What age is old enough for children to stay home alone?
When do you think it's okay to leave children home alone? Is there an age when it becomes safe, or certain rules that they have to follow? Does time of day influence your decision, or the length of time they'll be alone?
In Georgia the law and DFCS policy states that a child can be left alone for short periods between the ages of 9-12 (up to 2 hrs). At 13 a child can babysit siblings for up to 12 hrs. I work for DFCS and we just try to make sure that the children who are alone have a way to reach their parents, know how to dial 911 etc.. I wouldn't get bent out of shape about a 12 yr old being alone for 4 or 5 hrs, nor would I tell a mom of a very mature 8 yr old that she couldn't run to the store for 20 minutes.
Personally, I have a 11 and 8 yr old. My 11 yr old has been left for approx. 45 minutes on two or three occasions. It really is important to show kids that you trust them and believe that they are responsible enough to care for themselves. I know many 15 and 16 yr olds who have never been left alone. To me that is sending them the message that they are somehow inadequate or untrustworthy and leads to part of the reason that many adult children never want to branch out on their own.
Working for DFCS, I see two different worlds. My friends (upper middle class typical helecopter moms) and my clients (lower/working class survival mode parents). I am often amazed at the maturity level of the children in my clients homes. Although I've seen way too many parentified 7 yr old latch key kids, I occasionally find a 12 yr old who can care for her siblings, keep the house clean and do her homework after school. I am constantly reminded of what my kids are capable of. I try to find a happy medium by protecting them while trying to make them independent.
I think it depends greatly on the child... My son is 14 and he has never been home alone, simply because I know he won't stay out of things... However I have nephews and nieces that I would trust to stay home alone (and they do while their mom is at work). Every child matures at different ages and it's the parents responsibility to know their child and when they are ready for different things.
Of course it depends on the child, how many of them, and maturity level. Here in Tempe, AZ, the city-provided on-site after school care for children stops when they are twelve. Because of the assumption that they are old enough then to fend for themselves after school, and before parents come home. For those 2-3 hours, most kids do fine. In Norway, it was thought to be 9, depending on the child. I know I was 9 and my brother 8, when we walked home from school, called my mother, and were alone until they got home at 6. We played outside with the neighbors in that suburban environment.
When I was twelve, and he was 11, they took a weekend away, a "second Honeymoon". They called us, the neighbor was available, and my brother and I were ecstatic that we could he "home alone" overnight. We snooped. :-)
Even with special needs. My son has Down syndrome, and I did several tests -- I'd go away for an hour, and he had all the instrucx. I'd call and check and verify them. We walked to neighbors as he should do in case of fire. He'd already called 911 when he was 4, so he knew the real rules there, after the police came by! Those were specific tests, practices. He had a list on instructions on the table -- numbers to call, what not to do -- open the door except for police, what to do -- leave house for fire, etc. He was able to show me each item and what it meant, and answer all questions. He was very mature -- been making his own lunch for school - from his list, and all for years. programmed vcr, etc. Preschool from 1-1/2, summer school & walking class-to-class age 7, after school & summer programs full time, all regular ed, where independent activity is fostered.
So first day of school, Test Day. Immediately call me when you get in the door, lock the door. He did, like clock work. Beleve me, I watched my phone, ready to leave early if I got no call! He was alone 1-/12 hours until his dad got home. And then, one day, it was me getting home, and the police were there!!! My son had his list in his hand, and the officer was smiling. He said, "This is the kind of welfare check I like to do - where everyone is OK". Turns out, there was a utility worker for the water, and my son would not answer the door, but looked through the window! So utility called the police. My son, of course, answered the door for the police, and showed him his page of numbers and instructions (in big print).
So 12, even with special needs, under specific circumstances. By the time he was 14, he like being home alone all day! Never over night, tho. Even now, that he's 27!
I feel sorry for the children who don't get a chance to gradually show their independence and capabilities. It's a lifetime of learning, and doesn't suddenly occur when they are 18, but a gradual process.
And, in case I get beat up by telling my story -- my son holds down a job now, he can read bus schedules, takes 2-4 busses & light rail depending where he's going, can make his own dinner, and keeps a list of the groceries that are needed for each shopping trip.
I have 4 children. Their ages are 13, 12, 11, and 9. When I work my kids all come home before I do. I feel that its up to the parent to judge the maturity of the child. All four of my kids know how to use a microwave, make a sandwich, ect. My oldest daughter 13, also knows how to cook, and often makes dinner or helps make dinner. My son 12, also knows how to cook. My 11 and 9 year old daughters are learning how to cook. i have always felt that they should start to learn young. They know how to clean properly and wash their clothes. Every parent has their own idea of what the right age is for all of these things. What is right for one parent may not be what another feels is right. I guess its as the saying goes, "to each his own".
I live in a State where the law on leaving a child alone is rather vague. However the general concensus with social workers and law enforcement is when a child is of sufficent age in which to be able to respond appropriately to an emergency situation, show the ability to use basic home safety measure, and has access to adults in case of emergency. Access can be by telephone. These abilities vary by child. Generally somewhere between 8 and 14 if there are no special needs. Also the time alone will come into play. A 17 year old could reasonably be left for a weekend and not fall under "neglect" however leaving an 8 year old alone into the wee hours of the morning while you go party could fall into the neglect catagory. Generally a parent would want to start with short periods of time and build up into longer periods after having taught the child how to be home alone.
It depends on the child. I have an eight, seven and three year old. My eight year old is not even close to being responsible enough to be left alone. I think I would consider it at age 10, but a lot of things would have to be shown first. I was 12 the first time I was left alone. It was for short stretches at a time. At first it started off just after school. I would get home at 4pm but my mom wouldn't get off work until 5pm. As I proved I was mature enough, the length of time increased, to the point of having my brothers with me too. Again though, I think it depends on the child. I was mature for my age, and had already proven I had what it took.
I grew up in a time when there were no daycare centers, and babysitters were usually grandparents and older siblings. I'm the youngest of three, and the only girl. When I was 4, my mother had to go back to work to help with finances. My two older brothers were in 2nd and 4th grade so were gone until 3pm each day. I was left alone for approximately 6 hours each day... yes, I was only 4 years old and left alone. I was very mature for my age, was very well behaved and obedient. The rules were easy: don't answer the door and only answer the telephone at pre-arranged times (my mother phoned at least 3 times each day to check on me). I already knew how to tell time, so when the phone rang, I checked the clock. If it was time for mother to phone, I answered it. I was also still napping at that age, so after my lunch, I took my nap. It was no big deal, and it was only for a couple of months until my brothers began Summer vacation. Then, my eldest brother (age 10 at the time) watched over us. We survived and never had a single incident. Looking back, it was very risky, but my mother had great faith in me, and I lived up to that.
Different states have different laws. Before you leave your child alone - google your state and home alone laws. You don't want to be arrested for endangering the welfare of a child
I am a single parent of four: twin girls 12, son 10 and daughter 7. I do home health care, and sometimes I have a client who needs my help after hours or on the weekend. So, there have been many occasions when I have left my kids on their own to work a short shift.
Your first issue is legality, and the laws vary from state to state. Contact your local office of social services and ask to speak to a social worker about what the laws say or established policies in your area. Some states have clear laws, and others do not. So, it is best to know the law, so you don't end up in trouble there.
Secondly. I think it also depends upon your child. My son, for example, may not be legally old enough to be on his own, but I know his level of responsibility, and his understanding of what to do if he had an emergency. So, I may feel ok with leaving him on his own for a short time. Then, you may have a 13-14 yr old who is irresponsible or dishonest, and you have to determine, even though it might be legal to leave them alone, is it wise? Can they be trusted to do the right thing when you're not around? Can they reason clearly in case of an emergency and do they know how to handle a crisis situation wisely? These are all considerations.
If you do decide to leave kids on their own for a time, make sure you have all discussed safety. Do you have a clear evacuation plan if there is a fire? Counsel kids how to handle any emergency, make sure your emergency numbers are nearby and if, for some reason you cannot be reached, maybe a nearby neighbor who they can seek help or counsel from. I think it's important to teach kids self-reliance and how to handle themselves and to do things for themselves. Otherwise, how will they get by when they are older? So, leaving them on their own can help build self esteem, and independent thinking skills. When weighed with safety concerns, the maturity of the child and other factors like, how long you will be away, and how far you are going, it is possible to safely leave kids to fend for themselves sometimes. Good luck and may your adventure be a great learning experience for you all!
I agree that it depends on the child. I leave my eleven year old home for an hour or two - all he's interested in doing is playing video games while I'm gone. But I definitely wouldn't leave anyone with him. He isn't old enough to supervise someone else. I did some checking online and from what I found only three states actually have a law stating an age - Maryland and North Carolina (8 yrs. old) and Oregon (10 yrs. old). Nine others have age 'recommendations', but no others have any law about age.
