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Was it OK to leave my 7-year-old home alone for 5 minutes?

I recently left my 7-year-old daughter home alone for about 4 to 5 minutes while I drove 1/2 mile down the street and back. We had a lengthy discussion first, as this was a first time for her alone; we also completed an online quiz that assured us she was ready for the 5-minute test...although the quiz never asked her age. We went over emergency contact info, our address and phone no., "what if" scenarios, and I left specific instructions for her to follow. My father, her grandpa, was appalled after hearing about it but I am 100% confident that I made a sound decision. So why do I feel like I did something wrong? Some things to add: we live on a 2-house dead-end street,w/o sidewalks or passer-bys, in a small, safe town; she can use a phone; we are friends with the neighbors; and she was comfortable with the idea. Not that I ever intend to make this a habit, but I'm curious to hear what other parents might think.

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 11:58 PM on Jan. 19, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (22)
  • according to the laws, probably

    but you know what, I was home alone with my brother whos only a year older when I was that age while my single mom worked. And we had a 1/2 mile walk to the house from the bus stop (oh how I hated living on the side of a mountain! LOL)

    I think it's all about maturity level. I know 7 year olds that I would trust to leave alone, and I know 15 year olds I would leave alone for a second! KWIM?
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:02 AM on Jan. 20, 2010

  • In our state it was wrong. She's too young. I don't understand why you didn't just take her with you? I'm not attacking you but what if you were in a wreck and didn't come home? Did you train her for what to do in that case? Surely a neighbor would have watched her if there was no room in the car. There are just so many safer options. I wouldn't have risked it. (not bashing, just saying)
    admckenzie

    Answer by admckenzie at 12:06 AM on Jan. 20, 2010

  • p.s. I have to admit that due to CM sending us notices if we seem like we're attacking posters I try to watch what I say but in all honesty if my adult dd had done that to her child I'd have read her the riot act and it wouldn't have been nice. I'm with the grandfather on this one.
    admckenzie

    Answer by admckenzie at 12:09 AM on Jan. 20, 2010

  • i think it completely depends on the child!! my niece is 7, and i could totally see leaving her by herself for 5 minutes..and im pretty sure my sis has once or twice..depends on the area, your neighbors, and the maturity level of the child..as for your dad "over" reacting, its just cuz hes older..and he probably still thinks of her as a lil baby. my dad is the same with my daughter who is 5...what can ya do...lol...
    alexis_06

    Answer by alexis_06 at 12:09 AM on Jan. 20, 2010

  • I did it with my daughter. But when my boys were that young no. You have to teach your children, from a young age, how to live their lives. But then you have to give them brief "tests". I think that an occasional 5 minutes is ok here and there. :)
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:13 AM on Jan. 20, 2010

  • I have done it before . we live in a apartment with my in-laws down stairs. my kids are 7 and 6 and I've left the one that was sick at home while i drove around the block to drop off or pick up the other child....I was not going to take the sick child out in the cold for 5 min while I dropped the other one off at the bus stop just to have to bring the one that stayed home back in...
    meNmine

    Answer by meNmine at 12:26 AM on Jan. 20, 2010

  • Legally, it really depends on the state...other then that 5 minutes is really no big deal if you felt she was mentally able to handle it. I wouldn't recommend it all the time however a quick trip here or there isn't going to hurt.
    CuteandCurvy

    Answer by CuteandCurvy at 12:44 AM on Jan. 20, 2010

  • I DON'T SEE a prablem with five min i live in a two flat laundry room in the basement and i usually leave my 8 and 3 yr old upstairs while i do laundry
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:46 AM on Jan. 20, 2010

  • My friends get all fired up and angry because I sometimes walk out to the mailbox while the kids stay int he house.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:55 AM on Jan. 20, 2010

  • People are too paranoid. The house is not going to burn down in 5 min. Nobody is going to kidnap her if the doors are locked and nobody knows she is there.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:07 AM on Jan. 20, 2010

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