What age do you think is safe for children to stay home alone!

Emily - posted on 08/27/2009 ( 61 moms have responded )

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I am asking this question because I'm having a really hard time with the thought of an eleven year old boy staying home by himself for almost 3 hours.

When a child gets out of elementary school the school board no longer excepts child care as an excuse for being in a different school. My husband and I both have nothing against either school we are just trying to make sure our child stays happy and safe. I refuse to leave an eleven year old child home alone for hours at a time. To be very honest we do not leave him home alone at all. I think there should laws stating that children under a certain age should not be left home alone. Here in VA there is no law stating an age limit but a child can not watch over another child until 12 or 13. Yes I know that some children do seem to be more morture than others, but why make them have to grow up so fast. What happens if there is an emergency I dont feel that they need that kind of responsiblity at such an early age.

Ok I'm ready for some of the other mothers out there to give me your OPINIONS!

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Lana - posted on 02/19/2013

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Call me over protective, but my daughter won't be staying home alone until shes 15. Too dangerous out here these days. lol.

Charlotte - posted on 09/03/2009

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My first one who is now 20 did good at 11. I'm trying the same with the second. So far , so good.

Trishabenz - posted on 11/25/2011

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My daughter is almost 8, and this year we've started leaving her home very occasionally for no longer than an hour, usually less. She's really capable, feels fine about it and is naturally a cautious child. However, I did make a research on the internet on how I could better protect her especially when I am not with her. I found an article by anationofmoms about a service that can protect your family via your cell phone. And, at the bottom there is an opportunity to enter a drawing for 6 months of that service just by liking them on Facebook. You might find it interesting: http://anationofmoms.com/2011/08/protect...

Elisa - posted on 09/02/2009

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There's a website that can give you a legal age, if there is one for the state

http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-ki...

I also agree that it depends on the child. I have a 8 year old child that I've only left once to the grocery store for a couple items.... I was gone maybe maybe 15 minutes and she stayed on the phone with me pretty much the whole time.

Good luck!

Kathy - posted on 09/02/2009

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I dont think a child should stay home alone at all until they are at least 14 years old. You never know what can happen. Adults are home by themselves and burglars will break in or there could be a fire. You watch all these terrible things on the news about bad stuff happening to children. If you're not ready to make a full commitment to someone else's well being and safety, you should not have a child. Get a nice dog instead.

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Maggie - posted on 02/04/2013

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TTeach him to call 911 for an emergency. Leave him a number for you or Hubby for non emergency. Teach him to lock the door and not answer/open it for anyone. Get to know the neighbors so that if he needs something he can go to them. Also, if they see something auspicious they can check on him or call you. Have a snack ready for him and he can sit and do homework or play until you get home. At that age we got home and started dinner so it would be ready when mom got home. He will be just fine.

Monique - posted on 08/26/2012

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I'd definitely say it depends on the maturity level of the child. I stayed home when I was 8. When my oldest was 8, she was nowhere near ready. I believe between 12-13 is a typical age, yet it still depends highly on their level of maturity.

Valerie - posted on 07/17/2012

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I let my eleven year old stay home alone as long as long it's under an hour and she's very responsible with my seven year old son and four year old daughter. I will let her stay home alone for more than an hour when she's 13-14.

Eliana - posted on 09/02/2009

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It really depends on the child. My son is 10 and we have been practicing the "home alone" for a few months, so that he can be ready and comfortable. Daycare will no longer accept him after school after the age of 12. The practice allows both him and I to feel comfortable with the prospect of longer times. I started by leaving him alone for 10 minutes, then 20 minutes, 1/2 hour etc and only when I was close enough that I could be home in 5 minutes. At 1st he was afraid, but has gotten very comfortable since then. He know my cell phone by heart and knows all the rules. He has been great so far! It really is up to you. I stayed home alone when I was 6, but would never consider that for my 6 yr old.

