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When is it okay to leave kids alone at home?

Posted by on Sep. 25, 2015 at 3:50 PM
  • 23 Replies

Hi ladies!


just curious when everyone thinks it's ok to leave your kids home alone so that you can work or leave for other things.  I have two daughters, 10 and 5......soon to be 11 and 6.  I am remarried to a great guy, and he works from home a lot and also travels for work quite often. If I get a job outside of the home, I'm not sure if I should trust them to be alone at times when their stepdad isn't around.  My 10 year old is a very good kid, and I trust her.  She can call me if there's trouble and my Parents live near, just in case.  They are snowbirds and leave for 3 months so their not around those months.  I'm considering part time work to start. Because my 5 year old doesn't go to school full time yet. She only goes 2 1/2 days per week.  If they are off school on holidays, or snow days , I may not be able to be home with them.  My ex husband (the girls Dad) is no help at all.  He sees them EOW and like 2 hours Wednesday's.      Let me know if you think it would be ok to leave them alone or not just yet?

by on Sep. 25, 2015 at 3:50 PM
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Replies (1-10):
CampHarris
by Gold Member on Sep. 25, 2015 at 3:53 PM

Personally, I wouldn't at barely 11 and 6.

We started leaving my DD and DS home alone for short stints - like dinner for an hour or two - when she was 12 and DS was 8, and she had a cell phone.  She's 13 now and we will leave her for maybe 3-4 hours max, but I still wouldn't leave her for more than that.  

That said, I was home alone with my two brothers - who were 1 and 3 - starting at the age of 8. 

But those were the 80s, lol.

whatIknownow
by on Sep. 25, 2015 at 3:55 PM
1 mom liked this

I would not leave a 5yo and a 10/11 year old alone together for anything longer than half an hour, not even sure I'd do that, only in a pinch. But nothing longer than that. The 10/11 I would leave home alone, but not with the 5yo.

CCM500
by Bronze Member on Sep. 25, 2015 at 4:17 PM

Check your state, they have laws on this. I think the majority of them are around 12.

codysara
by Platinum Member on Sep. 25, 2015 at 4:17 PM
This.


Quoting whatIknownow:

I would not leave a 5yo and a 10/11 year old alone together for anything longer than half an hour, not even sure I'd do that, only in a pinch. But nothing longer than that. The 10/11 I would leave home alone, but not with the 5yo.

AM1011
by Bronze Member on Sep. 25, 2015 at 4:48 PM
Florida doesn't have a standard law on when it's ok so you should check with your state. I have only let the at the time 9yo sd watch the 4yo for about an hour. Just to test them. There is a phone at home in case of emergencies. Now they are 10 and 5 and I let them stay home together for an hour tops without me. There are times where my son has appointments and sd10 has a pile of homework or no interest in attending and I do let her stay home by herself. I think the longest has been 2hrs though. I could see letting 10yo stay all day home alone but I'm not sure about with the 5yo because he's bossy and would get tired of listening to sister and can probably overpower her.

Personally, I was 8 when I started watching my younger sister home alone and it was only for an hour or two. I think I was around 11 or 12yo when we were able to stay an entire day home alone

jules2boys
by Platinum Member on Sep. 25, 2015 at 4:54 PM

IMO it's not ok to leave an 11 and 6yo home alone.  Not unless the 11yo is exceptionally mature/aware for her age AND the 6yo is rather compliant and will listen, 100% of the time, to the 11yo.  (admittedly, I was babysitting other peoples children when I was 11, not just turned 11 but during that year, BUT, that was 35+ years ago and times were different, and I was ready for the challenges.  Most 11yos these days are NOT ready for it).

My boys are 17 and 13.  Only this summer did I leave them at home, together, alone.  Prior to that, 17yo was NOT ready to be left 'in charge' of anyone but himself.  13yo was also good on his own.  However, they were NOT good together. Like oil and water.  That was NOT a good situation to leave them in (13yo liked to be 'in charge' and 17yo didn't like being told what to do, nor did he have a clue how to care for anyone else). 

I'd say 13 is probably not a bad age to leave one child in charge of another, and perhaps even after a babysitting class so they'd know what to do in an emergency (when to panic and all 911 and when not to, among other things those classes teach kids today). 

First question though, is the 11yo interested in staying home alone, AND watching her younger sister?  Second question, is the younger one already listening to the older one and do they get along well?  Third, have you ever left the 11yo home alone, even just to run to the store for 10 minutes?  It's SCARY the first time, despite how excited they may be. Also, consider where you live.  Is it a 'safe' place?  Are there neighbors around, that you know/trust, and could/would be around 'just in case' something happened? Are you in a remote area?  Would the girls need to cook food or would everything be prepared?  What would they do to occupy themselves while you're away? Would they answer the door if someone knocked?  What about answering the phone?  Would they tell someone they were 'home alone'? 

Lastly, check your state laws.  Depending on where you live, despite you and the girls being ok with this, the state may have other ideas and say no. 

kss12
by Silver Member on Sep. 25, 2015 at 5:06 PM
1 mom liked this
It truly depends on maturity level vs age. For us, the first time we left SS home was when he was 13 and we were both kind of freaking out, we haven't left him home since then.
If you think your daughter is mature enough to handle situations and if you've prepared her for things that could happen then go for it. But if you're not 100% comfortable I wouldn't.
luckyinlife
by on Sep. 25, 2015 at 5:40 PM
My state has no minimum law. If it was a mature 11 year old and a well behave 6 year old an hour or two might be OK. Start easing the older one into babysitting.
Yesihave6kids19
by on Sep. 25, 2015 at 7:43 PM
My rule is youngest has to be 10 but that's just me!
dawnrothbaum
by Member on Sep. 26, 2015 at 9:03 PM

No, I wouldn't leave them home alone together. It's too early. I am still nervous about leaving my 10 & 11  yr olds alone, although they are ready for it. I left them for hours the other day (they were off from school) because I had to have a procedure done at a surgeon's office. They were fine.

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