Establish a routine and write it down. Set a time to get up, a time to have breakfast, a chore to be completed, etc. Perhaps some reading before television or letter writing to pen pals or grandparents can be added. Brainstorm a list of things to do together and then make it a part of the routine. A healthy routine will become a habit. It promotes a good attitude and keeps your teen active. It is all to easy to fall into a unhealthy routine of sleeping half the day and then doing nothing but playing video games when a teen is home alone in the summer or spending all of their time on the phone with friends after school. By coming to a consensus, writing down the routine and checking up on your teen, he/she will follow it and be a much nicer person to come home to.
Role play situations with your teen. Examples: a stranger comes to the door, answering the phone or if your teen falls and hurts himself. Do each situation the right way and the wrong way. Have your teen tell you why the wrong way was wrong. This will help you both to communicate clearly about what is expect in each situation.
Inform your workplace that your child will be 'calling in'. While personal calls may be frowned upon, your parenting responsibilities need to take priority. You and your teen will feel more comfortable if you establish a call time. Most employers will be understanding of this.
Have a back up plan available if things should go awry. If your teen gets sick or is able to handle a whole day alone, perhaps having him go to an afternoon camp or to a friends. You could also have a relative or neighbor check on him/her. You will worry less if you have an alternate plan in the wings.
Teens Home Alone FAQ: