10 yr old son staying home alone?

Colleen - posted on 07/19/2011 ( 53 moms have responded )

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My 10 yr old son wants to start staying home alone after school when the new school year starts. He will be in 5th grade by then and he'd have to be home about 2 hours a day by himself. He's in that in between stage of needing a babysitter. I'm thinking about trying it but am not sure if its a good idea. Does anyone else have this dilemma?

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Trisha - posted on 07/24/2011

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Each child is different, as to their maturity level, and level of responsibility. Is he trustworthy enough to be left on his own, is the most important question. Test him with small increments of "being home alone".

My daughter started staying home alone at ten. We started slow. I would go to the grocery store and leave her alone a few times. Then, when I started classes I felt safe leaving her alone for a few hours in the evening while I attended class. Then, last year (5th grade) I worked an on call shift, so there were times she would have to come home from school and let herself into the house, and hang out for an hour or two til I got home. Now, she is an old pro at it.

We had rules set down for it though. She is to come straight home from school (Was awesome, cause bus let her off at end of our drive). She was to come straight inside, and immediately lock the door, and call me to let me know she was home safe. When I am not at home, she is not allowed to have friends over, answer the door, or the telephone, unless it is approved numbers/people. (YAY for caller ID) It actually went really well.

She has my phone number, and is can call me at any time if she has a question, or just wants to hear my voice. Other than the calls when she got home (as instructed), I think she only ever called me once, and that was just to ask where something was. Most kids can handle it around that age. Just keep them instructions, and make him understand if he deviates from them, he will no longer be able to stay home alone.

Trisha - posted on 07/25/2011

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in response to Sherry.... it all depends on the child as to whether they are truly at "risk". Obviously if your child is irresponsible, a troublemaker, easily influenced by others, etc, then yes, it is not a good idea to leave alone for a few hours. However... By middle school most especially, most children are mature enough to handle, and even relish the responsibility of "being alone". Hell, at 11-12, I was BABYSITTING other children without adult supervision. I do understand your point of view.. I have seen evidence of the idle destructiveness of some children in the apartment complex I currently live in, as far as them being left alone. But once again, that is case dependent upon the child, and the parent. So many parents don't set guidelines for their children when doing the "latch-key" thing.

My daughter, for example, has her rules, and follows them to the letter. She would come home, lock the door, call me, then have an afternoon snack (one pre-approved by me) then she would settle into her homework. She knew the tv was not allowed on until it was done, and She ALWAYS had her homework done when I would get home. Unless, of course she had problems she needed help with.

There is absolutely NO guarantee that a supported after school program would keep any child safe. Those are usually where the peer influence comes into play. Not to mention where language and violence are often introduced into the equation. My child is much better off for two hours alone in the comfort her home, than off with strangers.

Was my ideal choice to have her start staying home alone? No. However, circumstances necessitated the practice. Do I worry? Sure. I ALWAYS worry about my child no matter WHERE she is... is part of being a good mom, whether I am a single mom who works to pay the bills rather than take welfare, or a mom who has the luxury of being there every moment of the day or night.

And for reference, I was a latchkey child. I never drank, smoked, did drugs, and I was a virgin til I was an "Adult". Statistics are just a part of the picture and can be manipulated for either side.

I stand by the decision is up to the parent, hopefully they know their children, and can make the decision that is right for their situation. Unfortunately in the economic times of today, some parents have no choice. And those are usually the ones who fall into the "Statistical equation".

Angelique - posted on 07/24/2011

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My 11 year old son started staying home by himself for an our or two at a time when he was 10. We have great neighbors who I told in advance that he was staying by himself on occasion and he had a list of important phone numbers in case something happened (other than needing to call 911). Maybe you could try allowing him to stay home by himeself right now before the school year starts to see how he handles himself. Let a neighbor in on it and ask them to test him a bit (just to see if he follows the rules). Its hard to gauge their maturity levels sometimes because being home by yourself gives you a huge amount of freedom and may cause them to act differently than they may have normally. And talk to him in depth about what you would expect from him. I think you can make your decision based on how he responds to you. You can always try it and if it doesn't work take away the privilage. Good luck!

