15 answers

How Old Should a Child Be Before You Let Them Stay at Home by Themselves

My son is nine years old and he wants to stay at home when I go to the store or to run errands. He is very responsible, for the most part, but he's my little boy and I don't want to risk his safety just to let him "spread his wings". What do you think? How old is old enough?

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Well being a sinlge mom is different. and sometimes we have to do things different than others. So I do believe there is a law of 12 yrs. However I have left my 9 yo old son to run to the store. He is also very responsible as well. Make sure he knows how to use the phone and what to do in an emergency. We role palyed just so he would have an idea of what to do in certain situations. My neighbore at the time was great if he needed her she was available. talk to a neighbore you can trust and run over what to do if somethnig happens. All the way to if your not back in 30 min or more. As long as he and you know what to expect things will be fine or at least comfortable for 30 min. Remember you know your son and you decide when he is ready for independance/responsibility because they don't realize the danger or consequences. good luck and God bless. D.

I think there is a state law in Texas regarding the age. I think it is 12, but I'm not certain. I'm a bit overprotective, I know, so I personally probably wouldn't do it yet, but...

Of course, I think some common sense is in order... :) He sounds very mature, and the activities you are speaking of sound like you wouldn't be gone for very long. Maybe let a neighbor you trust know what you will be trying to do (so that they can kind of keep an eye on his welfare) and then try it a time or two to see how it goes?

I'm not crazy about the idea, but that would be a possibility.


You know every child is different. If you think your child is old enough, do a practice run of it. Take a walk around the block with your cell phone. Have him call you and you call him to see how he handles it. Go through different scenarios and find out what he would do in each situation. If you feel he's ready after the trial run, go for it in short periods of time. My twin sister and I were home alone by 4th grade after school until my mom (single mom) got home from work around 6pm. We had chores to do and were responsible for getting our homework done. There were never any issues with us. We were pretty responsible though for the most part. Go with your instinct, it's usually right. Also, this may sound stupid and I don't know if you should but you might ask the Child Protective Services personnel their opinion on the matter or the police. Just a thought.

My mom wouldnt leave me at home by my self till i was 11, but i was also mature, and babysitting at that age. I do believe there is a state law also on an age, im just not sure what it is!! Good Luck!!

Its a scary situation to have to decide when to let go of our children so they can prove their worth. I am not sure on what the right age is for letting ones child stay home alone but what i do know it by law there really isnt no age bracket. The most thing one has to look at and decide is how well your child will handle a emergancy situation. Most will tell you if your child cannot know what to do in any emergancy situation then it is not good to allow them to stay home alone. That is what i have heard from most child care workers and such. If you feel your son knows what to do if the situation arises then try it out, most likely nothing happens but it is always good to know he does know what to do if something does happen. Hard to know when to let go... good luck

I think there is a law in TX, but I have done it w/ my boy when he was 9, he is 10 now. He has done very well. He calls me & I call him. Just make sure he knows the rules and what to do in an emergency. Good Luck!

I have a ten year-old who also is very responsible for his age. I am just now allowing him to stay home by himself if I have a quick errand to run or if his dad is on the way home and I have to be somewhere. Not usually more than 30 minutes at the most. I think it really depends on the maturity level of the child.

I personally understand his desire, but I personally don't think it is a good idea. That said, there is NO law in Texas that determines "the age" that children can be left alone. Look here: http://dick-price.blogspot.com/2007/08/should-you-leave-y...

A woman I worked with left her 9 yo son at home alone for awhile and he began jumping on the bed and fell through a window. Fortunately he was okay but the police came out and told her she could get into trouble leaving a child under the age of 10 unattended. This was about 5 years ago and I don't know if this is still the case, but you may want to check with the police department. Luckily the incident did not go anywhere but she was told CPS could get involved. Her son was pretty sharp for his age but he got bored. Guess he was doing some serious jumping!

From what I understand any child under 12 should be attended at all times, but when I was growing up it was much younger.

I would say if he is mature enough start out with smaller times and then progress to longer amounts of time!!

Good Luck!!

At 9 my daughter started staying home for 30 minutes or so and slowly we have increased it. She is 11 now and I still rarely leave her home alone for more than 90 minutes, but I am sure she would be fine if I did. I think if you aren't going to be far, it is fine.

I would never let my kid stay home alone until they are at least 12 or 13. I am a worry wart though. But that keeps my kids safe. But he is your child and if you think he is ready then go for it. If you do decide to keep him home then tell him the rules and leave him home for about 30 minutes and see how it goes.

If you know that he is mature enough and he knows when to call 911 and all that--then I think it is fine for just a little while. Start out 20 or 30 min then maybe a little more later.

Leaving your kids at home alone is something to discuss with for them to be ready. As a single mom my kid is my only treasure in this world that's I provided them with a best safety tool they can use if emergency strikes. To know more check out on this link http://tidbitsfromamom.blogspot.com/2011/08/safekidzone-r...

This really depends on your child and his maturity.

My daughter at 9 was ok with me being away for 1/2 hour or so for errands, etc. We have increased that time depending on her behavior/responsibility up until present. Right now she is good to be alone (13 yrs) for a while but I still keep a lot of contact via cell phone and home phone. A rule is....if she does not answer either phone after reasonable attempt, (I know she gets caught up on phone with friends, wii, etc) I am coming after her with authorities. That has not failed me yet. She keeps both phones in same room to prevent that from happening.


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