When to let child stay home without parents

Tracy - posted on 03/13/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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Hi,

I am curious what others think is the right age for a kid to stay home by themselves during the summer. Do you think there is a certain "right" age or do you think it depends on maturity, etc.?

Thanks,
Tracy

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Carmen - posted on 04/29/2010

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i have a 12yr old duaghter 13yr son,and they stay at home alone they babysit if i need to go somewhere really quik.they are very mature in that nature and as for my 12yr old she wants to babysitt other kids as well. i also pay them so thay make a few bucks in the process.

[deleted account]

I agree with Meg, maturity is a big part of it. I have a 13 yr old and an 8 yr old, both girls, they have no prob staying home during the day, given a list of stuff that needs to be done, tell them to crank the tunes, don't answer the door or phone, good to go. On the other hand, at night it's a little creepy for them, but as long as they are to gether, they don't mind it too much.

I would use a check in system in the summer, if your going shopping or to work, give them a list, then they call you at 'recess or lunch' and at maybe 3, not so you can keep tabs, of course, but just in case they 'need' anything. As time goes by, they won't need to call, cuz they will get into the routine of it, and become responsible. They need the chance to prove that they can do it! To you and themselves! Good luck!

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Rachael - posted on 12/05/2010

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I have 4 children ages 16, 14, 12 and 10 yrs old. I wouldn't allow them to be home alone for more than an hour I would worry too much, and I don't think it's fair to put that responsibility on the older children

Lisa - posted on 10/24/2010

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I have a 12-year-old who is fine by herself. But she has two brothers- 6 and 8- who I have to find a place for anyway, so she usually goes wherever they do. She babysits sometimes, actually. She would be fine sitting the younger brother, but there's too much fighting for them all to stay alone together.

Rebecca - posted on 10/16/2010

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I think it is how much you trust your child...I will leave my 11 year old home alone for a couple of hours but not for a full day....she must go by family if it is longer than 2 hours and it also depends on the time of day.. I work anywhere from 8:30AM-7:00PM and my husband works any shift at his job which is usually 3AM-midnight...so if it is after school and we're not home until 7 or so she must go by family....she also knows the rules which means no answering phones unless it is mom or dad and she must call us (she has a cell phone also) when she does get home...No problems so far but maybe next year we will try to add more hours on...she is pretty responsible so that helps too.

[deleted account]

I think it depends on the law where you live, the maturity and the trustworthiness of your child, and your neighbourhood. I leave my 11 year old at home with her younger brother for a few hours at a time, but we live in a safe neighbourhood, good neighbours, and I've taught her what to do in emergencies. I'm satisfied that if I leave them, I'm going to come back to living children and a whole house that hasn't been trashed or burned down.

Adrienne - posted on 09/01/2010

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thanks all for the stories...mine r about the same too my oldest i can leave for short amount of time and sometimes the second too but never the youngest two yet...its nice to hear what other ppl have been doin though

[deleted account]

Hi Tracy...
There is no right age to this topic. My son started staying home when he was 10 years old babysitting his little sister who was 7 at that time. Of course, this decision was easier because I have an alarm on my home. Now he's 15 and still baby sits his sister (whose 11). Of course, the only difference now is he gets paid for it...LOL..

This decision is truly one that comes from the heart and when your heart is confident that they are mature enough to deal with being home alone, then its the right time. Go with your gut feeling.

Best of Luck
Maria

Karen - posted on 02/18/2010

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Maturity is definately the biggest part of it, but, i cant see letting my daughter stay home by herself yet until she is 14/15... maybe im too strict or maybe its that im fearful.. if/when you do decide to let your child stay home alone, make sure to instill a rule that no one come to the house (without prior permission from you of course).

Teri - posted on 11/11/2009

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My daughter will be 11 next month and she stays home with her sister who is 3 for short periods of time. She's very responsible and know's what she can and can't do. My husband's requirement was the Red Cross babysitting course just incase the little one chokes on something. I don't leave her alone after bedtime because that would scare me too much. She sleeps through everything. I still wouldn't leave them alone next summer but maybe when she's 12 I would for a day or 2 during the week. I don't want her to be stuck watching her sister all summer.