Melissa - posted on 09/02/2009

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I agree, it is very hard to let them go. We never had the benefit of having close family or parents around while we were raising our kids and working full time. We were lucky, I guess, that we always worked different shifts, so one of us was usually home with the kids, still are. My oldest has always been responsible and I never felt afraid to let him stay at home alone for an hour or two when he was around 12. He watched his brother for a few hours at a time when he turned 13, his brother is two years younger. Now that they are 13 and 15 I can't leave them together in the same room! LOL, they fight more now than they ever did! Your best judgement is all you can rely on. I have heard stories about parents taking vacation, overseas, and leaving their 16 year old or younger at home alone, NUTS to that!

Lorrie - posted on 09/02/2009

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I think it depends on the child, all the circumstances and there maturity.
My daughter has gone home and stayed after school since 10. We do have a large dog, which gives me a sense of security and Grandparents about 1 to 1.5 miles away.
She calls when she gets home. Had rules not to let anyone in.
If she was running late getting home from school she called us.

I am very lucky that my daughter is so responsible, but it is just something you need to determine on your own. Try it out when you going grocery shopping and see how it works and if he does good then leave him home more often. The hardest part of being a parent is letting are children grow and showing them we believe in them.
Good luck.

April - posted on 09/01/2009

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I think 3 grade for a little while after school. Make sure there is a back up plan if they loose their key and get locked out of the house. Or the power goes out and the garage door won't open if the school lets out because of a snow storm. I would put a house key in one of the box's that you can use under you car and would attach it to the back of the air conditioner. (Let them stick it there or they will forget) I would tell them they could not use the oven or the stove only the microwave.

KAREN - posted on 09/01/2009

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Over here in the UK the suggested age to be at home alone is 13. We have a 10 yr old boy who also wants to be allowed t6o stay at home. The risks are too high. Hope this helps. x

Jeanette - posted on 09/01/2009

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I  believe that it all depends on the maturity level of your child and that only you can be the judge of that.  This can be a very stressful issue, some kids are ready at 11 to be left home alone and others are. You need to start your child off slow leave them at home for short periods of time to see how they handle it . What every your descison is your child should have guildlines while they are at home alone . For example they should never tell anyone that no one is home with them, once home lock the doors as well you could have a trusted neighbour look in on them as make sure that they have some way to contact you or you them. 


 

Nancy - posted on 09/01/2009

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Now day it really hard to want any child left at home for the reports in news. But I thinking some times based on the maturity of the child I found when my oldest got a 10 years old that she had troble staying at any baby sister she get mad at them and walk home. so we started let her stay home was better for she did not caused troble at home infact she help do thing around the home. She was great kid and could be trusted. Some time you have to weigh the pro on con before letting stay just for an hour two at time then longer as they prove them self. Just remember to put the safty of that child above the want of the child even it their to prove them self that they can be trusted.

Emily - posted on 08/31/2009

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Quoting ana:

Hi! Im new to cirlcle of moms and i see why i love it already. here's my opinion:

every state is different with this sort of law. in nj children are allowed to walk home at 3rd grade but they are not allowed to be home alone until they are 12 for a certain amount of time. i think the law also states that a 12 year old is not responsible enough to watch another child, like a sibling or babysit.

i stayed home all the time and walked across the city to see friends starting at 9 but this was before "the world was no longer visibly safe for kids". my children are 9 and 4 and a half....i can't see my 9 being home anytime soon. i work 3 blocks from his school but don't think he is able to cross the busy high school driver filled street to get to me so he takes the but.

I have my kids bused to a sitter's house, do yo have that option? can the school bus them somewhere, a baby sitter, friend, family, neighbor? I know it's hard, i have to leave work to pick up my pre-k son and take him to a sitter. i loose financially by taking time off and paying someone, but it's worth it to me that they are safe, they'll just have to understand when we're short on funds they can't have everything. maybe yoru job is willing to help in some ways, change your lunch break to take them to a friends house.

hope some of the suggestions help or at least give you some ideas. it seems that you are clear in not wanting them to stay home but every child is different and only you can decided if he's ready or not.