I think it depends on the child. I have two children one who is 17 and he was able to be left at home after school etc and he is fine being left along but not with his brother. He loves his brother but they argue big time think its the big age grap not sure. Then we have a 8 year old son who is ADHD he does not like being left along at all and has been like that since birth. He is very smart and does well in school but maturity wise he just is not ready. Each child is different and has different needs. You know your child. Follow your heart and don't worry about what other people think.
Times sure have changed since I was growing up in the 70's in terms of raising children. I walked to school at 5, usually with my 6 year old sister, approximately 1 mile away through a winding neighborhood. At times, I remember loosing my sister walking home & being by myself, then getting scared by a "loud, music playing car" or something. Even at that age, I had the intuition to not run away frantically, and look like a potential target, rather casually start to walk up the nearest home as if it were my home, "just in case". Even though it is said times were safer then, I didn't always feel safe during those walking home from school scenarios. I'm sure there were some crazy people in the 70's too. Since we were a family of 4 children and fought like cats & dogs, we were not left alone during the evening until the older children were 11 & 12 (and we still fought over stupid things sometimes). When our parents went out of town, the younger siblings went to grandma's and us 16 & 17 year olds stayed home alone. We knew better than to have friends over or God forbid a party..... We always knew our parents had eyes in the back of their head and a neighbor would definitely tell on us, so that NEVER happened. We did have fear of our parent's rules and they did follow through with consequences.
For my husband and I, we have 2 daughters... who are 13 years age difference. Our older daughter didn't like being home alone during the evening, even at 14 or 15 , unless she had a friend over. Hmmmm... thinking that was because it was more fun, as Mom and Dad would get pizza and video's for them prior to our going out for date night at times, but we didn't really start her out on smaller periods alone and build up to longer periods. We changed the scenario with our younger daughter, who is now twelve. I started her w/periods of being home alone at the age of 11-1/2 for very short periods, even though I don't work except to occasionally substitute teach school occasionally. She is very mature, and follows directions very well (absolutely no friends in the house, no playing outside while a parent is not home, in case of an injury, etc.). Knows what to do in the event of a severe storm, emergency, etc. She would get off the bus, and immediately call me. I was usually only 5-10 minutes away and planned it like that. I would say "I'm here.., and will be home in a specific time" and it always happened. Her father would also be home within a 1/2 hour of her arriving home from school. We live in a cul-de-sac where everyone is either a teacher or are retired, and we are a close knit group and someone is always around. If ever there were any issues, she felt secure knowing she had support and help but I did not want my neighbors feeling like they were babysitting my child while playing, so she was not allowed outside until I got home, which was soon. Plus, you never know if they could get hurt playing. . Now that she is 12, we have slowly upped the time we arrive home, she is 100% comfortable with things for a few hours and knows the rules and totally abides by them. We occasionally leave her home during the evening, but not very late... maybe 11 pm at the latest. Nowadays, everyone has cell phones and while we live in a very safe neighborhood, we still had a security system installed just for added peace of mind. I believe it's very important, if your child is ready for it, to show them your trust in them in leaving them home for 10-15 minutes after school and slowly build up depending on their comfort level. But, then again... every family is different. If there are a lot of siblings, and they fight like cats and dogs like me and my siblings did, probably not a good idea. Also, the neighborhood and relationships you have with your neighbors is somethign to consider. I'm very pleased how our younger daughter is becoming more and more mature, knows that she can trust we are making good, safe decisions on her behalf. I just wish I could get her to keep her bedroom and bathroom clean for more than 48 hours !
Totally depends upon the child. Our 12 year old (boy) is not yet ready... I don't feel that he would respond safely or appropriately in an emergency situation or even if someone knocked on the door. Yet, I was babysitting when I was 10 (obviously a few years ago, lol). All kids are different, there should be no standard age.
It depends on the maturity level of the child. You can have a teen that's 15-16 but they are irresponsible and you know if you leave them home alone everyone in the neighborhood will be in your house or one 11-15 that will do as you have instructed them. If you know your children you know whether you can leave them home alone or not. If you have never given them any real responsibility to test their level of maturity I would suggest not leaving them alone. Always make sure there is an adult available to check on them if you must leave them alone. Have something to keep them occupied untilo you return. Do they know how to reach you in case of emergency. If it's more than one child how do they get along? There are a lot of things you need to consider before you do that.
