Staying home at 8?

Valerie - posted on 09/20/2010 ( 201 moms have responded )

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Hello I am a single mother with an 8 year old I am wondering if 8 is to young to leave a child at home in the morning. I want to go to the gym at 5AM and be home by 6:15AM. She would still be asleep and I would be home to get her ready for school. I just do not know if that is the right or wrong thing to go. Like I said before she would be asleep and only be home for an hour/fifteen alone. The house would be locked up and I do not see much that could happen. Can I please get some advice? Thank you all.

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Michelle - posted on 09/26/2010

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you are crazy if you leave your 8 year old alone at home. what if there were an accidental fire? unfit parenting?... i would never forgive myself. Maybe I'm an over protective mother, but I don't even leave my 12 year old alone at home.

Penny - posted on 09/25/2010

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Never leave a young child at home alone. What if there was fire or a break in? Here in New Zealand the legal age is 13. If you leave a child alone under that age you would be prosecuted. Choose a different time to go to the gym or find a baby sitter. Sometimes as parents we need to take the safest options for the best interest of our children. How awful if she woke and found you gone. Or if you got stuck in traffic or had an accident. If you had a kind neighbour whom you trust to watch out for her that would be fine. . . . a long as they have a key to get into the house to rescue her if need be. Children are too precious to take risks with even the seemingly more mature ones.
Play it safe and change your routine. Drop her off at a friend's house or the Grandma's but don't leave her home alone.

Hollie - posted on 09/25/2010

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I have debated this issue too, but honestly what would happen if there was a fire while you were gone & she was sleeping? Just food for thought....

Maryanne - posted on 09/25/2010

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Who is close enough to help her with an emergency like fire, earthquake, stranger intrusion, unexpected illness while you are away?

Dorothy - posted on 09/25/2010

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Too young, too many crazies in the world. You hear of children being snatched from their rooms with their parents right there in the house. No, I would in no circumstance leave her alone. Too may other things can go wrong too.

Amie - posted on 09/25/2010

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I think it is way too young. Im sorry but with all the freaks out there these days, i do not think children should be left at home at all. She isnt even a teenager and surely an 8 year old couldnt handle situations appropriately. It takes one weirdo, one second to do something stupid and you'll rep the concequences your whole life. I dont want to sound like a over protective mother but you cant trust people these days and i think you definately cant trust an 8 year old child, even if its for only an hour.

Im sorry but surely the gym isnt that important and dont they have a creche?

Meilan - posted on 09/25/2010

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I don't see a problem if you're daughter is mature enough. When I was that age, me and my brother (2y younger) would stay home alone quite often. My mum works as a nurse, so she would have to leave early or come home late. She found me capable of doing a good job.

Now, if my brother was the older one, she wouldn't have done it. Because at that age, he just wasn't as mature as I was. So it really depends on the child.

Rosy - posted on 09/25/2010

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I'd definitely recommend against it. For one, I pretty certain it's against the law. I believe they have to be 12, so you could get in some serious trouble if found out. But more importantly, life changes in a fraction of a second . . . there could be fire or she wakes up suddenly with a nightmare, tries to find you and can't . . . can you imagine? Even if the doors are locked, most 8 years can open them.

Danyell - posted on 09/24/2010

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8 years old is a lil young but Krista gave you great advice about it.

I wouldn't leave my kids (ages 9 - 13) alone at night. My parents lives next door. I have heard of to many kids died in fires cause the parents left them home alone for a lil while.

Diane - posted on 09/24/2010

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I would advise against it, especially since she will sleeping. The reason I say this is because if anyone were to find out your routine, even though the house is locked, they would be able to come in and since she's asleep she may not even hear anyone come in until it's too late. As scary as people think night time is most rapes occur in the early morning hours. I'm not trying to scare you but it's important to be aware of the risks. Is there someone you trust who lives close by that could sit with her? Or could you go at a different time? Do you have a protective dog?