We are out of the school district that we wanted him to go to because he grew up in a different school then he was suppose to. See I am his step mom but he has lived with us going on three years fulltime. His birth mother lived in one school district and we lived in another. I had to contact the school board every year to keep him in the school he grew up in. We felt that he had gone through enough with his mom moving away and she giving him to us. We were and still are trying to create a stable enviroment. We have managed to convince the school board that he needs to stay with the children he has grown up with all his life. He's a good kid but we have had a little hard time with his attitude and ADD issues. With the help of a therapist and medicine things are getting better. I work for my father inlaw so I will be available to take him and pick him up from school.

Emily - posted on 08/31/2009

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Quoting Tina:

Well my Son is 11 (just turned it in June) and I had a hard time with the decision to leave him alone for a few hours in the morning when I went to work. His Dad comes home from work by 8:00 am most mornings so there was a certain comfort in knowing he was only alone for 2-3 hours. He always followed all the rules and called quite alot. I still feel a little anxious but I don't have a choice. I can't afford daycare. And now that he is back to school. his school does not povide a school bus for him because I volunteered to transfer him to a better school rather than have go the bad school up the street. So he has to ride one RTA bus (the city bus) by himself to and from school. THAT makes me nervous! But I got him a cell phone and he keeps in contact with me. He knows not to talk to anyone but the bus driver and to sit up front as close to the bus driver as he can. Thankfully that route at that time barely has anyone on it. Lucky for me he is a very intelligent and mature child/young man. No matter what your decision, the worry never stops. And it shouldn't. Good luck on making a decision on this one. Whatever it is, it's the right for you.



I know thats almost the exact situation we were faced with. Thanks for you response. I do work for my father inlaw so I can get him to school and pick him up. I already pay child care for our infant so it would be pricey for both boys.

Emily - posted on 08/31/2009

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To answer your question Jeanne he thinks he can handle anything LOL! Drew knows no fear and that kinda scares me. We have got excepted to the school we wanted so no more worries. I guess my main concern or problem is that the school system can decide when our children should be left at home alone. If they do not except child care as an excuse we cant get them into a school where your child care provider lives. Everything has a price I guess we all have to stand up for what we believe in!

Jeanne - posted on 08/31/2009

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Have you talked this over with your son? How does he feel? If he doesn't feel comfortable then he's not ready even if he's intelligent, reliable and self-sufficient. But if he's all that and feels okay with being by himself, talk about a time limit. It could be that he feels okay with 1 or even 2 hours but 3 hours is too long - which would still be a problem in your situation.

My sister's children hated being home without a parent at that age. So, my sister never left them alone at home until they were 13 or 14.

When I talked with my 11 year old daughter, we decided that she could spend about an hour by herself alone (we worked up to it - starting from 15 minutes, then 1/2 hour, then 40 minutes, then one hour). But this summer, I left her home by herself while I took her brother (she's wayyyy toooo young to watch over her 6 year old brother) to camp. When I left, she would walk to the neighborhood pool to dive practice. Then, she would come back, change her clothes and bike to her friend's house for the day. So, while she was rarely by herself, she had to take care of herself getting from one place to another. I would call and check up on her. It worked out pretty well but I can't say I liked the situation.

Tina - posted on 08/31/2009

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Well my Son is 11 (just turned it in June) and I had a hard time with the decision to leave him alone for a few hours in the morning when I went to work. His Dad comes home from work by 8:00 am most mornings so there was a certain comfort in knowing he was only alone for 2-3 hours. He always followed all the rules and called quite alot. I still feel a little anxious but I don't have a choice. I can't afford daycare. And now that he is back to school. his school does not povide a school bus for him because I volunteered to transfer him to a better school rather than have go the bad school up the street. So he has to ride one RTA bus (the city bus) by himself to and from school. THAT makes me nervous! But I got him a cell phone and he keeps in contact with me. He knows not to talk to anyone but the bus driver and to sit up front as close to the bus driver as he can. Thankfully that route at that time barely has anyone on it. Lucky for me he is a very intelligent and mature child/young man. No matter what your decision, the worry never stops. And it shouldn't. Good luck on making a decision on this one. Whatever it is, it's the right for you.

