Leaving your child home alone...what age?

Discussion in 'General' started by jjzollman, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    At what age did you or will you feel comfortable leaving your child home alone for a few hours? We're not there yet - our oldest is almost 11 and he's nowhere near ready - but I'm just curious!
  2. tarcoulis

    tarcoulis Well-Known Member

    Ours are 10 and we're not ready yet.
  3. ECUBitzy

    ECUBitzy Well-Known Member

    Truthfully, I have no idea. I think I was 11 or so when mom would run to the grocery store (for milk, not biweekly shopping). I think it definitely depends on the kid.
  4. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    I was home alone some by around 10. I was a latchkey kid by that point. I wasn't home with my brother at that age though. We had a babysitter who came over when he got home from school an hour later. No idea when I will allow my kids.
  5. megkc03

    megkc03 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'd guess I was on the younger side. How old, not sure. But it was me and my sister. I know we did summer camps etc. Maybe by 6th grade? If not earlier? My parents work in the hospital so they didn't have weekends/holidays off. I remember many times staying home from school if my sister was sick etc.
    As for my trio, they are too young now. If I were to look into the future...maybe 10? But like others, that's a quick trip somewhere (30 min or less).
  6. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    I know I started babysitting at 11, but now I can't imagine leaving my girls alone (or in charge of younger kids) at 11.  I don't know why there is such a disconnect.  
  7. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    My kids are only 5 so we are years from this, but I think my mom started leaving me home alone during the summers when I was like 12-13.  My brother was 18 and doing his own thing, and I was a VERY calm, laid back kid.  I usually slept in, read books, etc., and my dad would come home for lunch and my mom got off at 3pm, so I was really only alone for a few hours.  Plus my parents both worked close by and either could be home within 15 minutes or less, and we had a neighbor that was a SAHM that I could call if I needed her.
  8. threebecamefive

    threebecamefive Well-Known Member

    My three are 9 and 10. I've left them home alone when there is any combination of just two of them; extremely rare to let all three stay home alone together. The amount of time has ranged from less than five minutes to maybe 30 minutes.

    My daughter (10.5) would be ok staying home alone for a little longer, but I'm a long ways from letting my boys stay home alone for any amount of time. I imagine we're a few years from letting all three of them stay home alone while we do anything more than quick errands either.

    I agree with Leighann, I babysat after school, every day, when I was in 5th grade. That will be my daughter in a year. I can't see that happening, nor can I imagine another parent wanting an 11 year old babysitting their child on her own like that.
  9. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My parents left me home alone when I was in 5th grade.

    My girls have house keys so if I'm a few minutes late they can let themselves in the house. But we just started that this year. They get home any time from 3:35-4 o'clock.

    Yesterday I left dani home when I took Sydney to a friends house around the corner.
    But no clue when I would leave them alone for more than 15 minutes.
  10. AmynTony

    AmynTony Well-Known Member

    I've just started leaving mine (almost 9) for a few minutes to run down the street to the store for something I forgot for dinner LOL...it takes longer for them to put on shoes/jackets, get to the car, etc than it does for me to just leave and come back...
    now the caveat to this is - Door locked, they have a phone, they have the dog and my mother lives next door and the neighbors across the street know them and are also nurses.
  11. Katheros

    Katheros Well-Known Member

    Mine are almost 10 and I leave them home alone for short bursts, no more than an hour.  It's nice not having to make sure I'm home by a certain time in the afternoon.  Honestly the only thing that makes me nervous about it is my across-the-street neighbor is a cop and I'm not entirely sure what the legal age is here. 
  12. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    Last year, in 6th grade I started leaving them for up to an hour.  Now that I am working, sometimes they are home for almost 2 before I get home due to my work, or tutoring.  I would trust them at this point for 2-3 hours, but not longer,  They can safely cook and feed themselves, so that is a plus.
  13. pretty girl