Susan - posted on 11/16/2012

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I sit here and just shake my head at the stupidity and rationality of leaving your child home alone, especially if they are 12 and under. Parents need to move outside of the box and see the whole picture of the repercussions that can occur instead of just looking at it from one angle, I've read so many of these articles that are nothing more than parents trying to convince themselves that it's OK to leave their child home alone because they are mature, they know the rules, they know how to dial 911 and a they would never leave this child home alone to watch their siblings. Leaving your child home alone is just asking for trouble. Everyone seems to worry about what the law has to say and they should be it shouldn't be the only reason for not leaving them home alone. This is worrying about what will happen to them and not the child. Some have stated that we should be worried about child predators, getting bit by a vicious dog. Others talk of teens getting into drugs and trouble with the law and being hauled off to juvenile. These are the parents who yell at the children for doing drugs, having sex, drinking or getting in trouble with the law in any way. Yet, they are the ones who need to be locked up for not being there for that child growing up or making sure they hadn't left them home alone 8 years old, on up. The jails and schools are not these children's parents, nor are they responsible for their values in life. Get a clue, these are YOUR children and I don't care what you think you have taught them about the consequences of them staying home alone if they don't obey the rules, When there's a fire that starts quickly in a back room and your child can't reach the phone to call for help, what good is teaching them to call 911 going to do or if something like a fall, causes them to become unconscious. There are pills in the medicine cabinet or in your nightstand that you take for a headache and your child has seen you do this. They get a headache and think about mommy taking one of her pills and it wet away. Your child wants to pop that mac n cheese in the microwave to eat but they forget and leave the spoon in it that they mixed it with and the oven sparks and starts a fire. When there is a fire of any kind, I don't care how responsible and mature you think your child is, they are going to panic. They are going to try and put that fire out when it's small (a lot of them will try and put it out, hoping their parents will never find out just so they won't get in trouble, Does your child know where the fire extinguisher is (if you even have one) and how to use it? Dialing 911 isn't going to help when you can't reach the phone or yelling for help when no one can hear you. Does your child know what to use on what type of different fires. If not, a small electrical fire in the toaster would not be a good idea for your child to put water on because that is the only thing they've been taught is that you put a fire out with water and since it's close to the sink, well, need I say more. For drivers, most accidents occur within 5 miles of their homes . For unsupervised children, all accidents or bad events can happen in a second. How much is your child's health and welfare worth?

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Victoria - posted on 04/30/2014

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You know this is my second time around raising kids. I have a 27 and 31 and Merlin who Is 9. I used to say all this crap about how wrong it was for this and that. Well guess what the parents who worked had a easier time in teenage years. I leave Merlin for two to 3 hrs he is great. Also there's a cop next door who sleeps all day and his kids run the neighborhood

Belinda - posted on 12/15/2012

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I called cps & the police station and asked before leaving my 10yo here in Michigan. 10 is acceptable for a few hours BUT truly depends on the maturity of the child. I made sure he had everything he needed...phone, numbers, food...etc. We had rules. I even talked to my neighbors next door...especially since we are in the country.
Everything worked out fine. No issues, unless you count the time we bought a male hamster and i came home 2 weeks later to my son upset because something was wrong with Henri. Henrietta as we then found out was having babies...UGH poor kid...lol stupid pet store...lol

It truly depends on you & your child!

Susan - posted on 11/27/2012

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Oh boy, here we go with the sarcasim. I am not, YOU DEAR. You have totally let this get out of hand and yes, in my opinion ,to meI I think leaving a child home alone at an age under 12 is a dumb or stupid idea and that and it's because there are too many unpredictable, scary situations that can arise and a young child should not be exposed to them if it's not absolutely necessary. I am talking about leaving children home alone at night by themselves. You know what, this issue is just closed for me and I am not going to explain my opinion or have to justify them to you. You are once again, in my opinion a nit-picker and having half a mind to believe in something is meaning you are on the fence about it, wishy washy, and you seem to see nothing but negativity in what someone else's opinion is. Youhave a definite dependency words into people's mouths and translate what they have to say to suit your own purpose. People that have to downplay others do so only because they aren't able to stand on their own valition. This is from a book. More power to you and good luck with your child. I have blocked anymore responses from you. We are done.

Angelique - posted on 11/27/2012

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@Susan. I didn't call you a liar. I said I have half a mind to not believe you. Do you seriously not understand that saying? If you don't then my apologies.

Angelique - posted on 11/27/2012

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The only one who is aggressive here is you. Add overreacting, catty and obtuse to that and we'll have you covered. You said it is stupidity to leave your child home alone. But you didn't stop there - you also threw in your OPINION that parents who do so are simply rationalizing a bad decision. Lol I do believe its a privilege in regards to staying home alone. My son doesn't HAVE to (there you go again with your generalizations and lumping) stay home alone. Ever. I'm a SAHM who is here everyday when he gets home from school. He likes feeling as though he is trusted by his parents to stay home for an hour or two at a time, tho. What pre-teen/teen/young adult/whatever doesn't want to be treated older than their actual age? I love that he is able to be home by himself and follow the rules - he's learning independence and earning trust.