Isobel - posted on 09/24/2010

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Maybe you should discuss this with your daughter...I personally think my daughter (9) could handle waking up and making herself breakfast and watching cartoons (she does it when I sleep in on the weekends)...but I've talked to her and found out that SHE'S not comfortable with it...maybe that's something that should be looked into as well.

Debra - posted on 09/24/2010

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Oregon Law states a child has to be 10 years old to stay home alone. That does not mean every 10 year old can safely stay home alone. You have to assess each individual child. Number one question is are they afraid to be alone? From there you need to make sure they know what to do in the case of an emerrgnecy such as a fire and do they have access to a phone? emergency numbers etc. I agree with the rest of the people make sure and check the law in your state. I would check and see if there is a young college student who might be available to stay the night to be there in the morning. Good luck it is always tough when you are a single parent!

Jo - posted on 09/24/2010

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Too young! If there were an emergency that is one thing but to go to the gym? no way....

Sherelle - posted on 09/24/2010

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I would go for it. The 'perfect' mothers would frown on it. My 7 year old stays home for about 1 hour alone occassionally and except for saying she's bored she's perfectly safe. She is also a good kid who knows my mobile and her dad's and knows not to answer the door. We do live next door to family as well but she is still alone in the house. if your child is a good kid and won't try to cook up a storm or anything I think 8 years old is a old enough to have some responsibility. they should be able to make their own breakfast and turn on the tv without blowing it up! Take the time at the crack of dawn. It may be the only time you get to yourself all day.

Meghan - posted on 09/24/2010

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ps if your mom and dad are close why dont you ask them to come over while you go

Meghan - posted on 09/24/2010

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i leave my 12 year old home when i go to the store sometimes but i have a 1 year old leave her with him only when i have to run to store for couple things their dad is usually home but he works over night when i was young my grandma was next door we could stay home alone by 9 but gram was next door

Kim - posted on 09/24/2010

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In my state you cant leave your kids till they are twelve so check and see if the gym has a childrens play room or something and go at night and shell have a place to play while you work out.

Theresa - posted on 09/24/2010

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It is not legal to leave your child alone until they are 10. You could get in trouble with social services and have your daughter taken away from you due to neglect. Don't do it. You said Grandma and Grandpa live just a block away. Would they be willing to stay with her or have her go to their house while you go workout, it may have to be in the evening instead of morning though.

Kim - posted on 09/24/2010

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I would not do it if a neighbor found out and turned you in or something they could cause you all kinds of issues. can you go at night to the gym and do they have a play room or something she could play in while you work out just a suggestion

Krista - posted on 09/24/2010

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Valerie, one other option that you could look at would be to buy a piece of home exercise equipment, if you have room for it. In the long run, it'll actually be much cheaper than a gym membership anyway. That way, you can still get up and work out at 5am if you want, but you'd be home in case anything happens. If you don't have room for a treadmill or an elliptical trainer (my favourite), then you could even get some good workout DVDs. One that i've tried that I really like is "Kickboxing for Dummies". If nothing else, it'll tide you over until she's older and you feel more comfortable leaving her alone.

Becca - posted on 09/24/2010

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No , what if she were to wake up and find herself alone.It only takes a moment for something to happen including fire ,burglary ,and many other things.For your sake and hers get a work out vidio for at home

Deb - posted on 09/24/2010

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i have a 9 year old daughter & i wouldn't leave her at home by herself, can she go to the gym with you at a different time?? i'm sure she could occupy herself with music or reading for an hour while she waits??

Nikki - posted on 09/23/2010

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i personally think 8 is too young to be left home alone> I couldnt risk it, if something were to happen , how could she defend herself , say there was a fire or a breakin and you say shes a sound sleeper. What if she needs you for something... I guess Im a lil more protective and I have a little boy and I think perhaps at 12 I could leave him. Is it imperative you go to the gym at 5am, you said your parents live near by , can they not watch her later on so you can go. Or perhaps you could find a workout routine you can do in the home??

