Would you leave your kids alone for an hour each day?

Jennifer - posted on 06/01/2011 ( 36 moms have responded )

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Friends of mine leave their 7 and 10 year old daughters home alone 3 days/week between the hours when the mom leaves for work and the dad gets home from work (approx. 4:30-5:30pm). The girls are instructed not to answer the phone or door.

Is this okay/would you do this?

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Angela - posted on 06/03/2011

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This my thoughts, even teens can be left home too much, kids need their parents to parent and adult supervision. I was one of those latch key kids and I got in more trouble than needed, I know I would not have got in so much trouble if I had a parent to answer to. I did not do my homework always, I did spend too much time on the phone. I did try to smoke cigarettes with my friend at my house because not anyone was home like at hers. I did bring a boy home because not anyone was home like his, I did become a teen Mom... Before you say oh depends on how mature you kids are, I was mature, straight A student but all kids are still kids and don't and can't make the best decsions like adults. Leaving kids alone is leaving them to make decsions and choices on their own as adults do.
Rarely does a parent not have a choice, I was a single Mom and not rich by any means worked two jobs and I still manage never to leave my daughter alone. When she was a teen I had her in after school programs or at a friends who had a parent home. She did not like it, I did not care.
Living in a safe neighborhood is a false sense of security in my book. We know of girl who lived in a "safe" neighborhood and a man from her safe neighborhood kidnapped, raped and killed her. She was found in his back yard buried. She was on the phone with her Mom when she said someone is at the door I will talk to you later.
You can never make you kids 100% safe, but you can do all you can do and leaving them alone is a choice you don't have to make

Cynthia - posted on 06/01/2011

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no i don't think it is a good idea. bad things happen all the time. you would never forgive yourself if something went wrong. the kids are the reason you go to work. pay a sitter. i think if you have to ask the question then the answer is no.

Sharon - posted on 06/01/2011

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It depends on the child.

But my kids were fine. They had cellphones, the house phone, and a neighbor who knew they were home alone and only a minute away if there was an emergency. Actually there is one designated neighbor for them to call in an emergency. They are an awesome family! One phone call to ANY of the 3 immediate family and they can reach a dozen of their family in an instant to help out. Its never been needed by us but I've seen it in action. Then there their friends.

My kids are all taught basic first aid. They know how to cook simple things, microwave popcorn, microwave ramen, toaster oven pizzas, etc. And they aren't cooking anything while I'm gone that I haven't seen them cook a dozen times while I was home. So I know they're doing it right.

But there are a couple of their friends, I wouldn't trust alone in a bathroom, never mind home alone.

[deleted account]

Not for me personally.I would not feel comfortable leaving the kids.I feel uncomfortable seeing others do this also.Again i have issues with this from my past.So maybe that has something to do with it.

Melissa - posted on 06/05/2011

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It really does depend on maturity. When I was 10 I was babysitting my 5 and 1 year old brothers from about 8am to about 3 or 4pm every day during the summer, and after school for the rest of the year. At this point, I think some states have laws saying a child has to be 12 before being allowed to be home alone, but I'm not positive on that. Personally, I really think it depends on the individual child.

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Sylvia - posted on 12/15/2011

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I think it depends on the kids, but I don't see a huge problem. Unless the kids fight a lot, or something.

A - posted on 06/03/2011

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I'm pretty sure most states say kids can't be left alone until 12 or 13. It's 13 where I live. So, if they are going against state law, its obviously wrong for that reason alone, and those laws are in place to ensure the safety of children.



EDIT:

I just found a chart online that lists the laws by state.

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



The lowest age (for states that have a law) is 8, but there's a good number that have no laws on it, but that doesn't mean your kids may be taken away by CPS should someone complain or a situation arise.



I wanted to add an experience that my husband's sister had with her children. My husbands family is really large and close (Mexican and Catholic- lol). People have lots of children and its just customary (for them) for the older children to watch the younger ones- all the time. My sister in law has 6 children. About three years ago there was a house fire. At this time, the children were 13, 14, 11, 7, 5, and 4. Dad was still at work, Mom had started dinner and turned on a pan of oil to fry some potatoes. Before she got far, 14 year old asked to go on a walk. Mom went with 14 yo and forgot she left the pan on the stove. The 13 year old has been in charge of the kids for years and has babysat for a number of years (even for other family members). A fire started in the kitchen, and the 13 year old freaked out. She just ran out of the house yelling for her mother (who obviously had walked off by now.) Fortunately, the 11 year old was responsible enough to get the other children out of the house.