    pretty girl Well-Known Member

    I was 8 when I could be home for a few hours alone. I haven't even thought about it with my singleton. (I mean she is only almost 3)
  14. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    When I was doing some of the reading for my job as a para, I came across something that said in Kansas the legal age is 10 to be home alone.  
    For us, I have left Sarah home when she was barely 10.  There were nights when she was getting stuck in soccer practice because dh got home 10 mins late.  So we started letting her stay home for the time between when I left and dh got home.  Tops of 15-20 mins.  She is an old soul and the worst thing she might do is read a book or play American Girl.  
    Mine are both 11 now and we've started expanding that.  I let Timothy stay home from Sarah's ortho appointments.  I let them both stay home when I have meetings at school.  They have a list of phone numbers and both are very clear in the understanding that this is a privilege that can be taken away.  Then they would have to stay with a neighbor and while Sarah likes going to that neighbor's house (2 much younger little girls to play with and a new baby), Timothy doesn't.  And he's the one most likely to get creative with what he could do. Usually I suggest a movie for them to watch that they've been wanting to watch while I'm gone.
    Ours will be staying home a little more by themselves now.  Dh's parents used to live over by where I do my training for school.  So I would drop the kids off to play at Grandma's house while I did training.   Dh's parents had to move about 8 hours away so I can't do that anymore.  Also, without grandma and grandpa around, if dh and I want a date night, it's going to mean probably leaving the kids home.
    For the most part, my kids are pretty responsible.  We live in a quiet neighborhood in a small town so I'll let the kids take the dog out on walks by themselves. They carry my cell phone when they do that.  They are very clear on what I expect and are very clear about the alternative arrangements that will happen if mom isn't thrilled.
    When I tried to imagine my own kids staying home, it was really hard.  What helps me is to think about an older kid and what age I saw them doing things.  Since I'm at the school, I could more objectively look at the kids a year older than mine and hear what they were doing and see what they were doing.  It still means that I get a bit nervous about the thought of leaving mine home, but logically, I know they are fine and capable. Sarah wants to baby-sit so I will have her take the community college baby-sitting class when she can.  They cover everything.  They even set small fires in wagons and have the girls use fire extinguishers to put them out.  
    2 people like this.
  15. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'm not sure what time I started staying home alone but I was definitely babysitting all 3 of my siblings by 12.

    I can pretty easily imagine the girls home alone by 10, if not younger for really short trips.

    We recently started using a 12 year old babysitter for our kids. Her house is a 5 min walk from our place so it's good to know she can call on someone close by if needed. The kids all really like her and she doesn't cost a small fortune. ;)
  16. SuzyHolland

    SuzyHolland Well-Known Member

    I leave my kids alone (9-9 and almost 11)
    When I have to bring one kid to sport . Do some grocery's.
    The kids don't want to go with me.
    As a single Mom, I don't know how to do it otherwise.
    We live in a safe area. People know eachother
  17. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'd say I was left home alone starting around 10-11 years old.  It would be for short trips though or doctor's appointments.  
    I have no idea when I will start doing the same for my kids.  I would assume around the same age.  
  18. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I have no idea if it is correct, but i have seen charts on line with ages.
    here is one of them
    1 person likes this.
  19. lharrison1

    lharrison1 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My oldest (10.5) is in 5th grade and very mature and responsible for her age and size.   I have left her home on occassion (playing outside with other neighbor kids whose parents were home and we've just let our neighbors know that we'd be back shortly and to keep an eye on her. 
    She'll be 11 (almost 12) when she starts middle school and she will get off the bus and come home by herself until we get home from work-she will be with several other kids that live on our block that are her age-I'm not worried about this at all-she will NOT be in charge of her younger sibliings-just herself.
    I think I started coming home from school along with my younger sister when I was in 5th grade (we were home alone for a couple hours before my parents got home). 
  20. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    I am the oldest of 5 siblings and I was already babysitting other people's kids at age 10. 
    My girls just turned 9, and DH and I are prepping to let them try very short stints of time home alone this summer.  I just upgraded my iPhone and we put a pay as you go service on my old phone so we can have it here for their use.  I work from home, and in all summers past have had childcare coverage most summer days.  This summer I am not planning nearly that much coverage, just 3-4 weeks of camps, and 3-4 weeks of me being on vacation.  I plan on testing this out at first by going out for my run or bike ride while they are here, and sticking within 5-10 minutes from home at all times, and stopping  by every 15-20 minutes to check in on them.
    I think mine will do fine if they are together.  If I tried to leave one or the other completely alone (say to drop the other off at practice)  the one home would surely get scared.
    I'd say I probably won't work up to 30-45 minutes of them being home alone until they are 10 though.  I guess I will just see how it goes this summer first. :)
  21. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    Ohio has no rules! I'm leaving my 19 month old home with some food tomorrow!
    3 people like this.
  22. megkc03

    megkc03 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

  23. Katheros

    Katheros Well-Known Member

    SC is silent as well!  And here I've been carting the 3 and 1 year old with me everywhere!  Silly me. 
  24. hudsonfour

