My 10 year old son (11 in October) got sent home from daycare yesterday with ringworm on his face (yuck!). He has to be treated for 24 hours before he's not contagious and allowed back to daycare, but DH and I both had to work today. We made the decision to let him stay home alone for the first time. He was only alone for about 4 hours but I was a nervous wreck the entire time. DH got home from work (very early shift) and said everything was okay. I checked the legal age to be left at home alone online. There wasn't one for my state. Most other states that had an age listed had 11 or 12.
This school year he'll be in 5th grade, but the next year he'll be in middle school and too old for daycare. We're hoping he shows us enough maturity that we can not only let him stay home alone, but possibly care for his little brother as well and eliminate daycare costs altogether. He'll be 12 going into middle school and his little brother will be 8.
Allowing for differences in maturity and sex, how old do you think is old enough to stay home alone? How old to also care for a younger sibling?