According to the Netmums News Team “8% of kids who have keys to their parents’ home are under 9, and one in five parents have handed keys over to a child between 9 and 11. “ If you are considering making a key available to your child here are a few things to consider:
Does he or she actually need one? Is it a precaution, a needed tool to get in the house when I am not there or a status toy?
Are they responsible enough? Do they remember to bring home their lunch box, jackets and backpacks from school? If they get a negative here, they may not be mature enough for holding on to a key safely.
Are there any neighbors nearby for help if needed? Would they know to ask for help and how?
Do they know how to reach you by telephone if needed? Do they know your cell number, office number or where to find them?
Can they handle being home alone? Are the easily scared or uncomfortable being alone in a house without a parent or other adult?
Do they have a place to safely keep a key during school hours? Can you pin the key into a backpack or book bag and be assured that it will stay there? Are they the kind of child who would remember to pin it back in once it is no longer needed to enter the house?
Would they do better remembering a code to a key pad?
Can I trust them to get themselves a snack without using the oven?
From all that I have read, it appears that most parents are more often giving keys to kids who are 10 years or older. However, before offering any child a key, carefully review each of the above questions and make sure that you are comfortable and confident that your child can handle this responsibility.
One other note - if you do not feel that your child is old enough yet to handle a key, have procedures in place in case they arrive home when you are not there? Telling your kids to wait on the front porch, sit in the backyard or to go to a neighbor who is always there insures that both you and your kids will feel a bit safer as they wait for your unexpected absence.