At what age is it acceptable to leave your child home alone?

Tracy - posted on 10/13/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Hi, any suggestions as to when it is acceptable to leave their child at home alone? I'm really only talking about half an hour at the most if I have to duck out to pick up something. I'm just not sure, I used to be left home for an hour or so just after school until my mum got home from work and it didn't really worry me

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Chaya - posted on 02/09/2013

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I would leave a non disabled kid home alone at age 8 for no more than an hour or two. I wasn't real comfortable leaving her alone at age 12 even though I'd broken my foot and needed to go to the emergency department.
It depends on the child and the circumstances. I think my daughter would have been fine to leave alone at the time of my fracture, but I was able to locate a friend with children of similar ages.
You may need to look into state/ country laws reguarding this.

Barbara - posted on 10/23/2012

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Yes it does matter how the child feels about being alone. Some kids are fine by the time they reach 10 years old but I will not leave them alone until they are more like 12. I will have a good neighbor looking out for them and you must make sure they are aware what to do in case of a fire, or a bugular or even a stranger coming to the door. Too many abduction occur in today's world.

Tracy - posted on 10/13/2012

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Thanks girls, my daughter is now 9 and is happy to be left home alone for a few minutes when I pick up her brother from daycare however she is now too old to go to 'crèche' when I go to the gym during school holidays and wasn't really sure on what other options I had. Thanks for your help!

Dove - posted on 10/13/2012

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Depends on the child and the law in your area. In states that have a law... it is 12 for the most part, but could be as young as 8 or as old as 14. Many states don't HAVE a law... I don't have a clue on the law outside the US.



I was home alone for hours at a time on a regular basis by the age of 9. My oldest is 11 and has only been home a handful of times (longest was 2.5 hours... all other times were about 20 minutes to an hour) in the past year and a half.



I'm not a big fan of leaving kids alone for long periods of time at ANY age cuz while they may be more capable of caring for themselves as they get older.... they can also get into 'other' types of trouble. However, as long as you are following the law, trust your child's maturity/responsibility level (and you both have a back up plan), and your child is comfortable with the idea... leaving them alone on occasion for short periods of time CAN be a good thing in the process of growing up.

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it depends on the child i was left alone with my brother fro when i was 8. we were alone for 2-3 hours at a time during the school year and all day during the summer. i personally wouldn't lave my kid alone for half an hour until tey were 8 or 9

Elfrieda - posted on 10/13/2012

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I think it depends on the child and how he or she feels. There should always some preparation and a back-up plan, like a neighbour or grandma who lives nearby. Also if there are more than one, if the older one can be trusted to be responsible and the younger one can be trusted to not cause trouble.



My sister and I were left alone occasionally (grocery trips or when my parents would drive someone to the airport, etc) for an hour or more when we were 5 and 8 and we were very smug about it, but my nieces are 7 and 8 and are terrified by the thought. (once there was a mix-up, the bus came home early and their mom was 20 minutes late, so they called dad on the cell but he was in a meeting and the back-up neighbour wasn't home and they were scared to be in the house alone and so they called the police! I'm not sure if the "stay at home safely" course that the older one took was actually beneficial or whether it just worried her to the point of silliness.)

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