what age is a good age to leave kids by themself ?

Nicole - posted on 11/19/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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my kids are 12 10 and 6 years old and my hubby and I got into it many times he said when we were the 12 year old age we were left by our self but times are different now I don't even like to run up to corner store and leave the older ones home .

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Sylvia - posted on 11/21/2009

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Times are different now, but probably not the way you think (unless you happen to live in an extremely high-crime area): overall crime rates, violent crime rates, and rates of crimes against children are way down from when we were kids (I'm assuming you and hubby are around the same age as my DH and me -- we're 40 and 35). It's the 24-hour news cycle and the constant barrage of repeated news stories about the same few awful incidents that makes us think our society is more dangerous now -- it really isn't.

Of course, whether it's safe to leave your kids at home on their own depends a lot on your kids. If they're responsible and will follow the rules you make for them, whatever those are (I'm thinking things like not opening the door while they're home alone, not using the stove or the oven, keeping the door locked, telling anyone who phones that you're busy and not that you're out, etc.), that's one thing; if you have reason to think that they'll do something foolish and/or dangerous like playing with kitchen appliances or experimenting with matches and candles or locking their younger sibling in the coat closet, then obviously that's a different matter. Do they understand the reasons for not doing certain things without supervision (or at all)? Do they know what to do in an emergency? All that stuff is probably more important than exactly how old they are.

I very much hope that I will be able to leave my daughter home on her own for a couple of hours at a time by the time she's 12. She's 7 now; I wouldn't leave her alone for any significant length of time, but last week when she had the flu I certainly didn't feel uncomfortable running to the corner store to buy her some orange juice while she stayed on the couch in her PJ's. When I was 7, it was my job to walk down the street and around the corner to the bakery and buy bread every morning before breakfast. When I was 11, I had my own house key and was in charge of the house and my little brother (he was 7) from the time we got home from school until my mom got home from work -- we were a single-parent family by then. When I was 14, I had a steady job babysitting an infant for 2 hours every Wednesday, including taking him out for walks around the neighbourhood; my brother and I had designated cooking nights (I had two a week, he had one) and did the dishes every night. We had more responsibility around the house than most of our friends, because of the single-parent thing, but most kids got themselves to and from school, found their own babysitting jobs or worked their own paper routes, went to the store themselves to spend their allowance, etc. I refuse to believe that either kids or the world in general has changed so much that our kids can't have at least some of the same freedoms and responsibilities that we had.

Kekua - posted on 11/20/2009

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I've been wondering that myself. You have to take the leap of faith some time but it's definitely hard to know when. Of course you know your children best and know what they're capable of. Legally I know several states say that a child must be 14 in order to babysit and you can be in trouble if they're less than that. Although I remember being a latchkey kid at 10 and having to watch my bro (4yrs younger) every day for a couple of hours.

Gloria - posted on 11/19/2009

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Nicole,
My boys are 14 and 8 and I don't ever leave them at home alone. If I'm going to the store right up the road they are going with me. Your right things are different than when we were kids. I can remember staying by myself at the age of 7, but there are so many things that you have to worry about these days. Every time I turn on the TV there is some report of a child being hurt, it's our responsibility as parents to keep them safe!
Well this is just my thought but maybe it will help you some.

Heidi - posted on 11/19/2009

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Well here in Ontario it depends on the maturity level of the child. 10 being the average for the most. I work with kids every day and which means I am also involved with Social Services. I have asked them before when kids can be left alone and they told me a responsible 10 year old can be left alone for an hour or 2, at the age of 11 they are allowed to watch younger siblings(2 max) for a couple of hours, and by the time they are 12 they can be on there own all day if the parents feel they are responisble enough. Its a crazy world and I have a 10 1/2 year old that thinks he is old enough to be left alone, and at times I have left him home when his older brother is sleeping( he works nights) and he is almost 19. Thats the closest I have come to leaving him alone.

Gail - posted on 11/19/2009

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i think that the age is 14. to b left alone and 16 to be left with younger brother n sisters

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Miki - posted on 11/19/2009

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you might want to check your local and state laws...I live in TN and here a social worker told me that technically there are no laws regarding @ what age a teen can babysit younger siblings. HOWEVER, he did tell me that if a neighbor called the Department of Child Services and told someone that i had left my(under the age of 18) kids @ home alone, then they would have to open an investigation. To answer the question personally, I feel it depends on the child, and how much you trust them and their maturity. And as a parent, if you have given them proper emergency instructions, and whether or not they can understand and apply your instruction.

Nicole - posted on 11/19/2009

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I'm always scare because someone be calling child services on me for leaving my kid alone this lady in Michigan just went to corner store and her kids were outside yelling for her and she got her kids taken away for leaving them alone didn't say the ages in the newspaper.Don't want to lose my kids either by law is there a age?I would leave my 10 year old before I left my 12 year old by his self because 12 year old has ADHD.

Melissa - posted on 11/19/2009

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Well, I only have a 7 year old, but I have been wondering this myself. I think that it partly based on how mature they are. Are they responsible enought to stay home themselves. I know that I will wait until at least my son is 10 years old. Then I will start with short times. I will run to the store around the corner and I will try to leave him alone for the 10 minutes I am gone. If he does good with that, after a while I will let him stay home a little longer by himself. But I have already and will reiderate when he is older, about how to call 911 if anything is wrong, and what to do in case of a fire and all that stuff. There is no set age, it's how you feel and how mature your kids are. If they can handle it. Hope this helps. Best of luck!!

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