What Is The Right Age For My Child To Have A Mobile Phone….And Other FAQs

This is a collaborative post

When it comes to our kids, we struggle with so many decisions on their safety and security. It’s difficult to know what age they should do certain things or can have certain things, you may have really strong feelings about something, but then their friends are allowed to do things which they’re not, and it can make life very tricky indeed. So, when is the right age for your child to…

Go On A Sleepover?

The right age for a sleepover depends on your child and his maturity level, though generally, it’s in the range of 7 to 12 years old. If your child is used to having frequent sleepovers at grandparents’ homes or has travelled often with you, then they may like sleeping at a friend’s home. On the flip side, your child may be a creature of habit and need a lot of mental prep to change up their routine and be away from you overnight. Consider doing a trial run of sleeping over the house of a relative or close friend to help you assess whether your child will benefit from a sleepover or is too young. That way, they can see what a sleepover is like before having one at someone else’s home. 

Get A Smartphone Or Tablet?

These days, it seems like kids can use a smartphone or tablet as soon as they are born. Before they can walk and talk, children seem to know how to swipe up and down and left, and right and they know exactly what to do with your phone. Some can even use these devices better than adults. However, deciding what age your child can have one of their own is something of a controversial topic, some people give iPads to their one-year-olds, and some don’t let their kids touch a screen until age 14. However, according to the paediatrician, Dr Kulich most children are mature enough for a phone around 10 to 11 years old. There are plenty of arguments as to why mobile phones are important for education and you can’t ignore that your child is going to need to know how to use one, how to read on a screen and understand this technology to get by in this digital world. Before giving into yours, though, consider their level of maturity and ability to deal with these devices that give them instant access to the world. Go over the rules and expectations of using this technology. You may need firm limits on these devices and warn your kids about what makes texts and pictures inappropriate. 

Stay At Home Alone?

Staying home alone is a childhood rite of passage, however even if your child is the most well behaved, sensible, independent seven-year-old, there are laws about how old they can be before they are left alone in the house. Each country has different legal rules about kids being alone, and you also need to consider the characteristics of not only your child but the area where you live as well as how long you’ll be gone. To be home alone for just a few hours, your child should be about 13 or 14 and mature and comfortable enough to be left alone and able to follow the rules. Remember, though that just because their friends can be home alone doesn’t mean your kids are ready. All children are different and while some may be fine if you’re walking the dog for an hour in the afternoon, but they may not up to being alone while you’re out for dinner at a restaurant an hour away. Before you decide to leave your little darling at home alone, do a trial run; go for a wander locally, give them emergency contact numbers and go over first aid skills and meal instructions with them. Show them how to lock the door and tell them not to answer the doorbell if they don’t know who it is. While you are out, call them to check-in. When you get home, ask how they felt while you were away. For older children who want to stay at home alone overnight, just beware they may feel pressure from friends to throw a party. If you feel your kid won’t cave to peer pressure, go for it, and ask a neighbour or friend check in on them.

Walk To School Alone?

When deciding when kids can walk to school alone, consider their reasoning skills and ability to follow directions. Assess how far away the school is, your community, traffic, crossings and the weather. Is there an option for you to let your child walk to school in a small group? Either way, make sure you’ve done the route plenty of times together first and then sit down with your child and teach them how to protect themselves. 

Read Popular Young Adult Books?

If your kids are begging to read books such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games or The Twilight Saga and you’re not sure, first of all, see what age the particular book is geared for. Harry Potter is aimed at 9 to 12-year-olds, and this works well as Harry is 11 in the first book and kids usually like to read about others who are around their age or a little older. These books are meant to be read one per year, as they were released and as children grow, as Harry is 17 in the last book and in his final year of school. So, as expected, each book in the series gets progressively darker. The first one is perfectly fine for an eight-year-old, but the last one isn’t, so you might want to wait until they are 11 or 12, depending on your child and his response to darker material. Try reading the books yourself first to see if you think your child is ready for it and if you’re not sure then why not read them together?

Get a Facebook Page Or Use Social Media?

At younger and younger ages, kids are asking to use social media. Consider following the terms of use for Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook—age 13 as this is the legal age limit on them anyway. You need to decide if your child is mature enough to understand how to use these sites and the dangers of them. Once they are active on social media, join the sites they’re for yourself, so you can get familiar with them, make friends or connect with your child and make sure that they have given you passwords and full access to their accounts. Make sure they know all their followers in real life and that they should tell you if anything strange or bad happens. 

Remember that every child is different; even your own are different from each other. So while you might have allowed one of them to stay home alone when they were 14, you may have another who still isn’t ready at 14. This is okay; it’s just important to speak to your children, be honest with them, tell them the reasons behind your decisions and also give them something to work towards. For example, if they are begging you for a phone and you are going to let them have one when they start secondary school, let them know this and also if there’s anything else they need to achieve before they can have it. There’s nothing like a new phone to give your kid some motivation. 

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