You also said that I'm frustrated at your opinion. My dear, your opinion isn't frustrating - it's the attitude you seem to have in regards to your opinion that rubs me the wrong way. It's one thing to share your opinion and its quite another to shove it down someone's throat by calling their choice "stupidity" based on your "strong feelings." Say what you will but when you act like a judgmental parent expect others to say what's on their minds as well :)

Susan - posted on 11/27/2012

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Its hard to gauge their maturity levels sometimes because being home by yourself gives you a huge amount of freedom and may cause them to act differently than they may have normally. And talk to him in depth about what you would expect from him. I think you can make your decision based on how he responds to you. You can always try it and if it doesn't work take away the privilage. Good luck! This is what you wrote on 11/24/12. Children don't stay home because it is a "Privalage". They stay home because they have to. I did NOT call any parents,"Stupid"! If this is how you took it from what I said then that is your doing, not mine. As I stated before, everyone has a right to their opinion on here, even you with your calling me a liar in your statement of saying, "I have half a mind to not believe you friend (the "policewoman") asked you to share anything. You are the one who is being judgmental and seems to be having the superiority complex. It seems that because of the strong feelings I have (on what my opinion was on this issue), has hit a nerve somewhere. Parents have to do what they either feel best or what society deems out to them in regards to where their children are. I can't and am NOT faulting anyone for that. You seemed to have read far too much into what I wrote and not just took it for what it is. MY OPINION and just some facts including all factors. I didn't lump any parents into not being there for their children. You are twisting my words to suit your frustration on what my opinion is. I am sorry for this but just because we don't agree on what the topic is, doesn't mean that you have to aggressively attack me for my viewpoint on this. I am happy to hear that your child is responsible and that you have bestowed this "Privilage" upon him.

Angelique - posted on 11/27/2012

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@Susan. Anything bad that can happen will be backed by facts. However, you failed to include the factors that play into those situations. And how ridiculous of you to lump parents who allow their children to stay home alone in the same group of parents who don't care about their children and show this by "not being there for their children." You are being extremely judgmental and I have half a mind to not believe you friend (the "policewoman") asked you to share anything. It sounds more like a superiority complex in regards to parenting. JMHO.

Angelique - posted on 11/27/2012

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@Susan. So any parent who makes the decision to allow their child to stay home alone under 12 is "stupid?" Interesting observation. I wouldn't consider myself to be stupid but if you need to name call in order to feel like the superior parent in this discussion more power to you. My son will be 13 this weekend and has been staying home alone since he was 10. Does sh** happen? Yes it does - its called life. I'm a much better judge of my children's maturity levels than you. Just because you have an opinion on this subject it certainly doesn't give you the authority to label anyone stupid.

Susan - posted on 11/23/2012

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Nica, This is what this forum is all about. Mothers being able to give their opinions on topics relevant to their children. Thank you for your post. Sometimes when people don't agree with someone else's opinion they take your opinion as being judgmental or as a criticism. The hairs on their backs seem to go up. This forum is not about who's right or who's wrong, It's about listening to other Mother's opinions and being able to take something from their opinions that you hadn't thought about and applying it to your own decisions you have for your children. It's about, AWARENESS. A friend of mine who is a mother of 4 and a policewoman asked me to post this in her behalf. She said, ALL the "What Ifs" are backed by "FACTS".

Susan - posted on 11/23/2012

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Sherri, thank you for your reply. I don't live by "What If's" either nor did I mean to offend anyone. The whole purpose of sharing on this issue is not to judge others or being right or wrong but for me it is about just about, AWARENESS. I have a 17 year old grandson who started staying home alone at the age of 12. He has a younger sister of 2 years that he was responsible for watching for 2 hours before one of his parents could get home. He's been around family and adults most of his life and without even knowing it, learned about responsibility. He was left at home, at the age of 15, for a 4 day weekend to watch his sister. Because you are a SAHM, your children have been privileged to more of an in depth knowledge of what responsibility is all about. They are fortunate to have you as a SAHM. You said that for you, 10 is the age you feel comfortable with for leaving a child home alone and that you won't have a problem with leaving your child home alone then. Isn't that telling parents who feel the age of 8 is the right age to leave a child home alone that 8 is too young? I did not say it is wrong, I said it was MY opinion and certainly everyone should be able to voice their opinion without being criticized for it. As you said, it doesn't make you right, it just makes you different.

