How young is to young to stay at home alone for 4 hours?

Carrie - posted on 04/19/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My son just turned 10 years old. I work on sundays during the day and my husband is usually home to watch the kids, but now he just recently got a new job that makes him work sundays but only for 4 hours, (the store is not even a block away from the house). I don't know what age is appopriate for a child to stay home by himself. It would only be a few hours, but I don't know if its ok. What does everybody think?

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Stacey - posted on 04/20/2009

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I can tell you that here in NY leaving them alone at that age is illegal. I personally feel that the answer to that question is different for every child; depending on their maturity level and things. My oldest two were both certified in babysitting and stayed home for short periods of time at the age of 12. My middle child will be 10 in July and there is no way that I would even think about leaving her alone...cant see doing so with her in 2 years llike I did with her sisters either.

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Rebecca - posted on 04/22/2009

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I know as a child of a single mother who's father was a dead beat dad, my mom had to work and I got to be home after school for a few hours with my siblings. As well as I had a babysitting job at 11 for a 4 year old a couple of days throughout the week. We were very responsible, as well as at the time we had a latch key class that taught children how to be home safely. I think it all depends on the child. And if you think you can trust them. Also I know a friend who had to look into this very thing for her child because she is a single mother. And according to the CPS in our state a child can be left home at 9 years old and can be responsible for siblings at 10. If your worried about legal ramifications maybe you could contact your local authorities and see what is legal in your area.

Brandi - posted on 04/21/2009

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I have an 11 years old step daughter i let stay at home alone, but only for an hour. If i'm going to the store for one or two items, then i let my 9 yr old son stay with her. But the store is only 3 blocks away and i'm not gone longer that 20 minutes. I think 4 hours might be too long for a 10 year old to be alone. I would ask a neighbor or a local teen to stay with him.

Christi - posted on 04/21/2009

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I have a 10 yr old son and I thought about him staying home alone, looked up the laws and I would never want to risk it. There is no legal age to stay home alone in Tn but your child must be mature enough to stay home alone and if there not and something happens you then can be charged with child neglect and endangerment. To me its just not worth it for nothing.

Sara Jo - posted on 04/20/2009

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my 10 year old daughter stays home alone and she does a good job with it. my sister in law in 3 houses away and my step daughter does text message me pretty often to check in. i think it depends on your child, where you live and who is close to help if something happens.

Chris - posted on 04/20/2009

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In Ga. 9 is the legal age that a child can be alone and look after himself. I think it is 13 to babysit a young child, I'm not sure. We have a 9 year old and a 10 year old. They both know not to answer the phone (we screen our calls anyway) unless they hear our voices. If they hear someone outside, they go to their rooms But usually we only leave for an hour or two. I would suggest that you contact your local Department of Family and Children Services, police, or a lawyer and find out what the legal age is and what would be appropriate. I don't see anything wrong with it as long as you cover ground rules and he knows what to do in an emergency. Post numbers where you could be reached and check on him often. That's just my opinion.

Diane - posted on 04/20/2009

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I wouldn't let him stay alone until at least 12, boys especially are too to react appropriately in an emergency, and I would do little tests first, Run out for 1/2 hour, and set up various situations to see how he handles it. Phone calls,someone at the door etc. then do it a few more times adding more time along on. If their is a teenager or another parent around to babysit, I would do that first though until he's a little older.

Christy - posted on 04/20/2009

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I think 12 is the legal age they are allowed to be left home along for that long. My son is 10 and the longest he stays home is when I go to take the dog for a walk around the block (15 minutes). From you email it sasy that you have more than one child. If your oldest is only 10 then he should not have the responsibility of babysitting his younger siblings. This is how accidents happen in the house. I sould suggest you have someone come sit with your children until your husband gets home. Better safe than sorry.

Paula - posted on 04/20/2009

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My son was around 12 before i let him stay by himself for an hour or so. When he turned 13 we started letting him babysit his then 8 year old sister for a few hours at a time. But only during the day.I have never let him babysit or stay alone overnight.He`ll be 15 in 5 1/2 months.

Lisa - posted on 04/19/2009

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I wouldn't leave my 12 year old DS home without an adult, but maybe I'm extra paranoid. It does depend on the child and where you live (we're in a bit of a dodgy area) I like Marcelle's idea too. My DS has stayed at a friend's place where it's been the 2 of them and an older brother or one parent (albeit sleeping) but that's about my limit.

Sarah - posted on 04/19/2009

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i think it would be better if you dont leave him alone, only because of the possibility of something going wrong, not that you dont trust him, i think marcelles idea of going round to a friends house then you recipricating another day is a good ompromise

Marcelle - posted on 04/19/2009

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Sorry, just reading your post again. If there is more than 1 child, it is too much to expect a 10yo to be responsible for others.

Marcelle - posted on 04/19/2009

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If he is a responsible 10yo, maybe. The thing is what are they likely to do if they get a hare brained idea - and they all do. So even if he is generally responsible and can remember not to do what you tell him not to, I would prefer to organise a friend for him to visit, maybe you can reciprocate another day. If you do decide it is ok to leave him, one of you need to be available for phone calls, if anything happens, heaven forbid.

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