I totally agree that it depends on the maturity level of the child being left alone. If your child has gotten into scrapes that were not handled well with you in the next room, then DON'T leave that child alone in the house!! If there are siblings who are constantly bickering, DON'T leave them alone in the house with each other!! If, however, your child has demonstrated that he or she is a responsible person, then start with short time periods during daylight hours.
My mother had to leave our upstairs apartment to hang clothes on the line, leaving my brother (about 1) and me (about 4) "alone" ... and foolish older sister went to tell Mom that the phone was ringing, locking both of us out of the house. The fire department had to come to our house to get us back inside. ... But my mother impressed me with the need to follow her specific instructions and trusted me to stay in the house with little brother when she was in the yard hanging clothes (what else was she to do??). That resulted in my being trusted with a lot more responsibility as I grew older. I was the babysitter for my parents when I was 9 and they had to make an obligatory "call" on my dad's commanding officer. It was under two hours, but by that time, there was a toddler added to the mix. We didn't have all these laws back then. Mom was never "neglectful" but she would have been labeled that under today's laws.
When they were younger, my own children were not left alone for more than the half hour between their dismissal from school and my arrival home (teachers had to stay at school an additional 15 minutes). As they grew older, I had to weigh all the factors before deciding to leave them alone for longer periods of time. Often, I chose not to attend activities if I didn't have adult supervision for them. Again, it has to do with maturity levels of individual children.
After having raised four. The youngest is now 19..... It REALLY all depends on the individual child. You know if your child is mature enough and has the ability to know right from wrong, knows what to do in case of emergency, whom to open the door for or how to answer a phone. In my case, with the two youngest, I'd leave the 12 year old with the 14 year old and tell the youngest.... watch your brother (and he's 2 years older than her), If they're mature and RESPONSIBLE for their age, it's subjective... use your best judgement. ONLY YOU KNOW YOUR CHILDREN! Go with your gut.
My son is eleven and has stayed home 2 times by himself, but only for a short time until I was able to get home
My son is 10 and I let him stay home an hour by himself...I think there are laws regarding this...I have 5 children so he is hardly home without us or an older sibling
Only two states have requirement LAWS. Maryland 8 years old and Illinois at 14 years old. All the rest just have guidelines.
I believe between the ages of 10-12 depending on the maturity of the child. I started babysitting at 12, so certainly most children can at least take care of themselves at that age.
First of all, if you use siblings fighting or just general "not being trusted" as a reason not to leave them home, then when will you ever start? I think you should let them test the waters for an hour, and if anyone is injured or anything is broken, then so is your trust. Make this clear to them that their actions will directly affect their freedom and that it is their choice to be treated like a baby or like a boy/girl their age. And carry it through.
That said, in general I would say 10 is a good place to start. They should have some independence and be able to follow written instructions with no problem.
In most states, I believe the law is 12 years, they can be left alone. Naturally, I guess that depends on how long you are talking as one poster already stated. I wasn't left alone until almost 14, and for short periods, of course, I was also a bit of a trouble maker, so my parents had reason to -not- leave me alone for extended lengths of time. My mom was also overprotective lol. I, personally, would not leave my kids alone until my daughter is at least 12 or 13. And even then I would not be gone for any length of time (say over 30 mins). Perhaps that is overprotectiveness, but in this day and age when a child can get snatched literally out of thier front or back yards.... theres no such thing as being overprotective anymore. I have neighbors whos kids are ages 8 and below roughly. They will have them watching the baby who appears no more than 2 years old to me. Tops. I wouldn't do this, it is unsafe having children watching children. They cant be guaranteed to keep an eye on each other at all times, they really cant. One of my nephews nearly drowned because he was left in the care of his brother at the pool in thier apt complex and the older sibling (11 at the time) got distracted by some friends and didnt see his sibling (who was 6 I believe) fall into the pool when he didnt have his life jacket or water wings on. Of course I will see this group of children playing around unsupervised without an adult in site out in front of the house or walking down the street even. It makes me sick to my stomach but I cant tell someone else how to raise thier kids.