LL - posted on 08/31/2009

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Best thing to do is first and foremost check with your local DHS (Dept of Human Services) to find out what the legal age is for your state of residency. Second, evaluate the child's maturity and responsibility levels. Good luck! (As far as the 11-year-old, I wouldn't leave mine alone)

Alicia - posted on 08/30/2009

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I do agree with most of what you say. However I have a 9 1/2 year old son whom has always been very mature for his age (acts 12-13 now). I agree that it depends on the kid and you have to make sure they know what to do if there is an emergency. I know my son knows exactly what to do, (and he has had to before).

Rhonda - posted on 08/30/2009

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You have recieved a lot of good advice. It's really not an age, but a maturity level and understanding of safety that you need to consider. If you have a child that has behavioral problems, and can't follow directions anywhere. It's not a good idea to leave them at home unattended for any amount of time. If they will cook and tore up things when instructed not too, then not a good idea. If they don't know what to do in a emergency situation (i.e. window broken on the house and they know your not home, door open and they know your not home.) , don't leave them home. The age will be different for every child. I agree with the trial run to see how it goes. But always stay prayful, and call to check on them.

Cidalia - posted on 08/30/2009

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It really does depend on the child. There is nothing wrong with giving a child more responsibility if they are mature enough to handle it. If anything, society is becoming messed up because, on the one hand, parents allow their kids to grow up too fast in matters of sexuality (what they watch/listen to, who they hang out with, what they wear) but won't allow them to grow up in a way that's empowering ... like taking on responsibility, doing chores, learning how to handle themselves alone and how to handle an emergency.



I was probably given too much responsibility too soon (I would be home alone with younger siblings since the age of 7 because we were poor, and my mom couldn't always get a sitter when she needed to be at a medical appointment or was still at work). But I was mature and could handle my younger siblings very well. I could handle an emergency very well. If anything, even when my parents were home, I became the go-to person for calling 911 in an emergency because I could keep a cool head and explain the situation as well as assist the person in need with keeping calm, etc.



If you don't think your child is ready, you need to start with baby steps in giving him a little more responsibility. A little at a time. Go over ground rules, emergency numbers. You may still need to get a sitter for him now, but he can start practicing staying home alone while you go to the corner store, etc. Short trips. Household chores are important too. They're another way for a child to learn responsibility. If he has regular chores, that's good for him.



It's different with every child, but every child needs to learn responsibility (at their pace), and they need to learn it BEFORE they become teenagers, not after. Everyone knows adolescence is a hard time to get a kid to learn responsibility and rules if they haven't learned it before.

Devonna - posted on 08/30/2009

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I agree with you Emily, eleven is just too young for a child to stay by himself, no matter what his maturity level. Yes, I'm sure he would be ok, but for an about-to-be-teenager, all that alone time is just asking for trouble! Have you checked into a teen mentoring program? Sometimes you can find someone to fill in the gap for childcare in the form of a Big Brother/Big Sister. Hope this helps!

Crystal - posted on 08/30/2009

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it depends on the child but i wouldnt leave mine till there at least 14 or so .

Allyson - posted on 08/30/2009

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I have a hard time with this as well. I have several thoughts on the subject. The first is my husband actually accidently burned down his garage as a kid when he was about 11. It was completely an accident and thankfully no one was hurt, yet just goes to show that even responsible kids can get in situations that could potentially be devastating.