Nica - posted on 11/23/2012

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my 11 year old has a babysitter. I guess I worry too much. what if she eat something and start to choke? what if there is a fire? what if a burglar comes in? what if she feels suddenly ill? I think about all this things and pay someone to be home with her. actually this 19yold girl gets her from school but she just follow her so that other children will not know she has a babysitter. crazy? yes maybe but I need to work in peace and I need to know there is an adult with her for any emergency. I chose a 19yold babysitter because someone older would not understand an 11yold mood swings..........

Sherri - posted on 11/23/2012

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Sorry Susan I don't live by "What If" if I did I wouldn't ever leave my children a moment until they were 30. For me I said 10 and I am a SAHM so I am here when they get off the bus every day. However, at ten will I leave them to go grocery shopping or a mile up the street to Target yup and I have NO problem doing it what so ever.



They have proved to me over many many months of leaving them for 5mins, then 10mins, then 20mins etc. that they can follow the rules NO body in the house but them, Do not answer the phone unless it is me or their dad, Don't answer the door etc. They have followed every rule to the letter. The oldest 2 are now 15 & 14 and I have them house sit other friends houses when they are away and they are in charge of taking care of all the animals, have left my 15 yr old here for 2 days when I had my youngest baby 9mo's ago.



You certainly don't have to agree but because someone else does it differently for what ever reason doesn't make you right and them wrong it simply just makes it different.

Susan - posted on 11/23/2012

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Thank you all for your replies. Most of you mentioned that it is up to the parents, individually to decide whether their child is responsible enough to leave home. You say that your child has been taught the rules and you have checked it out from a legal stand point and the law says it is OK too. You mentioned certain scenarios so here's one. You've left your child home (re: at the age of 8 or older) because you have deemed him or her to be responsible. Your child goes to school and their friend has brought a gun to school in their backpack and he takes it out where only the two children can see it. Now you've taught your child right and not to have anything to do with guns and if they even see one in school, they are to walk away and go tell an adult. Well, wait a minute this is his best friend and he doesn't want to lose his best friend if he just walks away from him and tells on him so he tells his friend to put it away and that he shouldn't be bringing a gun to school. The friend says ok but just hold it before I do. Your child holds the gun and another child walks by and your child just wants to hurry up and give it back to his friend so he can put it away. Just before handing the gun back, the gun goes off and shoots the child who was walking by and kills that child. You are notified by the police that your child has just shot another child in school and of course you are in disbelief. When you go to court you are going to be telling the judge that he is just a child but you have taught him to be responsible. Then you hear the judge say, ok since he knows all about being responsible then he knew what he was doing and he is going to now be tried as an adult. I know some of you are shaking your heads by now and thinking, they don't try 8 to maybe a 10 year old as adults. Yes they have. You are then saying to the judge, but your honor, he is only an 8 year old child. The key word here is CHILD. He is a child and should be allowed to live as a child and not have adult responsibilities put on them at that age. Some have said they leave their child home at 8. because the trust them and know they are responsible. If they are so responsible then why not leave them in charge of a younger sibling, say two? You've taught them all about being responsible for themselves and they get it 100%. So if they are that smart and catch on that quick as to what responsibility is then it should be a breeze to teach them how to be responsible for their younger sibling and you should feel safe leaving all your children home. I know parents who leave their child home alone after school for an hour or two but they would never leave that child home alone at night for a couple of hours while they go out with friends. How is it that your child is only responsible to be left alone after school for a couple of hours because you have no choice but when you do have a choice for the same couple of hours, you deem your child not responsible to stay home. As for me, I never put that kind of responsibility on my children. I had to work too but since my children are the most valuable to me, I made sure that they were worth paying a sitter that was 15 or older or left with someone who was a friend, neighbor, relative or that I had thoroughly checked out to leave them with. I was an art teacher and taught in the elementary schools and I have talked over the years to hundreds of children who are left home alone. When I asked a child about being home alone and how they felt about it, not one of them said, oh I'm a responsible kid and my mom trusts me. Rather, I always heard first, I'm scared but I can't tell my mom that because she has to leave me home for awhile because she has to work. In have been a teacher, I heard far too many horror stories from children being left home alone because their parents have to work. I know most of you ask your child if he or she feels comfortable and safe in staying home alone. Your child knows they have no choice so of course they are going to tell you yes they do. I guess the whole purpose of my opinion is to let parents know that their child is just that, a child and they should not have that kind of responsibility put on them.. If you are going to treat them as an adult, then they should only be doing adult things.