    hudsonfour Well-Known Member

    Mine ar 9/9/ 8 and I've just started to leave mine alone for 15-30 mins while I run to the store or do a quick walk around the neighborhood. Rules are that no answering the door, no going outside, no cooking, and be nice to each other. They can call me at any moment (and they do) and I always let my neighbor know ( she does the same if she leave her girls).
    1 person likes this.
  25. mommymauro

    mommymauro Well-Known Member

    When my oldest was 10/11 i would leave him for an hour in the am (while he sleepily woke up to cartoons) so i could get a run in... i never left our neighborhood AND we had neighbors he could go to in case of emergency ... and of course he had a land line to call me or 911.  we lived up in the hills so no one ever knocked on our door.
    I remember my mom leaving me home a lone for a few min at age FOUR. she would sit me in the big easy chair and tell me not to leave it and to pretend the floor was lava... it worked... i sat spinning in that chair until she came back... but she also trusted me by age 15 (Freshman/9th grade in HS) to stay home alone OVERNIGHT!!! and by the time i was 16 (10th grade) she left me a whole WEEK... i had a sister who lived close by (who is 10 years older) ... but their is NO WAY i would let my 16/17 year old home alone, that long, even with my Mom living only 2 miles away... NO WAY
  26. becasquared

    becasquared Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I was a latchkey kid at the age of 8. I leave my two alone when I walk the dog or check the mail at the other end of the street, they're seven. As for leaving them home when I leave the neighborhood, I would feel comfortable probably next year, for 30 minutes or so.
    2 people like this.
  27. becasquared

    becasquared Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Oh and now I leave them in the car if they want to stay! (Assuming the weather is nice enough.)
  28. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    What I don't understand, and perhaps there is a neighbor stepping in or something.. but on FB, a couple I know have two kids, one 7 year old and one 9 year old.  They BOTH go to the gym to exercise at about 4:30 am sans kids.  Pretty much every morning.  I don't get it and am not 'close' enough to ask.
    I will run to the store (20 minute round trip) if I have a sick kid at home on the couch to get juice or something for them.. but that is rare.  My kids are 9.5 and 6.  I don't leave my 6 year old home alone.
  29. megkc03

    megkc03 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    While I've thought of it, as I think my kids could honestly handle it, I wouldn't do it just yet. And at 4:30 am??? What if there was a fire?? I know the chances are slim, but not a chance I'd want to take. I'd hope someone is watching them, but I can't see that happening. "Can you watch my kids at 4:30 am so I can go workout?" Just doesn't sit right with me.
  30. dtomecko

    dtomecko Well-Known Member

    My kids just turned 7.  I have left one sick kid home while dropping the other one off at school on occasion.  I don't know how other people handle this if there is no bus.  My husband leaves for work before we get up for school.  It's kind of a relief as they get older that this is an option now.
    I go to work after dropping them off in the morning at school and come home around the time the bus drops them off.  When I first started in January, I found myself driving home like a mad woman to make it before the bus.  It was so stressful.  I finally decided to give them my garage door opener.  We leave the door to the house from the garage unlocked during the day.  So now they let themselves in and I am usually a minute or two behind.
    I have also left them a couple times when I had to run to the store for an ingredient.  I was gone for 15 minutes tops.
    It seems so irresponsible because they are only 7!  But they are very mature for their age.  They still ask if they can have a snack or pretty much do anything before they do it.  It started when they were little and it has just stuck.  Sometimes I want to tell them they don't have to ask for things anymore, but maybe I'll wait a little longer and see when they realize on their own.  The two of them together seems safe to me.  But I probably wouldn't do it as much if it was just one or the other.  It will probably get harder as they get older and learn they can start testing boundaries.  But for now I have no trust issues with them. 
    I would probably be ok with leaving them alone for longer periods (an hour or two during the day) when they are 10.
  31. Chrissy Nelson

    Chrissy Nelson Well-Known Member

    We started at 11 just running to the store or being gone for about an hour.  Now at age 12 we leave them for several hours.
Similar Threads Forum Date
Leaving children in the bathtub? The Toddler Years(1-3) Jan 1, 2007
Anyone else get nervous when your kids are leaving for a week without you? General Jul 7, 2015
Camps. Leaving or staying? Childhood and Beyond (4+) Jul 7, 2014
Leaving a kid in the car- WWYD? The Toddler Years(1-3) Dec 5, 2013
Leaving the babies for 3 days! The First Year Aug 31, 2012

Share This Page