Rose - posted on 09/23/2010

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I think 8 years old is too young to be left alone. Although you may trust your daughter, you can't always trust the people around you. If someone knows your daughter is home alone it could be dangerous! Yes, I know I watch too much FBI files. I suggest you buy a treadmill or the Wii fit and just exercise at home in the morning. And it will probably be less expensive in the long run. Your daughter's safety should always come first :)

[deleted account]

First, I think that is a little too long to leave an 8 year old. Yes she might be asleep but how many kids do you hear about getting snatched out of their beds. It wld be different if it was for just a few minutes.

Second, I agree with Cheyenne. I think maybe you should test her. The gas station is one block from my house so I decided to let my 8 yr old to stay home while I ran to get gas for the lawnmower. I took my 5 yr old with me. I gave her all the instructions before I left. Don't answer the door, don't answer the phone, if someone comes to the door don't even look out the window. I left and pulled right up the road. Walked back to the house and knocked on the door. She immediately came and opened it. That told me she is not old enough to stay home and I have never considered leaving her since. When I asked her why she opened the door after I told her not to she said she just forgot. So, needless to say she went with me to get the gas!!

Valerie - posted on 09/22/2010

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I appreciate every all the positive impute the reason why I asked was because I was torn I have heard yes and no just wanted to see what other mothers would or would not do. I have not yet done it (probably won’t) and was just trying to think a good way to balance life. Thanks!

Megan - posted on 09/22/2010

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So I am from the tail end of the age group where mom's were commonly working but daycare's were not super common yet and I remember many of my friends being "latchkey kids". It was varied as to the ages that they were allowed to stay home alone, I knew 1st graders who had to go home alone for 3 hours or so. But my own mother never left me alone till I was about 10. I guess its a guage of responsibility. You might want to sit down with your daughter and talk to her about it and see if she is comfortable with the idea of waking up and nobody being home. But before you do that, look up the laws in your area, I know here its very ambiguous and pretty much states if something happens, they were not old enough to handle it and it was your fault as a parent (as if you blaming yourself isnt enough, they get legal about it).

Emma - posted on 09/22/2010

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think its 2 young my self and would not leave my daughter alone but hay every1 is different so do what u feel best with :-)

Cheyenne - posted on 09/21/2010

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if it was me i would do a couple trail runs. act as if ur going to the gym but stay home. stay in the house and just observe. if she happens to wake up see what she does and if u feel like she can handle herself for an hour then go to the gym. or you can sit down with her and tell her ur going to wake her up in the morning and go to the gym, and agian(ur going to stay home) see if she can take care of herself when she is awake. my nice is 6 and her parents are lazy and sleeps in, so she watches tv and waits until her parents wake up to feed her. hope this helps

Dawn - posted on 09/21/2010

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Krista said it best...she let you know to look into the law of your area, and to access your childs maturity. The fact that you have your parents close by is a strong plus if you feel she is ready for the responsibilty.

She-Ra rocked!! I hated Barbie, but had every She-Ra action figure!!

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I personally think it's too young. Your daughter may be mature, a sound sleeper, and you may have neighbors/granpdarents close by. BUT, ultimately, your daughter is ALONE. What if she wakes up with a nightmare and simply wants her Mommy? Mommy isn't there. I know this is going to sound selfish, but just because YOU want to go to the gym at 5 am, doesn't mean it's the best for your child. Consider going to the gym at a different time, or invest in home exercise equipment. But hey, at the end of the day, you are the parent and you get to make the decisions.

Angie - posted on 09/21/2010

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I see so many comments on the legality of leaving your child home alone but only 2 on the wisdom of leaving her. Like I said on the other board where you posted this. I think it is not wise to do this since she would not be able to help herself in case of fire, break in, accident....

Louise - posted on 09/21/2010

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I hear what you are saying but in the event of an accident your daughter is not mature enough to look after herself. I think you will find that social services will be sitting on your door step when they find out. I don't think it is worth the risk. I know in England it is against the law to leave your child alone under the age of 14 even though people do. Personally I think 14 is a bit old and I was happy to leave my sons at home by 11/12.

