Would you leave your kids alone for an hour each day?

Jennifer - posted on 06/01/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Friends of mine leave their 7 and 10 year old daughters home alone 3 days/week between the hours when the mom leaves for work and the dad gets home from work (approx. 4:30-5:30pm). The girls are instructed not to answer the phone or door.

Is this okay/would you do this?

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Jane - posted on 06/01/2011

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Under the laws of the state of Texas you are permitted to leave children of this age alone for an hour, as long as nothing goes wrong. However, if something bad DOES happen you are guilty of neglectful supervision.

There is no set age for leaving kids home alone, but in our state you need to consider the age, emotional maturity and capability of the child; layout and safety of the home, play area, or other setting; neighborhood circumstances, hazards, and risks; the child's ability to respond to illness, fire, weather, or other types of emergencies; and whether the child has a mental, physical, or medical disability. The number of children left unsupervised, the accessibility to other responsible adults, the length of time or frequency with which the child is left alone, and the child's knowledge of the parent's whereabouts are additional things to consider.

With that said, I did not leave our kids home alone until the age of 12. Even then, things did not go well in that my 12 yo and my 10 yo got into a fight and broke a window. They had to pay for its repair. Although I know my son has problems (he is ADHD, ODD and Bipolar) I thought my daughter was mature enough not to get into a fight with him. I guessed wrong and so required them to come with me or stay at a neighbor's house for several more years.

Depending on how well the girls follow directions, get along with each other, and behave well when unsupervised, this could be no problem. OTOH, if either child is like my son, then no, I would not leave them alone at all.

There is a wife of a deployed military man who lives in our neighborhood. At the ages of 7 and 5 her sons were latch key kids, letting themselves in when they got off the school bus at three and staying alone until their mom got home around 8 or 9. That was way too long. In addition, the kids did NOT stay in the house and did NOT stay out of trouble. Fortunately, they were not injured ever, but both are now in a gang.

Jessica - posted on 06/24/2011

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Here is a link that shows the law for each state. http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-ki...

Where I live it's legal at any age but if something bad happens there will be an investigation and the parents could be held responsible so you want to be careful that your child is responsible enough and get alone and have some sort of safety guild to follow and phone numbers if they need something.

I've left my kids home so they could continue getting ready for school while I drove their grandmother to work. 12,11 and 5 I would never leave them with the 12 year old gone there is only 5 months difference in my 12 year old and my SD 11year old but maturity wise they are worlds apart!

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Yes, in our neighborhood, I would. We know our neighbors (some are relatives). Kids roam the streets. It's very safe and Mayberry-ish. Although, if I had an immature child I wouldn't do it.

Michelle - posted on 06/18/2011

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Where I live, no child under the age of 10 can be left alone. That's law. At age 10, they are only allowed to be left alone for 1 hour. And they cannot be responsible for other children. At the age of 12, they are allowed to be left alone, and are only able to babysit other children until Midnight. Even with their babysitters course. I have a 9 and 11 year old, and will not leave them alone. I just think if something happened to either one of them while I was not home, I just couldn't handle it. Both my children are responsible for their age, and they know home safety. They each took a course about safety when being left alone. I however, am just not comfortable. I mean, they would know what to do if there was a fire, or if someone broke in...but I wouldn't want to put that responsibility on my children. I am the parent, I am responsible for their safety!

Amanda - posted on 06/13/2011

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no i would not....a friend of mine asked a police man here in my town and he said the child has to be 12 before left alone in a house and they have to take a babysitting course in order to be left with any siblings and u can't take the course till ur 13...i was babysitting when i was 13 but never took a course and me and my sister were 12 and 13 before we were left alone in our house...at 7 and 10 they are still to young i feel...

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Erin - posted on 06/24/2011

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When I was 10 I was watching my sister and brother, but usually it was when my mom went to the store, or to the neighbors to grab something. Sometimes half an hour?
I was also in charge of gathering them up after school and walking home together. two blocks away from home, so it was easy. I think I would be hesitant to do it with my own kids, because "the times they are achangin" and its much easier to get into trouble, and your kids can be subjected to worse, easier. Back when I was a kid it was perfectly fine though. id be happier leaving it for a "teen right of passage" and letting that happen when my kid turned 13. But by that time these days with the kids I see, some of them are already sexually active, or smoking or drinking. Maybe teaching responsibility at 10 isnt such a bad idea!

April - posted on 06/21/2011

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i think kids in my state have to be at least 12 years of age to be left alone, even if it's just an hour. at those ages (7 and 10), i would have to consider the maturity level of the 10 year old. I'd never leave the 7 year old alone, no way, no matter how mature. all in all, i wouldn't do it at all if it was illegal.

Stephanie - posted on 06/20/2011

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it depends on the kids. if they were able to handle it and were "mature" enough to do it then yes I would leave them alone. I'm not sure if mature is the right word but I hope you understand.

Wolfmama - posted on 06/18/2011

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Depends on the children I suppose. My brother and I were 'latchkey' kids and although I found that it was scary being home alone, nothing adverse happened because we were taught basic safety precautions. Still, for my own kids I would prefer have another adult watch them for that time in between.

Alison - posted on 06/13/2011

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I think it's OK depending on the children, but me personally I might not do it because I'm a worrier. :O)

Shannintipton - posted on 06/10/2011

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No . . . I fell asleep for an hour today. The house was a mess. I couldn't imagine what they would do if they knew I wasn't home. :(

Alecia - posted on 06/02/2011

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it depends on the children. i think the law in NY is 12-13 or responsible enough. i think 10 and 7 yr old girls may be mature enough to handle an hour alone a few days a week....now if it were boys id be slightly concerned :p but its up to the parents and they should know whether or not their kids can handle it...and if something happens the parents would be in big trouble with the law

Ashley - posted on 06/01/2011

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Depends on the girls its only an hour and as long as they follow the rules. I dont think its bad but it realy depends on the children. I think 7 is young but with the 10 year old together there probably fine, they probably have a snack and watch cartoons is there a neighbor they can contact just in case. It would be realy hard to find some one to watch them for an hour and wouldent they be alowed to play at the park that long anyway. I could be compleatly wrong my kids are still small and my childhood was diffrnt than most so it can be hard for me to decide in such cases as i was given full freedom at 6 and was fine but would not allow my children anything close to such.

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