I THINK IT DEPENDS ON THE MATURITY OF THE CHILD, DOES HE HAVE GOOD NEIGHBORS THAT WILL WATCH OUT FOR THEM WHILE YOU ARE GONE, THEY NEED A PHONE TO CALL YOU IF ANYTHING SHOULD HAPPEN. HOW LONG YOU ARE GONE. IF THEY ARE SCARED TO BE ALONE. YOU SHOULD TAKE ALL THIS IN TO CONSIDERATION. IF ALL IS GOOD I THINK FOR A SHORT TIME MAYBE TWO HOURS, GONE. THEY COULD BE 10, I CAN'T REALLY REMEMBER WHEN I LET MINE BE ALONE, BUT I KNOW I WOULD NOT LEAVE THEM UNLESS I REALLY FELT THEY COULD HANDLE IT. AND NOT ANSWER THE DOOR, FOR ANYONE, UNLESS I TOLD THEM IT IS OK. HOPE THAT HELPS., EVA
In the state of Florida there is no law for the required age to leave children home alone. However, there must be safety measures in place. Each child is different and the parent has to determine whether the child is mature enough to be left alone. Personally, I think 9 or 10 is old enough as long as there is access to an adult and the child understands and follows the "home alone " rules (don't answer the phone, don't answer the door, don't open the door, don't go outside, stay away from the windows, etc). There's a list of phone numbers on the wall next to the phone.Some numbers are already on speed dial. Set the alarm. Don't cook anything that requires the oven or stove top (microwave or toaster oven only) or leave easy prep foods for the child. Don't leave the child home alone during a storm or at night.
I'm intrigued to hear more about what parents experienced when they were young. In general we seem more cautious now. I grew up in the UK and at age 9 I was the last person out of the house in the morning and had to lock up the house and take the public bus to a school ~2 miles away (there wasn't a school bus option). I was also the first person back in the afternoon most days and was home alone for an hour or so. at age 7 I walked to school without adults (less than a mile at that time).
Right now I feel that on a good day I could leave my 7 yr old alone for an hour (not much longer) as long as the 4 yr old isnt around. Then there are days when i feel that wouldn't work - and besides it is illiegal in this state... Common sense should be applied and we know our kids best - but try to remember what we were allowed and even expected to do in our youths.
I would say depending on the child and how responsible they are I would start at the age of 13 with short intervals so I know they could handle it then slowly build up to say six hours but I do not feel it should be done at night or over night. Adults should be in the home with their children after 7pm. That is just my opinion on the matter.
I agree with most. Depends on childs matureity. I have 4 kids ranging in ages (11-4) anddue to a health issue, sometimes they have to basically be alone. Physically I am there but mentally I'm not. I have people on our block that know in an emergency my kids are told to come to them. Even at their bus stops I have set up homes they can go to. When I started middle school (11yr old) my dad had a pager and we set up a code system. When I got in from school I would call his pager and enter our phone number with a code saying I was home, or a friends number with a different code to say I was there. If an emergency was needed I would enter 911 with a phone number. I never leave my older 3 home longer than 10-15 minutes, but as they get older, the time will get longer. They know all important info to tell police, and because of my health, they know all my info except my social number. They have a paper with family/friends to contact if I have to go to the hospital.
I think each state has it's own bi-laws on this subject. At age 12 is when they can be home alone however I also think it has to do with how mature and trustworthy a child is.
It depends on how responsible your child is, or if the legal age is 12yrs, If you must do so I will recommend there be a contact person close to home in case of emergency, and train her or him not to open the doors to strangers when left alone. Some children you can trust and they are capably at age 9 or 10 but some are just not ready they need supervision ask a close friend or neighbours to keep an eye, who you can rely on.and trust with your children if its a girl be careful.I will not leave her alone with anyone but family and dear friends.
In New Zealand children can be home alone and babysit at 14 but if police feel they are likely to cause harm to themselves or others they can be taken into care for up to 5 days. Anything under 14 is not usually accepted.
I believe it depends on the maturity of the children and the circumstances. When my daughter was nine, she came home after school for about half an hour by herself; until her father got home. However, I know several nine year olds now, that I would never let them do that. And at night, I feel they should be at least 12 or 13.
Actually GA Law does not specify an age at which a child can be left alone. While DFAC's has a policy, it is not law and not legally binding. The only issue would arise if an incident happened and a child were injured. Then there could be an argument made for some sort of neglect.
If someone does not agree with my post then please provide the specific cite under GA Law which identifies the age at which a child can be left alone.
I would say about 10 is when they can stay home alone, but not for very long. It really depends on how mischevious your child can be when left alone at that age. Time of day would influence that decision. I would not let me 10 year old be home alone after dark for more than 20 minutes without someone watching out for them.
