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How old to stay home alone for a couple hours?

I would be about 1 mile away with my cell phone on. My mom lives about half a mile away. My daughter is 9 (in a couple days). I think she should be able to watch herself for a couple hours once every couple weeks. She's freakin' out that I would even consider leaving her by herself. Of course, this is the child who will barely go check the mail by herself. I tried to talk with her about it, asked when she thinks she might be ready to stay alone for a little bit. She said NEVER! I said that she may want to go hang out at the mall with friends when she's older. She said NO! She doesn't have any extra-curricular activities where I'm not there the whole time. The only thing she does without another family member, is go to school. Any suggestions or advice for a clingy child would be welcome.

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Asked by sparrowprincess at 6:38 PM on May. 3, 2009 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 3 (20 Credits)
Answers (28)
  • My mom left me to take care of myself when I was like 8 or 9. I think it all depends on the child's maturity level.

    Answer by serioussifL at 6:42 PM on May. 3, 2009

  • I would not leave her alone even for one hour. Especially since she is so opposed to it and evidentally doesn't feel safe. There are other ways of helping her along with the 'clinginess' . Invite some of her friends over for a sleep over or you take her and one or two of her friends to the mall shopping or out to lunch and let the girls sit by themselves while you are nearby.
    This day and time I wouldn't leave my child alone at home at age 9.

    Answer by Tx2Step at 6:44 PM on May. 3, 2009

  • my brother and I were left at home alone when were were as young as 8 and 9. but I do think it does depend on the child. we were brought up to be that way. my little brothers were way older before they were aloud.

    Answer by Sproutmommy at 6:46 PM on May. 3, 2009

  • I think it really depends on the kid. My parents work had me staying home alone after school when I was about 9 or so for a couple of hours. My sons, way! I couldn't trust them alone in the house. I don't know if I'll be able to trust them home alone when they're 14 or 15. But, given that she is resisting so much, I wouldn't do it even if you think she is ready. Yes, she does sound clingy and something needs to be done to change that, but I don't think leaving her home alone is the answer. It will very likely only make her worse, make her feel abandoned. Maybe drop her off for one of her activities, but tell her you have an errand to run and will be back by the end of the activity. Work your way up to leaving her home alone eventually, small steps first.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 6:49 PM on May. 3, 2009

  • I would have her go stay with Grandma. I would not push her because this will not make her feel secure. Does she have chores and things around the house she does that you can build her confidence with? In time she will be able to stay home alone. I think my oldest was about 12 when he was able to stay home alone and feel comfortable.

    Answer by Momforhealth at 6:58 PM on May. 3, 2009

  • i don't have kids old enough to stay home yet but i would think when you can trust them then it is ok some kids are diffrent i have a friend that i watch her daughter she is going to be 12 in july she has me planned to watch her this summer because she doesn't trust her to be home alone so I think it is all on how much you trust your child I think I was 10 or 11 when I stayed home by myself the first time, but hubby said he was around 8 or 9

    Answer by mommy5409 at 7:00 PM on May. 3, 2009

  • We started letting my oldest stay home for an hour or two with us close-by when he was about 12. I don't know...I have a 10 yr old daughter I feel she's still a bit young to be left alone, although I feel fine leaving her with her older brother (13).

    Answer by mom2ANK at 7:35 PM on May. 3, 2009

  • Well first it depends on the law in your state. If you lived in my state and left her home alone at almost 9 that would be illegal. Here they have to be 12. So if something happened you would get in a lot of trouble. I just checked your profile and you live in OK. Some states do not have an age law for being home alone and yours in one of them. I'm sure if you called social services or something like that they would tell you that they recommend not to do it until they are 12 years old. It really depends on your child maturity level and your daughter is obviously not even close to being there. Which is normal considering she is so young. I would not think it's okay to leave a 9 year old, even one who is mature, home alone. My mom didn't leave us home alone until I was 12 and my other siblings were 3, 6, and 10. That is actually illegal here though because you have to be 13 to babysit.

    Answer by thisloveofmine at 8:10 PM on May. 3, 2009

  • If she is not comfortable with this, then leave her with a neighbor. In many municipalities it is illegal to leave a child this age home alone; if your daughter freaks out and calls 911 you could lose her for a while.

    Answer by rkoloms at 8:18 PM on May. 3, 2009

  • Send her to your moms house or bring her with you.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:36 PM on May. 3, 2009

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