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How old is the legal age to let your child stay home alone for an hour or 2?

I live in TN with my 12 year old son. He is a tad immature (I have been told immaturity is often seen in children with ADHD), but, is asking for me to let him stay home if I just need to run to the store. My parents are against it for the time being (providing his immaturity as the reason). As you may have gathered, it is just my son and I. Any suggestions?

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Asked by giraffeGIRL68 at 2:09 AM on Aug. 3, 2011 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 5 (93 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • 11

    Answer by gwen20 at 2:10 AM on Aug. 3, 2011

  • What is the legal age for kids to stay home alone?

    There is no legal age for children to stay at home alone. Parents are advised to use their best judgment, keeping the child's maturity level and safety issues in mind. Younger children have a greater need for supervision and care than older children. Obviously, young children under age 10 should not be left without supervision at any time. In most cases, older teenage children may be left alone for short periods of time.

    Answer by marybeth927 at 2:12 AM on Aug. 3, 2011

  • In Florida I believe its 12, I am sure its different for each state. The number doesnt mean anything to me, if my daughter was 12 and immature she wouldnt be staying at home on her own, she wont stay home on her own until I know she is ready and that she hasnt done anything to make me believe she isnt trustworthy enough to do so.

    Answer by Princess_s21 at 2:13 AM on Aug. 3, 2011

  • So according to what the TN court says and what you've said about him being immature, it may not be the best idea, but it's not against the law...

    Answer by marybeth927 at 2:13 AM on Aug. 3, 2011

  • Thanks for all of your responses. I have not been pushing for it myself. I love having him with me and he is not an inconvenience. At times he brings it up and it means so much to him and then other times, he seems as if he could care less. So, I will stick with my guns, and wait. Thanks again!

    Comment by giraffeGIRL68 (original poster) at 2:18 AM on Aug. 3, 2011

  • 10 is the legal age, I believe, for kids to be left alone in Oregon; 12 to be left alone with siblings.
    My daughter is 12 & 1/2, only been staying alone for a few months. She can text me from her phone/Google Voice account on the computer, & prefers to stay home, so long as its during the day. She is not allowed to answer the door/landline when I'm not home, & I don't allow her to use the stove except to boil water. She enjoys the freedom so it's an incentive to behave/respect limits.
    I recommend starting with 30 minutes, see how he does, then work your way up gradually. Find something for him to do that he enjoys while you're away, bring him a special treat if he complies. So long as he has a way to contact you he should be fine.

    Answer by loveandlogicmum at 2:39 AM on Aug. 3, 2011

  • The legal age depends on YOUR STATE (and SOMETIMES local laws).

    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 9:20 AM on Aug. 3, 2011

  • our state is 12 also i live in Ct ,
    Dh&I just starting to let DD stay on her own self
    but she is mature for her age
    also has ADHD but a very well functioning child
    we have a landlord who adores her and spends time with her
    lol since we moved here , they have gone on hikes
    took us all to mystic for the day
    but she likes to be alone she is getting to an age where
    she is dicovering who she is and what she wants to accomplish in school

    Answer by helpneededinCt at 11:11 AM on Aug. 4, 2011

  • I agree with the other posters who say maturity is the key not just the cronological #. I left my 12 almost 13 yo one time alone while I went to work (it was an off day w/school) and she kept calling my cell, work phone too. I had told her not to call unless it was an emergency, but guess she didn't get WHAT an emergency was which I thought I had explained. She found out there was more to staying home alone and it wasn't as much fun as she thought it would be. Lesson learned.

    Answer by cat4458 at 8:59 PM on Aug. 5, 2011

  • There is no minimum age established by law. Whether a child can be left alone depends on a number of factors, including: the child's maturity; the safety of the environment they are in; how long they are left alone; etc. My kids are responsible and mature enough to handle themselves but the idea of them being harmed or lost is not something anyone wants to consider. I found an article by anationofmoms about a service that can protect my family via cell phone. And, at the bottom there is an opportunity to enter a drawing for 6 months of that service just by liking them on Facebook. You might find it interesting:

    Answer by MaileySmith at 7:02 AM on Aug. 17, 2011

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