10-13 is the best time to leave your child home alone. Give them no emergency numbers but your cell phone they will be great on their own give the pizza money and see how responsible they are by asking what they spent it on. At 10 is the best time to leave them they can learn new things and you can see how responsible your child is. Ask your 10 year old what they did while you were gone, If they say things like: "I studied!" "I did the rest of my homework!" ask to see it if they are lying you know its not time to leave them at home they not responsible.
it all comes down to trust
As a responsible parent, it is not appropriate to leave our child home alone, especially if they can’t handle things on their own. Ages that was mentioned usually acts not quite mature enough to handle the situation when they’re alone. They’ll usually explore things that might lead them to harm themselves. And since I have kids under 11, and one is 14. There were times that I have left them home alone, but I made sure that I can still have an access of what’s been happening at their ends. I have registered their smartphones in an application that can enable them to summon for help whenever it needed. In addition, I can also locate the place wherever they are and have the ability to know if their location is safe. If situation needs a medical, fire or police assistance they can quickly reached 911 in our area with the help of the Call Center with complete information. This is the site where I found the link: http://safekidzone.com/
My son is 11 now, but has been left alone since he was 8. Obviously back when he was 8, it was only for like an hour or so. And has gradually increased since then. Over the summer while I was at work, he was home by himself for maybe 3-4 hours, sometimes more depending on who was home in the morning. I'd always come home for lunch and he enjoyed the time to himself in the afternoon. He's at that video game playing stage, so he barely noticed. lol. But, he does have a cell phone-- I got him one when he was 10, old enough to be responsible for it and that's when I started letting him come home from school by himself. We didn't have a house phone at the time, so the cell phone was incredibly important. (We had the house phone when I left him alone at 8 or 9 years old and only occasionally would he come home by himself after school). Now, I'm confident that he knows what to do in an emergency. We know the neighbors and he knows which ones are home when he's home alone. He also knows to call me and check in when he's walking from the bus to home. And then he knows to lock the door, don't answer the door (anyone who would come by that we're expecting would have his cell phone number and could call before hand or when they got there). We are on a first floor unit and he knows how to get out if there was a fire. He can use the microwave or the toaster, but not the oven yet. After this year, he will most likely be able to use the oven while I'm away since he's taking teen living and has shown interest in cooking with me. I use every opportunity as a learning experience, so when I'm doing something I always follow up with, "if I'm not home and you want to do this, make sure to ... "
I do believe it depends on your children and I felt I could trust my child that early to stay by himself and know what to do. He was definitely mature enough to look after himself, but I wouldn't let him watch any other children or have anyone else there with him. And he does not stay over night by himself, though I have left him for an hour while I ran out to get something while he was sleeping. I'm a little more apprehensive at night, but i knew he would be okay (and my sister lives just upstairs).
regardless of state laws, maturity levels,chronological age, etc. -something can go wrong and it will most likely happen when parents are gone. I am a stay-at-home mom, and have left my 'mature' kids home for a 20 minute trip to the grocery store and have come home to a kitchen disaster (I wanted to surprise you with cookies) so our rules are: no cooking, no company, no fun (horsing around), no phone unless to call me or 911, lock all doors, do not open them to anyone who does not have the password (and only people we implicitly trust know that), no food/drinks in any room but the dining room/kitchen, do not use the washer/ dryer. I know, pretty strict but we have adhered to these rules for 25 years. Also, we have grandparents/trusted friends check on them. We do not leave our kids alone overnight, they stay with grandparents. call me paranoid/overprotective/physco/etc... I don't mind. They're my kids and I love them and yes, you're right, I don't trust them. I was their age once!
The summer before middle school is when we started the process with both our boys. They would be home from school for a few hours each day before we got home from work & they had to be able to do their chores & homework. My older son was a mature 11.5 & handled it just fine. My younger son turned 11 during that summer & now, just shy of 13 still isn't thrilled with the prospect & I can still expect a few phone calls when he's alone. Fortunately, that's still rare, as his older brother is usually still around, but clearly - it depends on the kid. Cell phones make the whole thing A LOT easier.
Well, it depends on the child....However, I would check the laws of your state....In Massachusetts,it's 12 ...and you really don't want to get in any sort of trouble with your local Departmment of children and families...
Besides local laws about ages, it becomes highly variable. I know one very mature, solemn little elementary girl who would even keep her friends out of trouble because she is always thinking through the "what-ifs" and is naturally cautious. Yet her older sister could not be left alone even at 14 because she was so impulsive, always did whatever her friends said, etc. Yeah, it was really hard on the parents to always have the older one supervised... and they never had the older one babysit the younger one.
So, a lot has to do with the individual child (in addition to the state laws).