Identify & Help For Parents

Alone at home

Each child has its own rate of growing up and of course its own pace in reaching maturity. Therefore, there cannot be a single, ideal age, common to all children, at which it is safe for a child to be left alone at home. Parents and guardians are the only persons responsible for a child’s safety. If we leave a child alone at home at an “inappropriate” age we are setting it at risk and our conduct may be considered neglectful.

A child at an inappropriate age -not old enough- that does not feel comfortable being left alone, must never be left unattended at home.

According to the experts of NSPCC, the largest non-profit, non-governmental organisation engaged exclusively with the protection and safety of children against any form of abuse: 

  • Infants and Toddlers
    Must NEVER be left alone at home.
  • Children under 12 yrs.
    Must not be left alone at home for long periods of time.
  • Children under 16 yrs.
    Must not spend the night alone at home.
  • Children over 16 yrs.
    Must not be left alone often and for long periods or many nights.

Which is the appropriate age for a child to be left alone?

Sharing the same room

 As siblings grow up they may demand a private space for themselves and really need it, especially if a brother and sister share the same room. Of course it is entirely all right for siblings of different gender to live together, but according to the NSPCC, the largest non-profit, non-governmental organisation engaged exclusively with the protection and safety of children against any form of abuse, it is preferable for siblings over 10 years of age to each have their own room, though we realise that this is not always feasible.

Siblings sharing the same room

Sharing a room with the parents

Temporary Room-Sharing

Talk about the “difficult” subjects at the right time

If you wish to talk to your children about “difficult” subjects, such as those related to their bodily integrity and its protection, you must do so calmly, at a chance moment when the child is rested and its attention is not diverted elsewhere. For example, in the car when you are driving your child to some event or activity, or while cycling or taking a Sunday walk. Do not choose moments when the child’s siblings, if any, are present, nor night hours, nor times when the child is in a hurry.


Tell him/her which touch is safe

Private is private!

Our underclothes cover the private parts of our body, which no one should ask us to see or touch. Some times a doctor, a nurse, our mother or a member of the family whom our parents trust may ask to see or touch them, but they must always explain why they want to do so and ask us if we agree.

We always remember that our body belongs to us

Our body belongs to us. Nobody, but nobody, may ask us to do things that make us feel shame or discomfort. If someone tries to touch the private parts of our body we must say, loudly and sharply, “NO” – and then report the incident to someone we trust (our mother).

NO means NO

NO means NO and we have every right to say it – even to members of our own family or someone we love. We are the only ones who have control over our body and the most important thing is HOW we feel. It is our choice to say NO so that we feel well.

We talk about the “secrets” that disturb us

There are good secrets and there are bad secrets. Good secrets give us joy: a surprise party, a present. But bad secrets may make us feel upset, afraid, worried. So when we feel that a secret is unpleasant, we must immediately reveal it to someone we trust absolutely.

We talk to the person whom we trust and who can help us

Say to your children that you are there for them to talk to whenever something upsets or worries them. If your child feels sadness, anxiety, anger, fear, it must talk to you, it must trust you. It must talk to you even if it is about a loved one that you have “in common”, even a member of your family.