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Information from Home Alone article at about.com/health: Being left alone can affect a child's emotional well-being. “Being alone, or worse yet, having responsibility for younger siblings, causes anxiety in many children.” Children can feel unsafe in these situations. They may “worry about strangers, break-ins, about their brothers or sisters getting hurt. It's a heavy responsibility. Parents separated for long periods from their children should call occasionally, just to chat for a few minutes. Children who feel they are ready to be left alone and who have been instructed on safety rules, should also be encouraged to talk about any concerns or fears they may have."