedule a Time to Check-In

Before you leave, schedule a time where you’ll check-in with one another. For example, ask your teen to text you when he gets home from baseball practice or tell him you’re going to call at 8:30 p.m.

Make it clear that you expect your teen to be available at the designated time. Tell your teen you will ask the local contact person to check in on him if you can’t reach him.

5. Remove Unnecessary Temptations

While it’s important to make sure the house is well-stocked on food and essentials, it’s equally important to make sure you remove unnecessary temptations. If someone in the house takes a prescription that could be in high demand among teens–such as medication for ADHD or a pain killer– remove it from the house.

Don’t leave alcohol, tobacco products, or unlocked firearms either. Even if you don’t think your teen would ever touch those items, peer pressure could influence your teen to make poor choices. 

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