Lisa - posted on 11/19/2012

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@ Susan I understand where you are coming from but all of these small incidences you mention could happen while my husband or I are home. If we seriously did not think that he was capable we would not have let it happen. When leaving of a morning all my son was required to do was turn the lights off and lock the door when he left for school.

Now at the age of 14 he walks his sister to school while I work. I am home when my children get off the bus and of our afternoons we teach and discuss withem correct procedures. My son has his phone close to him at all times. I call them regularly. As previously mentioned by other mums, I believe it's up to the individual. I'm confident

Amanda - posted on 11/18/2012

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My mom let us stay home alone at 11 when she went for a walk. It was only for an hour and it was a way of testing us to see if we could handle it. Sometimes my brother who is two years older would be there sometimes not. But since I swam after school most of the time I went there right after school with another girl, her mom picked us up. But I was babysitting my cousins when I was 11. Granted we lived next door so if there was a problem then my parents were right there. But all children are different. You know your son. Start off small. Run to the store and leave him at home, when you are going to be out for no more then say 30 40 mins and grow from there. Good luck you know your kid better then anyone. In the end it is how you feel.

Becky - posted on 11/17/2012

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@susan...It's not that parents are trying to rationalize it. It's that these are the decisions that parents have made for whatever reason whether it is financial, feel their child is mature, etc. The part about the laws of the state you live in are just like everything else in life....it's to make sure you are complying with local laws. I understand that maybe you feel your kids wouldn't be able to handle it, but some of us have kids that we feel can. Most people initially panic in a situation including adults.



I have had a problem where there was some miscommunication with the school and somehow the school had my daughter walking home. My daughter went the wrong way walking home (this was part of the miscommunication...she wasn't supposed to walk home). She realized it when things didn't look familiar. She walked back towards the school got her bearings and then walked home. By the way this was when she was 7. Of course I knew nothing of what was going on. She got to the house which is approx 4 blocks from the school and no one was home. She knew to go our neighbors house and call her Grandpa to pick her up. But then again I continually quiz my daughter on different scenarios, test her on phone numbers, etc. She will be 9 next month and this little girl has more sense and know how than some teenagers who can't even order their own food. Leaving her at home afterschool by herself is not the most favorable preference, but for now it is what it is.

Sherri - posted on 11/16/2012

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@Susan I was babysitting kids at 12. So have my children. So I think @ 12 if a child unless a medical reason can't stay alone is silly.



Also my kids all cook for themselves from 12 on. My 6yr old makes his own toast, bagels, oatmeal, microwave meals. By 12 my kids are MORE than capable. Also a child regardless of age may panic but if they are taught well enough, you pray at whatever age that they do the right things in an emergency. I have NO problem leaving my kids starting at 10yrs old and don't regret it in the least for short errands. I give them more independence as they earn my trust and as they mature even more.

Becky - posted on 11/11/2012

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Talisha, there is no age limit in Louisiana. I just went thru this last week, checked the laws, and contacted family services because my daughter will be nine next month and stas home for 1 hour and 45 minutes after school. I wanted to make sure I was in compliance with the local laws.

Talisha - posted on 11/06/2012

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Check the local laws. Louisiana the age to leave a child unattended is 10. My daughter (13) and son (10) both stay home when needed. I do however only work 5mins away from the home. I do not leave them alone if i am going to the next city and/or out of town. It also depends on the mindframe of the child in question. Are they responsible, any attitude problems, any trouble at school/home, etc.. Wishing you luck ;)

Bria - posted on 11/05/2012

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i think you should try it But have a close by neighbor checking in and out on him...this comes from 18 year old

Trishabenz - posted on 08/17/2011

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My partner and I have been talking about when to begin letting the kids stay at home alone. They are almost 11and 8 1/2, but we would not leave the youngest alone at this time, ever. Ironically, the two kids act more mature than their age and they are very responsible. We taught them some basic safety rules that they could use during emergency. The idea of my children being harmed or lost is not something anyone wants to consider. When I found an article by anationofmoms about a service that can protect family via your cell phone, it got me interested and decided to registere my kids on the service. And, at the bottom of the page, 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: http://anationofmoms.com/2011/08/protect...

