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My 8 year old wants to stay home alone

I know that is probably to young, but I was just thinking what is the age most people start leaving their child home alone for short times? My husband says he was staying home alone by that age. I mean she does understand and listens to what I tell her an is mature for her age, but I dont know when to leave her short periods at a time. The other day my husband was dropping me off at my moms which is litterly about a minute drive time from my house it isnt that far at all. It is a little longer if you walk however. Also if we hit both lights then it is a little longer, but does take long at all my dd asked if she could stay home while dh dropped me off the other day. He said yes, but I said no so she ended up coming with us. I mean he was coming right back, but I didnt know if leaving her home alone at even less than 5 minutes at age 8 was acceptable. Dh kept saying she would be fine, but I wouldnt let her

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:02 AM on Jul. 21, 2013 in General Parenting

Answers (15)
  • My 8yo will stay home if I'm just running for milk. He has a cell and locks the door behind me.

    Answer by funlovinlady at 10:04 AM on Jul. 21, 2013

  • 10 was a good age for most kids i have known to start staying home for short periods of time (run to get milk)
    after child sees that this short time- they are ok, then the time can expand- this can come quickly and be expanded quickly also

    some kids may be ready earlier

    Answer by fiatpax at 10:06 AM on Jul. 21, 2013

  • I do not think it's a good idea. Things happen, even close to home. There are accidents, and a few minutes to the store can turn in to hours. And there are perverts everywhere watching every move we make unbeknown to us. She is still a child and not ready to have to make split second decisions should someone she knows come to the door. So no. Just no.

    Answer by NannyB. at 10:07 AM on Jul. 21, 2013

  • i was that age when i would walk home after school and be alone until my parents got home from work (so about 3 hours a day) but times are a little different now. my oldest will be 7 this year and i can't imagine her being ready to be alone next year, even for 10 minutes. i think it's whatever your comfortable with and when you think she's ready. i personally would wait a couple more years.

    Answer by tnm786 at 10:09 AM on Jul. 21, 2013

  • And there are perverts everywhere watching every move we make unbeknown to us.

    I think that's a bit of an exaggeration. I don't think we're all being stalked by perverts. I'm not saying they're not out there, but let's not overreact and assume that we've all got some sleaze stalking us and watching everything we do.

    I do think 8 is too young to be home alone. I have a 12 yr old and a 9 yr old, and I don't think I'd even feel comfortable leaving my 12 yr old home along just yet - he's growing up and maturing, but I just don't feel he's quite reached that level where he can handle any emergency that might come up in the time that I'm gone. I'd at least give it another couple of years, and reevaluate then.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 10:48 AM on Jul. 21, 2013

  • Always go with your gut. Your gut is telling you it's not time, so then it's not time yet. It's a different world we live in from when we were growing up, so just b/c your husb. was allowed to do certain things at her age is, imo irrelevant.

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 11:42 AM on Jul. 21, 2013

  • In hat case, in my opinion it would probably be fine. If anything were to happen charges could be brought in most states for leaving someone under their guidelines home alone. States are different but I believe most hover around 12 years of age. This I the legal thing. The reasonable thing is that a little responsibility is good for everyone. You can se how she deals with the 5 minutes. ETC. But not long periods.
    I mean really the kids are inside and you are talking to the neighbor over the back fence. You are not out there for just five minutes, and everything is fine.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:49 AM on Jul. 21, 2013

  • I was alone by 8 .... but I was born in '81 and rules and laws, etc were different

    we're thinking 11ish for short term home alone spurts in our home but likely we never will. there's simply no reason or need to. they can always come w/ us or goto grandmas .

    Answer by hibbingmom at 12:10 PM on Jul. 21, 2013

  • A friend of mine just went through something on FB related to this. (She commented in an upbeat way that they had done a successful trial run with leaving their 9 year old home alone under very controlled circumstances, and one of her FB friends messaged her that it is against the law and that CPS could come in for something like that.)
    She had already investigated the rules for her state (she said the age is 8 but it also is based on maturity & the length of time you'll be away, not age alone) and they planned a 15 minute trip; they were just a couple of miles down the road picking up their younger daughter.
    So, you might look into regulations specific to your state to get an idea of a general context, but it's also about your comfort zone & preferences. In the situation you describe, I would opt not to make it about who is/isn't right or reasonable, and more about your personal degree of comfort or readiness with the idea.

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:39 PM on Jul. 21, 2013

  • DS is 10 and I can leave him if I am running for a quick grocery trip or to pick up dry cleaning. He knows the rules and he has an inability to lie and get away with it, so if he doesn't follow the rules I will find out and that will be the end of him staying alone for short periods of time. DD still has to go with me, but I travel faster with just one.

    Answer by QuinnMae at 12:45 PM on Jul. 21, 2013

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