Need opinions! Is he old enough?

Kim - posted on 01/18/2011 ( 28 moms have responded )

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I want to know if my 10 year old son is old enough to stay at home alone for an hour with his 2 younger sisters while they are sleeping. My son is very mature for his age and knows how to take care of his sisters, although I would only leave him alone with them while they are napping or sleeping. He also knows not to answer the door or the telephone whle he's home alone. He also knows what to do in an emergency. What do you think?

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Amie - posted on 01/18/2011

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I have an 11 year old and a 3 year old. I live in a very nice area in a small town. However, I would never leave my 11 year old home by herself and even though she's very mature for her age that is way too young to babysit. So, in my opinion, the answer would be absolutely not. 10 year olds, however intelligent and mature for their age, are not close to the age where they can be entrusted to handle any emergency that may occur & definetly not babysit two youngsters.

Gwen - posted on 01/18/2011

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Unless it was to run to the post office, or down the street to pick something up at the neighbors..that sort of thing. I would not leave a 10 year old home alone w/ 2 younger siblings for more than 30 minutes and never at night.

Just a few weeks ago, we had a case of 4 kids home alone. The oldest was around 11 years old. They were trying to cook hot dogs and burned them. He threw them out in the garbage can, which caught on fire and burned the house down. The kids escaped without injury, but of course the child completely blames himself.

Renae - posted on 01/18/2011

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Two younger siblings is a lost of responsibility. Even though he knows what to do in an emergency, knowing what to do and actually acting appropriately in an emergency situation is something most adults struggle with. If something really went wrong, he couldn't be expected to remain calm and think clearly - again, most adults struggle to stay calm. Its your child and you know him best, but I personally think he is just a bit young, give it a couple more years.

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Kim - posted on 01/20/2011

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Thanks for all of your opinions! My son won't be staying home with his sisters although I will continue to allow him to stay home alone occasionally on his own. Where we live the legal age to stay home alone is 10 so he is allowed to stay alone up to 5 hours per the regulations on base. However, I've never left him that long...maybe an hour or two at most.

Tamara - posted on 01/20/2011

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i dont think you should leave him on his own with his younger siblings even though he is very mature, at that age we never know what will happen, if there is an emergency and he have to make the call what do you think is going to happen, the police will get called the next thing you know you have social services on your doorstep. but that's just my view.

Eileen - posted on 01/19/2011

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12 is the legal age to be left alone. I would agree that home alone without sibs would probably be OK but not with sibs. I have three kids, btw, 23, 21 and 15

Kim - posted on 01/19/2011

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No, I was just saying I haven't left him alone. I also started babysitting when I was young. I was 10 and babysitting a 6 week old, 2 yr old and a 5yr old. I watched them so much that the first time the baby said mama it was to me. I didn't mean to seem short. I wasn't actually done typing but one of the kids hit the post button while I was retrieving a sippy cup. Thanks for your imput!

Alejandra - posted on 01/19/2011

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In Illinois 12 is the legal age. Although he knows what to do, if an emergency occurs where he has to call 911 parents would be in big trouble.

Janine - posted on 01/19/2011

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hi soz if you took my note the wrong way jsut wanted to let you know the age , i used to babysit from the age of 11, i was like you son was very responsible for my age , but these days they are more strict .

Janine - posted on 01/19/2011

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they have to be 14 before they can look after younger siblings but if anything god forbid was to happen to them you are held responsible .

Kim - posted on 01/18/2011

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Where we live my son is allowed to stay home alone at the age of 10. He has stayed home alone occasionally since turning ten, but it has never been for any longer than an hour or so. He has always been fine and he knows the rules about being alone. He is not allowed to cook anything, but is allowed to snack.

Kristy - posted on 01/18/2011

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i think you can get in trouble for leaving him alone under 12. i also am of the opinion that it doesnt matter how mature he is children should not be left in charge of other children until they are a the least 14

Kim - posted on 01/18/2011

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Thanks for all of your responses! They were very helpful. I'll try and find a babysitter that lives on base near us.

Tiffany - posted on 01/18/2011

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i think it depends on how long you going to be gone and how the other kids react to him. i did it and i have five boys and it was a similar situation i left the older three and took the two lil ones. so its no one answer for that i dont think

Shelley - posted on 01/18/2011

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No I would never leave my 11 yr old to look after my 3.½ thats too much responsibility for me to lay upon him.

Rebecca - posted on 01/18/2011

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I let my 11 year old daughter babysit my 4 year old son she does a great job makes sure he eats supper and gets to bed on time where I live it is up to the parents to decide if their children are responsible enough but you have to be 12 to babysit for someone else maybe give it a trial run and see how it goes

Sherri - posted on 01/18/2011

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I started leaving my kids at 10 for short jaunts to the grocery store etc. but literally it is across the street. However, I would never leave them with younger siblings, that is far to young for such a huge responsibility.

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I have a nine year old and a four year old son and I would have to say no. He is just not big enough to handle any situation... like carrying his sisters out of a burning house, etc. No. Get a sitter for the hour for 10 bucks. You just never know what could happen. If something happens you will wish you had payed the 10 bucks.

Louise - posted on 01/18/2011

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Would you be comfortable letting your ten year old babysit someone elses younger kids? If not...then no. Did daycare in my home for many years. Haven't met a ten year old yet that I would have left home alone for more that 5 minutes, let alone with other children. Too much can happen in a matter of seconds.

Bonnie - posted on 01/18/2011

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I don't think I would even be comfortable with a 10 year old being home alone with or without siblings. I would personally wait til 12 or 13 and reconsider. It is up to you though. You know your son best.

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I have two 9 year olds and an almost 3 year old. I MIGHT be leaving the 9 year olds briefly when they are 10 (still got a year to figure that one out), but will not leave them w/ their brother at that age. They are quite responsible and GREAT w/ him, but it's not worth the risk IMO.

Judith - posted on 01/18/2011

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I know in MD it would not be allowed. You have to be 13 to be responsible for younger siblings.

Lissa - posted on 01/18/2011

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I wouldn't, anything could happen and can you imagine how your eldest would feel if one of his siblings got hurt? If they were sick he wouldn't know what to do, how can a 10 year old judge if they are really ill? If one woke up as children do and fell how is a 10 year old supposed to know if they are really hurt or it's just a bump? I am not trying to be judgemental but I am thinking of all the things that have happened to mine when they were asleep then woke up. I have had two fall down the stairs (one sleepwalking the other just tired and misjudging the step) more than once they have gone to bed fine then woke up being sick. One had an allergic reaction to something and was fine going to bed but when I went to check on him his breathing was erratic and we had to take him to the hospital.
At the end of the day he is not their parent or a responsible adult this kind of responsibility should not be on his shoulders.

Jodi - posted on 01/18/2011

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You didn't mention how old the younger ones were, but I wouldn't do it. Kids that age may be responsible, but when they also have to be responsible for someone else, it's a big ask. And definitely not at night. I wouldn't actually leave a 10 year old on their own at night, with or without his sisters in the house. A 10 year old just shouldn't be alone at night (not saying that is what you are suggesting, just saying).

Kate CP - posted on 01/18/2011

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I honestly have no idea...I have a 4 year old and one on the way so leaving kids home alone is so far from my mind that I've never looked into it. :)

Kate CP - posted on 01/18/2011

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Maybe if it was just him but since there would be two younger siblings there I would have to go with no.

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