Della - posted on 08/08/2011

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It really edpends on your kid. Also, how can he get responsible help if he needs it and will he ask? If you have not given him small opportunities over the last year or two you have no idea how he will do. Also, WHY does he want to do this NOW? Make sure his present situaltion is a positive experience.

badartworld.com

Alexandra - posted on 08/05/2011

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if you have neighbors check on him its fine i left my daughter home alone 10 times but i didn't go far she isalso 10

Sunshine - posted on 08/02/2011

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I would first check local laws for age restrictions so your not breaking any laws. I would have to wonder if he is old enough for this responsibility, ten is still young. Every child is different and some do well but with today's society and the influences out there two hours is a lot of time for a developing person to be alone. Personally I would not.

Becky - posted on 08/02/2011

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I live in CA and here the law is that you can leave your child alone for as long as you as the parent believe they are mature enough to handle it. Does your son play a lot of video games? Mine does. Make that his video game time. My son has been staying home a few hours by himself since he was 10. He's now almost 13 and hasn't caused any problems so far by being alone. I do expect to find somewhat of a mess cause he's not the neatest guy around. He does not use the oven and stove etc. He can use the microwave and eat snacks.

Leslie - posted on 08/02/2011

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You have to consider possible emergencies that can come up and then ask yourself this: can he handle it by himself? Thats it. Also you have to consider internet access and his ability to modify his behavior during this alone time. I didnt let my daughter stay alone in the house until thirteen. Remember their brains are not fully developed and one of the last areas of development is the area that gages risk and consequences! That doesnt fully develop until early adulthood, if at all. lol.

Sunette - posted on 08/02/2011

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I also had this predicament a few years ago. Ask yourself a few questions: Does he do his homework on his own ( now )
Is your house secure? Is the neighbours home or someone you know that stay close by? Is it a safe area? Then u try it, without him knowing you have the support system in plce to do regular "check ups" or if there is trouble you know you can phone some one, who will be there in minutes. We have to start teaching them any way, so why not in your own, safe enviroment. Good Luck!

Ioana - posted on 08/01/2011

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Yes, I have the same dilema. I have a 10years old doughter who also is asking to be left alone at home, but this is just so she can watch unsuitable channels on tv and eat lots of sweets while unsupervised. So... I'm not going to alow it! For now at least.
Good luck with your sun. At the end of the day, to put a stop to this non sense, I jjust told my doughter that I don't care what other children do, I am her mom, and she is my doughter, so she has to do as I say.

Lisa - posted on 08/01/2011

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My son started staying at home at about 11, he is now nearlly 13. When my husband and I are starting early in the morning he gets himself dressed for school and I call him when he is ready to go to school. He is only home for around 1.5hr prior to school. He knows not to touch anything electrical while we aren't around. He has his own house keys, when he gets home of an afternoon he knows to lock the two doors, does not go outside until either me or hubby are home. Calls me to let me know he's in the door. Does not answer the phone or door unless it is us. Haven't had any problems at all. In most aspects he is quite responsible. He either does his chores or watches tv. He knows that I am only a phone call away and now that he has his own mobile it is easier for him and I to keep contact when I am not there.

Melissa - posted on 07/31/2011

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My now 12 1/2 year old has been staying home alone after school for almost 2 hours a day now since he was 10. He has done just fine and I live in an inner city. It truly depends on the child! He never ventures out once he is home and his homework is done by the time my husband gets home from work. Once done all he does is veg out to the TV because he's exhausted. We call it his afternoon nap with his eyes open!

Beverly - posted on 07/31/2011

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Well Francesca, here there is an age requirment. They don't go door to door to see if anyone under 12 is left alone, but God forbid something should happen like a fire, an attemp to break in etc. then if it the police became involved, leaving a child under 12 is not allowed and you could be charges with " child endangerment. "

Francesca - posted on 07/31/2011

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Believe it or not, there`s no legal age at which a child can be left at home alone. It`s all down to individual maturity and responsibilty. If you feel he is of that type then laying down some rules should cover him for that short length of time....like not answering the door or phone etc. Good luck