My second thought is that while we would never leave our little ones home alone to tend to themselves, we often do this with our tweens or teens when these are some of the most critical times of their lives.



While they are old enough to take care of themselves, there are so many things tempting them or coming at them from all directions that can affect the rest of their lives. I think this is the most important time to be diligent with our children. I honestly don't know the solution though. I too have a tween that is about to be a teen and I am struggling with leaving him home even for a hour or two alone although he is mature enough to do so. I guess it comes down to trusting that I have taught him well & letting him learn to stand on his own two feet. At least he is still home for several more years & I can Catch him if he falls :)

Ana - posted on 08/30/2009

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oh and don't forget to discuss this with you child....they might have some concerns of their own or even be able to make you feel better about your decision. and like someone else mentioned...there's nothing wrong with a trial period. my mother would follow me home when i first started walking home without me seeing for a week and had to loose out on much needed pay at that time. but her boss understood and didn't fire her for getting leaving for that time, and then going back to work. she also paid me surprise visits to see what i was up to and would randomly send neighbors or my uncle to make sure i was not causing trouble or trying to make french fries...i still laugh but i understand her concern!

Ana - posted on 08/30/2009

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Hi! Im new to cirlcle of moms and i see why i love it already. here's my opinion:

every state is different with this sort of law. in nj children are allowed to walk home at 3rd grade but they are not allowed to be home alone until they are 12 for a certain amount of time. i think the law also states that a 12 year old is not responsible enough to watch another child, like a sibling or babysit.

i stayed home all the time and walked across the city to see friends starting at 9 but this was before "the world was no longer visibly safe for kids". my children are 9 and 4 and a half....i can't see my 9 being home anytime soon. i work 3 blocks from his school but don't think he is able to cross the busy high school driver filled street to get to me so he takes the but.

I have my kids bused to a sitter's house, do yo have that option? can the school bus them somewhere, a baby sitter, friend, family, neighbor? I know it's hard, i have to leave work to pick up my pre-k son and take him to a sitter. i loose financially by taking time off and paying someone, but it's worth it to me that they are safe, they'll just have to understand when we're short on funds they can't have everything. maybe yoru job is willing to help in some ways, change your lunch break to take them to a friends house.

hope some of the suggestions help or at least give you some ideas. it seems that you are clear in not wanting them to stay home but every child is different and only you can decided if he's ready or not.

Heba - posted on 08/30/2009

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I think 11 ys is a young man not a child and so long u have a safe house and a telephone where he can reach u any time and there is a safe method for entertainment so that he will not be bored,then I think it is ok .of course he should follow some instrutions for example my kids are not allowed to use the stove but they can use the toaster to overbake their sandwiches.they shouldnot open the door to strangers and so on

Virginia - posted on 08/29/2009

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I think that it depends solely on the child and the relationship between the parents and the child. Not all eleven year olds are trusted to stay home alone. I was eleven when my mother started trusting me in staying home while she did the groceries or she went out with friends. A couple or maybe even three hours the most at that age. Again, I will with my girls wait and see. Regardless this is a very sensitive issue since safety and maturity plays a great part in it.

Michele - posted on 08/29/2009

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It all depends on the child, you know if he is mature enough I think at that age he should be fine also. Just go over all the rules and even if he says "he knows" keep telling him.

Emily - posted on 08/29/2009

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I agree with you. My daughter is only 6 and I won't even let her go on the school bus yet! The first day of school her teacher sent her with the bus kids, because she would be a bus kid if I wasn't unemployed currently, anyway I've always picked her up and dropped her off at school, so my heart was racing when I didn't see her at the end of the day. Luckly my daughter showed me that she is smart too, she heard her bus get called but she stayed there cause she knew I was coming to get her. Anyway goes to show you how much the bus company communicates with the schools, scary huh? So I don't even let her go outside alone, there are to many strangers out there, and you never know if someone actually is targeting you, watching what you allow your child to do and what you don't allow. You can never be to careful in this day and age. I don't think you should be allowed to leave your child home alone until they are at least 14 yrs old. They have to feel the responsibilities first to understand the consequences that could happen from making wrong decisions.

