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Advice Needed: What is a good age to leave them home alone

Posted by on May. 1, 2014 at 7:07 AM
  • 24 Replies

What is a good age to leave them home alone?  I have 3 children ages 9,7, and 7.  I am wondering when is a good age for them to be left home alone for a few hour(2-3 hours).  I am talking about right after school till Daddy gets home.  I work nights but when they are old enough I want to go to day shift, but if I do they will be home alone until Daddy gets home from work at 5pm. So what is a good age? I am thinking when the oldest is 11.  What are your thoughts?

Our State doesn't have a minimum age that that have to be.

by on May. 1, 2014 at 7:07 AM
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by on May. 1, 2014 at 7:09 AM
I started leaving them home alone when they were 10. Oldest id now 16
by Emerald Member on May. 1, 2014 at 7:22 AM
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Check with your LOCAL authorities to see if there are any local or county laws regarding this. Most states do not have laws because they have left it up to the local governments to decide if they want a law on leaving kids home alone.

Again, check with your local authorities before leaving them alone.
by Bronze Member on May. 1, 2014 at 8:48 AM
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Even if the state doesn't have a minimum age, your town or county might.  Check with them to see if a rule in in place.  Our county's CPS / DHS investigates families not meeting the following standards:

7 and under home alone at all

8 - 9 years old home alone more than 2 hours

10 - 13 home alone more than 12 hours

However, it ultimately depends on the maturity of your children and their ability to get along together when you're not there. 

by on May. 1, 2014 at 8:57 AM
In nd they want them to be 12 at least to watch kids younger than themselves. At 7-8 they should only be left alone briefly without supervision. However if you have a neighbor or friend who can help check in on them for the time between getting home and dad coming home that would probably be better. Also make sure you have a list of any number they may need. Your cell and work. Dh cell and work. Neighbor or friend who will check in on them. Emergency numbers. As well as instructions on who to call first in what situation, 911 before parents in injury or fire situations.
Your local social services or wic or public health may have a booklet about all this you can get for free. Call them all and ask if need be.
by Member on May. 1, 2014 at 9:02 AM
We dont have any regulation either. I have left my 7 yr old alone a few times now. First it was for me to get ydd from pre-k. I was gone about 30 min. Did that 2 times. They i left her home for about an hour. In that time she fed the dog, put dishes in the dishwasher and tried to fold clothes in the dryer. All by her own choice.

I think the age to leave them home depends on the child. If they are responsible and dont fight then go for it when the oldest is 10-11. However if they fight you may want to see if someone can stop in and check on them, or put 1 or 2 in an after school activity.
by Gold Member on May. 1, 2014 at 9:16 AM

I started leaving my oldest alone for short periods of time (under an hour) at 10, because according to the base order where we were at the time that was what was allowed (under 2 hours until they're 12). Now that we're in Cali, the base order is they can't be left alone until 12...which is stupid IMO. If she was fine to stay home at 10 in SC, what makes Cali different that she needs to be 2 yrs older?! So my 11yo who has stayed home alone for short stints for over a year now has to be dragged along with me like a baby for everything for the next 6 months. *eye roll*  Bases should all be on the same damn page.

Sorry for that tirade, check with the local police to be sure. Honestly though for several hours I wouldn't do it until my oldest was 13.  If it were an hour 11 would be fine, but it's several hours, and the oldest is effectively babysitting, so I think that child needs to be babysitting age before you do that.

by Ruby Member on May. 1, 2014 at 9:25 AM

 Part of it depends on local county/city laws, part depends on the maturity of the kid(s).

We started leaving ds1 home alone for up to 30 mins when he was 10. Ds2 is a bit more mature, so we started leaving him alone for up to 30 mins when he was 9 1/2. Dd is a lot like ds1, so it will probably be 10 for her as well.

All 3 have been left for about 5-10 mins while I ran to a neighbor's starting at age 7.

We did not have ds1 start watching his brother and sister until he was 12, and that was only for a max of 2 hrs. When he turned 13, we had him take a Safe Sitter class through our library. He's been watching them for up to 5 hrs for about 2 yrs now.

Most Safe Sitter classes are for kids 10-13 y/o, so I'd have your oldest take that as soon as he/she is old enough if watching younger siblings will be involved. You also have to make sure the younger ones understand that the older one is in charge. We're lucky- ds2 and dd actually prefer to hang out w/ ds1 when he's watching them b/c "he's nicer when he's babysitting." (Yes, those are their words!)




by Mikki on May. 1, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Check your laws in your state, some states have age regulations. 

family in the van   Mom of four

by Platinum Member on May. 1, 2014 at 9:55 AM
I worry more about maturity than the state/local laws.
by Gwen on May. 1, 2014 at 10:01 AM
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I agree with checking on your local regulations.  But I also think that the individual child maturity is more important.  When you're throwing in the older one being responsible for two younger ones, you might want them a little older & be sure the younger ones understand that the older  one is in charge & the consequences for not cooperating with him.

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