K - posted on 07/30/2011

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I did have this same dilemma but I also had a 5 yr old brother mixed in there as well. I live in the country and the bus route time had changed, I had no choice but to leave them for an hr in the morning as I had a store to open and almost 2 hrs after school due to my job. believe me this was against my gut feeling. I didn't have a retired grandparent and my husband left really early. l made sure he called when they got in and locked the door, even with many rules it only lasted a very short time, even though he said it was fine, to my grandmother he confessed he was scared to not have me there, I really did see him change very quickly into being resentful towards me not my husband, and sulky. I don't think my son was ready at all ( he didn't have his brother very much as he was in daycare in town) but I don't know if it was since our great dane had passed and he felt completely alone when he didn't before. He is now 11yrs old and I still don't think he is mature enough yet. I do think it totally depends on how mature your child is, I was a latchkey kid very early in life, but if my mother only knew that more then half the time I rarely went straight home, I wandered by the creeks and woods, (things I wouldn't even do by myself nowdays!) Its a different world out there now and it makes me nervous. My son is much better now and I think I'll just let him be a kid while he can. Good news is my mother finally retired so no worries now and the resentment is gone. Good luck its a tough spot, I think that we as parents try to go with what the Jones are doing, I won't make that mistake again.

Desiree - posted on 07/28/2011

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Beverley, I double checked the law and its a suggestion that your child be 12 but its not a law, and the parent can use their own good sense.

Ramona - posted on 07/28/2011

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Most states don't name an a legal age. My kids started staying home around them at that age too. I also made sure that they knew the rules, safe places to go if they needed, etc..

Trisha - posted on 07/28/2011

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Obviously you don't want to do something that is illegal. And it is an easy thing to check your local laws on the subject. Because, it is very easy to have SS called on you, so always check for laws and such on the subject to be safe on all aspects. I live in North Carolina, and this is the states ruling on leaving a minor home alone....



According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services:



There is no age specified by law that a child can be left alone in North Carolina. Parents and caretakers must look at the child's maturity, the safety of the community, and access to emergency assistance. A child may be mature enough to stay alone, but not to care for younger siblings. If you are concerned that a child is left alone and is unsafe, call your county department of social services.



I do know that very few states actual have set rules or "laws" concerning the issue. Desiree, I think you are in WA? If so it is 10. hope this helps.

Beverly - posted on 07/28/2011

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Desiree,unfortunately the law doesn't care about your rules for her and/or if she follows them they only care about their law. I agree we know our children better than the law, but they can be real strict with this. She does seem mature enough for you to do this! Hope all goes well for you and she and maybe she and you should try to keep this under your hat's and don't announce this to all your friends or neighbors! Good Luck!!!

Nancy - posted on 07/28/2011

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Check the laws, there are age limits to when they can stay alone and what age they can watch other kids.

Anna - posted on 07/28/2011

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I can tell you I've had experiences in both directions - so if you want me to tell you about them please feel free to write back. I understand you've got a million responses so I won't bore you with details unless you really want to hear from me. I have three kids and have babysit many more - so decide how you feel if you want to know more from this mom. Hugs - Anna -

Desiree - posted on 07/27/2011

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My daughter is 10 and has started staying home a little this last year. Usually she'll stay home while I run errands, but there have been a few times that my husband's schedule and my school schedule have over lapped. I never leave her home alone w/ my youngest, but Im ok with her staying home for a little while.
Last year we gave her a key and there were a few times she let herself in. I dont think I'd leave her home alone for more then a few hours tho. Or in the evenings. Certainly not all day. That's too much. But on occasion I think its ok. As for the laws, we have rules that she is not to answer the door for anyone! And she texts me periodically. I think that Im not legally supposed to leave her home until she is 12 but really, I trust her. She knows that if she tests that trust she will end up at her grandmothers house, which unfortunately is more of a punishment then it is meant to be.

Melani - posted on 07/27/2011

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We had this same issue about 2 years ago -- our daughter was wanting to stay alone after school but like you wasn't sure. We started out by letting her stay alone while I ran errands - started out 20 - 30 minutes and slowly built up with my own confidence and certainty (she was never ready for me to be home). We did establish some ground rules when the discussion came up. The phone must remain with her at all times and if I called - SHE BETTER ANSWER!!. The doors have to remained locked. If the door bell rang - she had to go to my bedroom (other end of the house from front door) - we did this to hopefully decrease the temptation to peek to see who it is. We also reminded of kitchen and tv rules. We all felt these were reasonable terms we could all deal with. She did awesome and we were fortunate to never had any problems. In fact, this past school year, she and my youngest daughter (9) rode the bus home from school and stayed alone till I got home from work -- which was anywhere from 30 minutes - 3 hours. All year long - never had a problem!
GOOD LUCK!!