As you can see, you can't predict how a child (even as old as 13) is going to react in a dangerous, stressful situation. The child may be very responsible under normal circumstances, but once something goes wrong they panic and don't know what to do. If it hadn't been for the 11 year old there may have been a tragedy. Adults even panic sometimes. I remember when I was 16 my blood sugar dropped and I started to pass out and fall to the ground. My dad freaked and was screaming at me (like that did any good!). He didn't handle the stress well as an adult. I've panicked before and froze in a stressful situation. What we need to consider is making sure our children can be trusted if that "off chance" happens and something goes wrong. Children should practice fire drills (that they don't know are going to happen) and such to see how they react. And just my personal opinion, 7 & 10 is not old enough to be trusted should something go wrong.

Becky - posted on 06/03/2011

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Hard to say, it'll depend on what my kids are like at those ages. Well, they won't be that far apart anyway - they'll be 8 and 10. If they are mature enough and I don't have to supervise them constantly to make sure they don't kill each other, then I probably would. We live in a safe, quiet neighborhood where we know our neighbors. We have caller ID, so they would know who was calling - if we called to check on them, or their grandparents did. I'd enlist a neighbor to check on them and be on call if there was an emergency, and would get their grandparents or one of my sisters, who all live pretty close, to be back-up too.
I don't think I'd want to do it on a daily basis though. But if it was once or twice a week. There would be rules, and they would not be expected to or allowed to do any cooking or anything like that.
I was mature enough to be left on my own at that age - and probably was, I just don't remember. But it's all hypothetical now anyway, because the oldest is only 3, so I definitely won't be leaving them alone any time soon!

Nikki - posted on 06/03/2011

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No, I don't think it's a good idea. It's too much responsibility for children at that age.

Angela - posted on 06/03/2011

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@Michelle, floods, fires can happen in Aus right? Is their really such a thing is a "safe" place. I knew what to do in case of a disaster like a Tornado, but I was still scared.

Michelle - posted on 06/03/2011

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Depends on where you live. if its in a place where natural disaster can strike quickly or before you can get home to them then no. but if you live in a safe place (like Aus) and its not a bad neighbourhood then as long as they are mature enough and its just an hour then yer if theres no other option but they would have to be mature kids

Angela - posted on 06/02/2011

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No I would not, My brother and I were left to our own a lot at that age and I really feel we would have benefited with adult supervision. There were plenty of times an adult was needed, wanted etc. I remember when there was a tornado warning, a time my little brother got really sick and I was very scared despite putting on my best mature front. There was more but these are examples. leaving a 10 year old to look after a 7 year old, come one that is too much responsibility for the 10 year old in my opinion. I would never do this to my children

Eliza - posted on 06/02/2011

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Hi .. Yeah Sometimes i feel like i do not want to leave my daughter even when my work time & kept on calling her cause i really miss her so much ;( after all i'm satisfied since my mom looked after my daughter ..

Maria - posted on 06/02/2011

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I think it depends on the maturaty of the children. 7 is kinda young, 10 is border line. But if everyone remembers, our parents (at least mine did) used to leave us home alone for hours when we were kids. I think kids today and more sheltered than we were. There were no "playdates" it was come back when its dinner time or when the sun goes down. My oldest is almost 9 yrs. old and I would leave him home alone for an hour (I don;t right now, but I;m sure I will eventually).

Tara - posted on 06/02/2011

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Depends on the children. Do they get along well? Is the older one able to direct and supervise the younger one? Is the younger one willing to take direction from the older one?

I can leave my 11 year old home with her 6 and 8 year old sisters with no problem for short time periods. They know who to call or go to in an emergency, my one neighbour is always notified when they are home so she is available if they need her.
A lot depends on what kind of kids you have.
I know some 14 year olds that I wouldn't want to leave home alone.
But when you know your kids and have made appropriate arrangements for emergencies etc. than I don't see a problem with letting kids be home for short periods of time when they are capable of it.

Lucy - posted on 06/02/2011

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Like most of the other ladies, I think it depends on the area you live in and the maturity of your kids.

I would be okay with it where I live, as it is a little village where everyone knows everyone. The kids know and are well known to every home on our street, so they would have numerous people to ask for help if it were needed.

I think if you would trust your children to walk to school together, go out to play with their friends unsupervised etc, then you could happily leave then home alone for an hour. I think 10 is about the right age for all of these things.

Jenn - posted on 06/01/2011

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It would depend on the kids, but I could see it being OK in some situations.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/01/2011

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I think it's fine. My parents started leaving my sister and me alone for short periods of time (about an hour) when we were 8 and 5 years old. We felt hugely important, and we always knew which neighbour to run to if there was a problem. Actually, my grandmother lived just 6 houses down from us, so we'd go to her first, probably.