TIFFANY - posted on 09/21/2010

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WELL IF IT WAS ME I PROBABLY WOULDNT LEAVE HER ALONE AT HOME. I UNDERSTAND THAT SHE MAY BE SLEEP BUT ITS SO MUCH GOING ON IN THIS WORLD TODAY AND PEOPLE THESE DAYS ARE SO CRAZY. SO PLEASE DONT LEAVE THE BABY HOME ALONE. I WOULD HATE FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN TO YOUR CHILD .

Sherri - posted on 09/20/2010

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Check the laws in your state. It would be against the law here where I live. Personally I think you are insane to even consider it but it is your daughter.

Lyndsay - posted on 09/20/2010

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I know that where I live it is illegal to leave a child under 12 alone for any period of time, ever. I also think this would be highly irresponsible on your part... what if there was an emergency, like an electrical fire (which happens spontaneously) and you weren't there? What if she wakes up and realizes you're gone, and waits in terror for you to return?

Firebird - posted on 09/20/2010

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She-Ra was awesome! lol I used to get home with my 6 year old brother about an hour earlier than my sister came in at about that age too. Both my parent's would be at work most days after school, so it was just us. Even when I was 8 my sister was only 10. And that was in the early 90s.It depends on the laws and if your child can handle it. Make sure, like Krista said, to have a plan in case of emergency.

Iridescent - posted on 09/20/2010

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Where I am there is no legal age, you can leave your child home alone at any age "if you think they are capable". That said, I don't feel it's safe until at least 10; we never even just ran across the street without our kids, within sight of the house, until that age. So check your laws.

Lindsay - posted on 09/20/2010

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Where I am a child has to be 12 years old before they can legally be left alone.

Julie - posted on 09/20/2010

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My mom use to leave us while she went to play to tennis when we were that young. There were theses cinnamon donuts that you would bake in the oven and I would smell them cooking and know that she was leaving for tennis...sure enough when would get out of bed there they would be on the breakfast table. by the time we finished them and watched cartoons she would be home...what can I say it was the 70s
more recently my friend would leave her 8 year old alone with her 6 year old at night routinely while she runs to the store never knowing if it will be an hour or two!!! and I think that is toooooo young for that kind of leaving.

[deleted account]

I am also a single mom. My twins will be 9 in December and I have never left them home yet. I've contemplated it a couple of times when one has been sick and I've needed to drop the other off somewhere (would be gone 30 minutes MAX), but since I can't guarantee that nothing would happen to delay my return home... I won't do it and won't seriously consider it for at least another year.

Krista - posted on 09/20/2010

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That's why I asked about neighbours and whatnot. I guess I speak of this from experience. When I was precisely that age, I used to get home from school one hour before my older sister did, and two hours before my mom. I was a pretty reliable kid, so Mom gave me my own key. I'd get home after school, pour myself a glass of milk and maybe make a small snack, and go watch She-Ra. By the time I was 9, I was able to throw a roast in the oven and peel a few carrots for Mom, in order to get a good head start on supper. We had next-door neighbours who kept an ear out, and it all worked very well.



Like I said, obviously, you want to make sure you won't be breaking any laws. But if it's legal, then it's really up to whether or not you think your daughter can handle it.

JuLeah - posted on 09/20/2010

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I wouldn't. Check the laws in your state, some are real clear about when a child can be left. What if you get caught in traffic? What is there is a problem at home?
I would not be able to work out for thinking about her

Alison - posted on 09/20/2010

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Seems too young to me, but Krista's advice is great. I totally understand the challenges of being a part-time mom and your need to have time to yourself.

You definitely need to talk to your daughter about it - she needs to know where you are and what she should do if something goes wrong.

Valerie - posted on 09/20/2010

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my mother and father live about a block away and the gym is about 5 minutes. She is a pretty hard sleeper and does not wake for much. Thank you for the great ideas!

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