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Q.� My daughter is in 6th grade. My husband and I both work and he thinks she's old enough to be home alone after school. I don't think she needs a baby sitter but don't want her there alone. What do you think?

A. It's a tricky age. Girls in the 6th grade can look and act much older than their years. Assuming she's a responsible child who hasn't been in trouble, let's look for ways to help her transition from having a baby sitter to having full independence.�

Call the school and find out what after-school activities are available to her there. Be sure you can pick her up or that she has a safe ride home. Check with your church or community center about activities for her. She still needs some direction and monitoring so you want a supervised activity. Get her involved in something most every day. Call the program director periodically to be sure she is attending and that the program is still right for her.�

If she does get home before you do, be sure she calls to check in and that she knows, and abides by, the rules of your home. Those should include: no visitors, homework done before TV or the telephone, and whatever afternoon chores you establish for her.�

Ease into this new phase but don't stop monitoring her activities, her friends, her grades. She's on her way - but you're not done yet!

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Last Updated 05.20.2002 | Email Parenting is Prevention | Privacy Policy