21 answers

How Old Should a Child Be Before They Should Stay Home Alone?

Does anyone know at what age a child can legally stay home w/out an adult? I have an 11 year old daughter who is extremely smart and responsible for her age and she is wanting me to start letting her stay home rather than go to a babysitters (you guessed it, "babysitters are for babies and I'm not a baby anymore mom!!"). I have let her stay home alone while I go on short errands (usually no more than a couple of blocks/min. away) and I completely trust her (she has always been a very good child) and she is very mature for her age (she grew up around my little sis & bro, who are 8 yrs older than her). She would only be alone for about two hours and her grandma and uncle both live just a couple of blocks away. I just don't want to get in trouble for leaving her home alone. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. (And yes, her grandma and uncle have both said they would occasionally check in on her.)

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I have an 11 yr old son who did the same thing. I was worried about leaving him so I called our local job and family services and asked them about leaving him. They told my that there isn't a set age though the prossicuting attorney recomends 12 yrs old but if someone would happen to file a complaint aggainst you that the childrens services does an investigation to determin what they think. They said they ask the child and the parent question to see if they think they are responsible enough. I now can leave my son for a few hours without worry because I know and he knows that he is responsible enough for this. But we do have set rules and if or when he breaks these this prevledge will be taken away.
I hope this helps
J. P.

1 mom found this helpful

I baby sat at that age too. She sounds like she is plenty old enough to stay home alone, especially if she has a way to reach you at all times (if you carry a cell phone), plus Grandma's and Uncle's phone numbers. I would tell her the rules (like she has to stay inside keeping doors locked and not inviting anyone inside or answering the door to strangers). Then tell her if she fails to abide by the rules she will lose the priviledge to stay home alone. She will appreciate your trusting her and you could award her for being responsible if you come home and the place is not a mess, and she followed the rules, etc.

1 mom found this helpful

Only you know for sure.. The maturity level of one 11 year old compared to another could be as different as night and day. If you believe your daughter is responsible enough and would know what to do in any emergency case then do a test run.. let her stay when you go to the grocery.. or when you go to the gym. That way if she gets scared or uncomfortable she can call you and you can be there in a second. I believe also that the YWCA has babysitting classes. I am sure that would help you both be more comfortable with staying alone. If she took a class like that you could both feel comfortable that she would know what to do if something went wrong.

1 mom found this helpful

There is no specific age according to the law. As long as you feel she is old enough and responsible enough. I leave my 11yr old twins home together from time to time. I did call the police station a few years back because my 8 and 9 yr old step sons were being left home alone for several hours each day. I just asked the officer what the legal age was to leave a child home alone. It was then that I was told that there is no legal age. The child just has to be mature and responsible.

1 mom found this helpful

I dont know the age where she is allowed to stay at home alone call the local police dept and ask. Perhaps you could look into a 15 or 16 y/o girl in the neighborhood and ask her to stay with her. Not as a sitter but as a person to hang out with a do girl things. I think if you go too much older she will view it as a sitter. Whereas if you get someone just a little older she could do things with her. You could even let the sitter show her how to put on make up (for play and as long as the sitter doesnt cake it on). Just things that teenage girls do.
Good luck
S.

1 mom found this helpful

I have checked that out with Children's services and the police in my area for those reasons. You can do the same to releive your fears. This is what I was told. As long as there is food, water, basic utilities, and a phone, then there is NO AGE that say is okay or not okay. It is up to the PARENT to know their child and make sure they are a responsible child. Mine was 9 when he began to stay home two hours, basically until I was home from work. He was and still is taking classes in school 2+ years older than he is. He was always very responsible with anything he was asked to do and even things he wasn't, he just did. I started him out though saying I was going to the gym and I would leave and loop back and knock on the door and he would not answer or even move a curtain to see who it was. I did not want anyone to ever know he was home alone..you know the "bad guys". He was tested many times and never knew it. When I got home he would tell me someone knocked but he knew not to even look and that I had my phone if for some reason I needed him to open the door for me. I would set basic rules and then test her. My rules were, no talking on the phone so that I knew he would look at the caller ID to make sure it was me calling, no moving the curtains to look out, no going outside, no friends over...plus we had two watch dogs too. I may be missing more rules. Do what makes you feel comfortable. Call Children's Services and your local Police Department and they will tell you what you need to know and give you a piece of mind.

1 mom found this helpful

I think it all depends on the child. I actually was a babysitter at that age. I was also raised around older kids/people, so I too was very responsible and mature for my age. I recall staying home by myself starting at age 9 or 10. Of course, it wasn't for hours on end, but long enough for my dad to get home from work, or my mom from the store. I think your daughter should be fine for a few hours, esp. since relatives live so close.

1 mom found this helpful

I was also one of those girls that not only was staying home alone at that age, but also babysitting. I watched my brother who is two years younger than me and also sat for a family of 5. My mother always gave me and my brother chores to do while she was gone and I think it helped teach me responsibility. At that age we were not normally left for any more than a few hours at a time as my mom worked part time and would be able to leave her job early if something came up like a snow or sick day. I think that only you can tell when your daughter is ready to stay at home by herself. If you feel confident in her ability to take care of herself then perhaps she is ready. What ever your decision, I'm sure it will be the right one.

1 mom found this helpful

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