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when do you leave your child home alone?

I mean, at what age do you think is acceptable? My 8 year old son wants to stay home when I run a quick errand (like pick up his sister from a playdate) but I still hesitate. I'm thinking not before age 10, but am I being too conservative? He's very mature. For those who have btdt, what do you think is an ok age to let him stay home for a short time (say under 30 minutes or so)?

Answer Question

Asked by charlottej at 9:16 AM on Dec. 10, 2010 in General Parenting

Level 13 (1,283 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • I let my son start staying home for very short periods of time (like when I was picking up his sister from within the neighborhood) when he was 8. He's very mature and always follow the rules. My daughter is 9 and I'm a little more hesitant to leave her even now - she's smart, but lacks some of the common sense that her older brother has.

    Answer by missanc at 9:19 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • My son was 11 before I left him home alone for a few. My daughter is 11 and she is allowed to stay home alone for a couple of hours.

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 9:19 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • I'm too paranoid. The whole time i'd be out, i'd be thinking someone is going to break into my home, or that ther will be an electrical fire. I trust my DD, but i am a paranoid freak when it comes to my DD's safety. So, for the sake of my own mind, i do not leave her home alone ever. She is almost 9. I will have to feel it out. I'm thinking at 12-13 i might let her stay home alone for a short period of time.

    Answer by samurai_chica at 9:23 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • I think that the pre-teen age and teen-age is more appropriate for staying at home alone. I personally won't leave my child at home, and she is 10.

    However, it widely depends on the child and the parents' decision. Although 8 is not terribly too young..I don't think your a bad parent for wondering if it's right. ;) As always, just make sure he has (of course) a phone nearby, and it always helps to notify any neighbors that he is home by himself (incase) anything serious happens when you're not there. :)

    Answer by psychicRaelene3 at 9:25 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • When your child is wise enough to know not to open the door to a stranger, call the fire department in case of a fire, and get himself to safety in any kind of an emergency. The thing I worried about was even though they could tell me what to do, the panic factor has to be considered. And remember, too, that you can leave home thinking you will only be gone 10 minutes, but there can be an accident and you could not be able to get back for hours. I pretty much made mine go with me. It doesn't hurt them to learn that they sometimes have to go to places and do things they might rather not.

    Answer by NannyB. at 9:28 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • In my state you aren't suppose to leave them alone until they are 12 years old. I have left my 11 year old and his 9 year old sister hom alone when I go pick up my oldest, although I am only gone about 15 minutes. For me I am not comfortable leaving them alone by themselves if they are younger then 12 years old. My 9 year old wants to stay along and I won't let her because I think she is to young. I do think that parents have to do what is comfortable for them.

    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 9:32 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • I wouldn't leave my kids home alone that young.. but that's just me.. I'd say maybe 12 or so.

    Answer by SuperrMommyy at 9:35 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • My oldest son is 12 and I will leave him alone for just and hour or two.

    Answer by arenad at 9:58 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Thanks for the input. I know he could get himself to safety, and we have good neighbors in case he needed help, but I still wonder if he would panic. He's a worrier. I guess it's one of those things that you have to feel really confident about, because if something happened, you'd never forgive yourself. I remember when mine were sleeping babies in a crib, and I didn't even want to leave them to run dinner over to a neighbor! (I know, I'm a freak). :)

    Comment by charlottej (original poster) at 10:02 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • I didn't leave my oldest alone until he was 11 or 12. Now that he's 14 I let him babysit the 9 and 6 yr olds but I NEVER leave the 9 yr old alone. Much too young.

    Answer by Orionsgirl at 10:21 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

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