And there was one time when I was helping my sister with her homework when she was 7 and I was 10 when I impaled her hand with shards of glass! Oops. Somehow explaining the math problem involved wild arm swooping, and I broke one of the chandelier covers with the pencil I was holding. She still shows me the scars meaningfully whenever she wants to borrow something! But it was fine, I ran to the neighbour and everything was okay.

Bonnie - posted on 06/01/2011

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I wouldn't be comfortable with it, but it is kind of difficult to picture my oldest as 10 years old right now as he is only going to be 5 this year. I think it would depend on the individual child.

[deleted account]

No, I am not ok with leaving a child of 7 & 10 home alone for an hour. And I do speak from personal experience. My mom frequently left me or my brother alone to run errands, or visit a neighbor. I was always considered mature for my age as well. When I was 9 years old, I wanted to make pink lemonade, the kind form the can. Well, I knew how to use a can opener, but it didn;t slice all the way through. So I ran my thumb under the can and pried it open. The jagged can edge sliced my thumb and gushed blood. Looking at my scar 27 years later.....well Mom wasn;t there. I wrapped my thumb in paper towels, still dripping blood. Turned out I severed a vein and needed 5 stitches. But I had to run to the neighbor's house!

So no, I am not OK with leaving my son alone until he is closer to 12-13 and then we;ll have some rules in place.

[deleted account]

Probably would be ok. My 9.5 year olds haven't been left home alone yet, but they start middle school at 10.5 and may need to be home alone depending on what my schedule is like at that time.....

Merry - posted on 06/01/2011

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I was trusted to watch my baby brother when I was 10, I wasn't alone with him for long, and not often but I was quite responsible with him and when needed I watched him alone.
Depends on the kid! Now my brother is 12 and he would be trustworthy to watch another kid, but my nephew is also 2 and heck no! His idea of fun with young kids is chasing them around, throwing them up in the air and scaring them......yeah, not him.
My niece is 10 and I'd never trust her with any little one, she still plays selfishly with kids, she doesn't try to keep the kid happy, she does things selfishly at the kids expense!
Depends how they were raised I think.

Krista - posted on 06/01/2011

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I think it depends very much on the children and their level of maturity. My older nephew, at age 10, could have very easily been trusted home alone. Heck, I'd trust that kid with my retirement fund. He's just always been a reliable, old-soul kind of kid. My younger nephew is a sunny little sweetheart, but he's extremely impulsive. I would not have trusted him home alone at 10. I would not even trust him home alone now that he IS 12. When he's 14? We'll see...

Ez - posted on 06/01/2011

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I think that's ok. My brother and I were home alone after school on some days at that age. I was a very mature 10yo, and we were well-versed in what we were allowed to do (not answer the door or phone, not go outside etc). Assuming there are no significant behavioural problems, I would be comfortable leaving a child at that age for a short time.

Sherri - posted on 06/01/2011

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No at those ages I do not think it is safe or okay. My rule of thumb is never before 12yrs of age.

Lady Heather - posted on 06/01/2011

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Depending on the kids it could be just fine, like the other ladies said. We were home alone for an hour after school at that age when we were younger and it was never a problem.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/01/2011

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There are some factors that need to be considered though, like do the kids beat on eachother and fight all the time....would they actually be safe home alone together, neighborhood, and maturity level. If all the factors are good, and maybe there was a neighbor that could periodically peek on the house, I would be fine with it.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/01/2011

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I would be ok with that. It is a short time, and a parent will be home soon.

[deleted account]

In the neighborhood I live in...yes. Unless my daughters prove to be untrustworthy. Right now they are 3 years and 2 months, so we've got several years before that decision needs to be made.

Jenny - posted on 06/01/2011

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Ya, I'd be OK with that considering the ages and amount of time but it would really depend on the kids involved.

Christy - posted on 06/01/2011

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I think it depends on the neighborhood I live in. I think for the most part it's okay. They've been taught safety precautions, not to answer the door or the phone.

I'm sure this is more common than we hear about. When my husband was growing up, he was a latch key kid. His mom was single with three boys. She could barely afford to feed them, let alone pay daycare, so they came home from school and tended themselves until she got home from work.

I would do it. I've taught my kids well and they get along well and are pretty good to follow the rules. If I were in her situation, one hour three days a week would be necessary.

[deleted account]

Depends how mature and responsible the 10 year old is. I know a 12 year old that watches my nieces 3 days a week, 8 hours a day. She's taken the babysitting course and my SIL trusts her.

My daughter is only 2 1/2 so I'm not sure how I'll feel when she's that age.

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