Ashton - posted on 07/27/2011

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your a mother you can go off your instincs i cant spell to day sorry. just do what your hart tells you try a few tests with him see if he is mature enough and make sure what the laws are in your city or state

Barbara Sherron - posted on 07/27/2011

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Hi Colleen,

This is a very good question as most of our kids wants to stay home by themselves. I think it is a good idea especially when he is ready to take responsibility on his own safety. My son had done so at the age of 9 but would always call for support which is very wise. I would always calls too at least 4-6 times in an hour to see if everything was ok with him. He is now 13 and he really enjoys staying home and working on his school work or just playing video games. I would strongly suggest that you play it by what your instincts tell you. If you know that the neighborhood is safe, than it won't hurt to try it but with a lot of consideration. Always consider the possibility of him having friends over and doing other crazy stuff or what not. Not that it is a bad idea but some friends influence bad behavior and habits on our children. I guess if you really trust your kid, you have no problem thinking and worrying about him except the fact that he’s alone and he could be encountering danger. Hope that helps!
bf

LoriAnn - posted on 07/26/2011

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We did come across this with my son who is now 13 and decided that 10 was to young we allowed it when he turned 12.

Beverly - posted on 07/25/2011

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Well I agree with Sherri! It's a very big responsability for a 10 or 11 year old. Coming home to an empty house can be very scary and lonely. Well in our state it is against the law for anyone to leave a child alone under the age of 12. People can and have got themself in trouble with child services because of it. Here it's called "child neglect". Some of you are right, all children are different some are more mature then other's, but home alone is still home alone and problems can come from that. Like a fire or someone trying to break in, would you really want your young child to be responsible for any of those happenings?I certainly didn't want mine to experience any of those things and finally didn't want them to come home to an empty house!

Sherri - posted on 07/25/2011

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I didn't write that Trisha that is actual article about the risks of leaving ANY preteen - teen alone after school with loads of statistics. Not just those you deem to believe would never do certain things.

Heck my friend thought his daughter was great would never get into trouble was the most responsible kid and she was a latchkey kid after school for a few hours 4 days a week. She wasn't a follower, is a great student, knew the house rules, knew never to let anyone in the house without someone home. etc etc etc. He came home early one day without informing her and walked into a house full of kids including older boys. She was 12yrs old.

Your right it isn't a 100% guaranteed stuff won't happen in an after school program however, the statistics are pretty clear that those involved in these programs are 2/3 less likely to ever be in trouble. They are usually small controlled groups with tons of adult supervision.

In my opinion it is not worth the risks no matter how much you think you know your child. You will never know what they will actually do when you aren't around. Look at those news stories on not to long ago where the parents went out and sent strangers to the house to pretend they were someone broken down etc. and needed a phone. 9 out of the 10 kids (even though they had all been drilled about not opening the door and the parents bet that none of them would answer the door) not only did all 10 of them answer the door, 9 of them opened the door let the strangers into their home to use the phone only 1 didn't. Those are pretty odds.

Sherri - posted on 07/25/2011

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This is exactly why I would never let my child come home to an empty house everyday. I think it is a very bad idea.



· In America today, millions of young people are alone and unsupervised in the hours after school, before parents return home from work. This situation places children and teens at grave risk for juvenile crime, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and other problems. It means students are wasting precious time when they could be learning. And it leaves millions of working parents worried about their children when they should be focused on their jobs. This unproductive, untenable and unacceptable situation would be remedied if our nation invested more fully in the after school programs that keep kids safe, support working families, and help young people succeed in school and in life.



· The after school hours are the peak time for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex. (Source: Bureau, Urban Institute Estimate, 2000) Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2002)



· The parents of more than 28 million school-age children work outside the home. As many as 15 million "latchkey children" go to an empty house on any given afternoon. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor; U.S. Census Bureau, Urban Institute estimate, 2000)



· Teens who do not participate in after school programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes or use marijuana or other drugs; they are also more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual activity. (YMCA of the USA, March 2001)



Parents themselves admit to regularly leaving more than 4 million middle school kids under the age of 13 to care for themselves for a few hours each week. (Source: Child Trends)



· The hours between 3-6 p.m. on school days (referred to by law enforcement officials as a "danger zone") are the prime time for violent juvenile crime; this is also the time period during which kids are most likely to become victims of violent crime, be involved in all kinds of accidents, experiment with drugs or alcohol, and become pregnant



· Working mothers report that 3 -6 p.m. is the time of day when they most worry about their children's safety.

http://www.afterschoolallstars.org/site/...

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