Ashley - posted on 08/29/2009

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I would say when they are big enough to fend off a full grown man. I'm with you. No,we can't keep them sheltered from everything, but we also don't need to take unnecessary risks. Our town is very fortunate, there is an afterschool care program called "club positive" and a boys and girls club for kids who's parents work. If it's only a few hours a day, look into a sitter. The going rate here in CNY is $2.00/hr. Three days a week I have evening appointments so my boys get off the bus at a friend of mines for 3 hours. Ask around and look on the net for what is in your area. Advertise a job for a senior in highschool to ride the bus /walk home with your son and "keep him company". What about sports? School sports have practice every day after school. There's another couple hours occupied. Just throwing out ideas,hope some work.

Gloria - posted on 08/28/2009

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I personally don't think that I could put an age number on this because a child's maturity varies at different levels during different ages. I believe that if a child is mature enough to know what to do and what not to do then its up to the responsible parent to make that choice. A child should know what to do in case of an emergency as well as just in general.

Shari - posted on 08/28/2009

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It really does depend on the child. My three girls started staying before and after school when they were 11, 9, and 8. Granted they had each other and were not alone for more than about an hour. I have good neighbors who I talked to in case something came up and they needed immediate help and I had my cell phone for other things, including checking in when they got home. I started out by leaving them home for 15 min. at a time and gradually increased it. I also spent a lot of time going over scenerios with them to help them and me more cofortable.

[deleted account]

I agree with it's based on the child as an individual. I didn't leave my daughter (17 now) home alone until she was 14-15..lol However, my son, who is 12, I have started letting him stay home by himself. My son very responsible and I have no worries. He knows all the ground rules and the emergency numbers ect.. My daughter.. I'm not sure she even knows yet and she'll b 18 in a few months... lol

Christina - posted on 08/28/2009

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Since I won't repeat everyone else's excellent advice, I would say take everything they have offered and possibly give it a trial period. Give it a week and see how he does and how he reacts. If you feel after a week or even a couple of days this is either something that can or cannot work then you know in your heart you gave it a chance vs always wondering if you should have given him a little bit longer leash. Think of it as taking baby steps towards the events coming up in his life that will far exceed the anxiety levels you have on him staying at home for a couple hours each day. Driving, college, wedding........you get my point lol! I think you are an excellent mom that obviously cares immensely to really investigate whether this is the right decision, but until you let him sink or swim, you won't ever really know. Will it be scary for you, yes, but remember you are teaching him responsibility, discipline and other qualities you want him to have later in life and you have to start somewhere! Best wishes on whatever you decide!

[deleted account]

Emily, as a parent of now 3 teenagers I agree with everyone on here. When my kids were in elementary school, they used to stay home in the mornings for about 30 min, and then a group of kids walked to school together. All the parents knew all the kids and we all talked to the kids about staying together and leave no one alone. There were early release days on Wednesdays, when I wasn't quite out of work yet. So my kids, just the 3, walked home together. My girls were 10 and my son 9. They were home for about 1 1/2 hrs. But they knew there was a neighbor lady down the street, who was a grandmother and was always home, they had her number, my work number, number for my husband and of course 911. We put all these numbers on the cabinet next to the phone where it was easy to find.

I didn't start leaving my son home alone until he was about 14, because he doesn't make smart decisions. My girls knew not to open the door when we weren't home and they knew to look at the caller id before answering the phone and if it wasnt me, dad or grandma they let it go to voicemail. We had a couple of stay at home moms on our street and that grandmother that we used as a "secure" place to go if they ever got scared or didn't want to be alone. Good luck

[deleted account]

I would check with your state requirements, first. Then I would evaluate your child's 'street smarts' and level of maturity- what would she/he do in case of a fire/earthquake/medical emergency? Does he/she know your/dad's full name and phone numbers, does he/she know your address/name of close relatives/neighbors? I suppose I would look at all that to see if my child was capable of handling an emergency situation. At the end of the day, you know your child better than anyone else- if he/she meets state requirements and you think he/she is ready, then you could do a 'dry run' and see how it goes??Good luck!!!