Rhonda - posted on 09/11/2009

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Hi there,
I have let my daughters stay home alone... I have class on Thursday nights and leave the house around 6pm and when I return home at 11 ish they are bathed and in bed sound asleep. They also stay home alone when I have school or work when they have a day off. They always know what chores must be done and no not to answer the door to anyone. It does depend on maturity levels as well. My soon to be 13 year old is also a Gifted child so her way of thinking isnt that of a normal 12 year old. There are times I have come home and they have made dinner for me! My soon to be 10year old has stayed home alone if it is only a short period of time... Example.. Tuesdays she gets home from school at 1:40 I get home at 3pm. Most times the oldest is home around the same time as her but not always so she has to stay home. She is already on a set schedule so most days by the time I get home she is already done with her homework. Start by giving your child small doses of the alone time and ease up from there.. it will be fine.

LaVerne - posted on 08/25/2009

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My son just turned 12 this summer and I've felt comfortable enough to leave him alone for about 1 hr. (just a run to the grocery store and quick errands)....of course, I instruct him to not answer the door and no friends in the house while I'm gone! Hope this helps....good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 06/12/2009

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I think it's totally relative to the child. My friend who is a single Mom let her kids stay home (out of necessity) waaaay earlier than I've let mine. Actually I can trust my 11 year old son to stay home for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours without getting in too much trouble. He's a good kid though and generally is sensitive to what is right and wrong.

Bernadette - posted on 06/03/2009

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My 11 year old has only stayed home 2 times while I ran a quick trip to the store. I was gone about 20-30 minutes. He proved in that time that he is not mature enough to be left alone. He didn't even remember to lock the door behind me....

In my opinion, it's more about maturity, responsiblity, and the ability to follow rules when you're not around than the age.

Karen - posted on 05/01/2009

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When my son turned 11 I paid for him to take the Red Cross babysitting course, which I said was a prerequisite for him staying home alone and even looking after his 8-year-old brother. We started in babysteps with very short outings and have progressed to letting them stay home when we go out for an evening dinner and movie. Every single time we've returned home to them in bed asleep and all being well. Exciting!

Kim - posted on 04/30/2009

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It does depend on the child. My daughter watched herself last year at 10 for the summer. The neighbor works out of the home so he always kepted an eye out. She had a set of rules about answering the door or phone. And planned outings with the neighbor girl. I always recieved a call when she leaves and comes home. This year a few days a week she sees herself off to school and comes home to a list of choirs. She has never broken any of the rules. I am lucking I live in a small town. I work 2 miles from my house. she is very mature and I am happy for that. Her dad died when she was 6 so she grew up early helping when he was sick and watching him pass. The key I think is to not letting friends over or leaving the house and wandering around town. Big no no's

[deleted account]

I think that the maturity level is a big thing. I started letting my 11 yr old stay home by herself last summer. I bought her a cell phone and told her to call me if she had any problems. She did just fine and it saved me on a sitter

Kassie - posted on 04/17/2009

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My son is 11 and he comes in from the bus and is alone for about 20 minutes everyday. Our next door neighbor (who is also a police officer) watches him get into the house while getting his own kids off the bus. If he wasn't so mature, I don't think I would allow it.

Meg - posted on 03/13/2009

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Yes, I think maturity is a big part of it. Also, where you live, if you have trusted adult neigbors they can get help from if needed, and how long you'll be gone. I think by 13-14, most kids could handle a good chunk of hours (4? 5?) alone, so long as they have plenty of food and know and respect the limits of what's acceptable (i.e., no boys, don't use the stove, eat the bananas before they spoil, let the dog out, whatever applies)



I know I was spending 8 hours a day with just me and my three-years younger sister when I was 14, and we never had any trouble. My oldest is 12, and he's ok if we go out for an hour or two, but he's also got three friends ( and their moms) across the street and next door if he gets bored/lonely/needs help. I don't think I'd leave him alone all day everyday for another few years, but part of that's temperment - he doesn't like being alone in the house, even though he's often the only one in a room.



 

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