[deleted account]

In Ontario, Canada I believe the age to leave a child alone is 12 years old, I know in the daycare's up here once you reach 12 I do not believe they are able to attend, but don't quote me on that. Our social services does not pay for childcare after the child turns 13! If you do not want to leave child alone then don't, I know I would not be comfortable with it

Lindsay - posted on 08/27/2009

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I agree it depends on the child, neighborhood, ect. I have a 9 yr i had no choice but to leave her home one day. we live in a small town she knows the rules and how to take care of herself. plus the neighbors keep an eye out and my husband and i call every hour. so far the only problem we encountered was that she was bored out of her mind. It still makes me nervous but she does really good. I wouldn't leave my 6 yr. old with her because she isn't ready for that quite yet. i also know of a few in her class that stay home during the summer while their parents work.

CESCELY - posted on 08/27/2009

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I think it depends on your child, the size of your home and the safety of your neighborhood, as well as hour far away you will be, how long would it take someone to get to him in an emergency? Children do need to learn responsibility and how to handle situations when parents aren't around but I think it shold be in small doses. Also you need to be aware of your surroundings, my son is 10 and can stay home while I run short errands under an hour but I don't allow it often b/c one of my neighbors makes me leary. We live in a very safe neighborhood, we leave our doors unlocked but like you said anything can happen. For my son he does know the neighbors it is safe for him to go to who are nearby and he can use the phone, he won't touch the stove or anything like that but I know that for him he is safer in the house alone for a few minutes than going to the store which is less than a block away. I see kids here that roam all over our complex alone or with friends and we don't allow our son to do that but he handles being home alone very well, we started it out with just 5 or 10 minutes where we didn't really go anywhere but were outside watching to see what he would do and then stretched the time out as he tolerated it. Good luck! If you don't want to leave him alone try to find another mother in his class or in yur neighbor hood that you trust and that he likes that could maybe keep him in the interim

Sherri - posted on 08/27/2009

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I always said that it depends on the child. My step-son is 12. He's taken the first aid courses, but I feel he is not ready. I leave him alone every couple of weeks for an hour or so, but he makes some really silly decisions when he's alone..... when the dogs away, the cat will play.



If you have kids that are responsible and will follow the rules-then age really doesn't make a difference.

Dawn - posted on 08/27/2009

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I have 2 girls I let stay home before and after school. They started doing this when they were 11. They call me when they get up and they call when they get home. They know the rules about the door and phone. If you have neighbors who you trust, then maybe the 11 year old might be old enough. I was that age when I was home alone and I watched both of my younger brothers. Do they offer home alone classes anywhere in your area? I sent my 2 to the class, so they would have an idea. Good luck in whatever you decide.

Emily - posted on 08/27/2009

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I did want to add I don't think my hang ups are so much our son as for the mean people in the world. Call me over protective, but it happens everyday. I would never forgive myself for putting him in harms way. You always hear you can't put them in a bubble, but when do you draw the line? I was a turn key kid too but things aren't like they used to be.

Helen - posted on 08/27/2009

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in the uk the law is 12 year olds can be left alone for a few hours and 14 year olds can look after another child. I would say if you child has been brought tp to be sensible and you can trust him he should be okay for a few hours. just set some rules like no friends round, don't answer the door to anyone, don't light the stove, no going out. i was left alone for an hour a day from 11 as i got home from school before my parents got in but i always knew that there would be huge consequences if i broke the rules. It does depend on what type of neighbourhood you live in but you know your child and how much you can trust them.

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