17 answers

Leaving Kids Home Alone

What age did you start to leave your children home alone for short periods of time?
AND what was the things ( outside using phone and dialing 911 ) or the signs
that help you decide that they are ready? Stragedies on perparing them also are welcome.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I would say no sooner than 12. Although I have a very responsible 9 yr old, I live in a fairly populated area and just don't trust the other residents in my neighborhood. Perhaps you could make up a chore list for them and explain that as soon as they can complete the list without being told, then they are ready to take on a little more responsibility by leaving them unattended for up to an hr at a time. Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful

I dont plan on leaving my kids alone until the oldest is at least 16 then my youngest will be 14. That might be a bit strict but better safe than sorry.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I would say no sooner than 12. Although I have a very responsible 9 yr old, I live in a fairly populated area and just don't trust the other residents in my neighborhood. Perhaps you could make up a chore list for them and explain that as soon as they can complete the list without being told, then they are ready to take on a little more responsibility by leaving them unattended for up to an hr at a time. Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful

Here is what the State of Texas says..

How old must a child be to be left home alone?

Answer: Supervision of children is basic to the prevention of harm. Adequate supervision means an adult caregiver is accountable for the child's care. Although, there is no Texas law that defines a specific age at which a child may be left home alone, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding how closely to supervise a child, including:

* the age, emotional maturity and capability of the child;
* layout and safety of the home, play area, or other setting;
* neighborhood circumstances, hazards, and risks;
* the child's ability to respond to illness, fire, weather, or other types of emergencies; and
* whether the child has a mental, physical, or medical disability.

The number of children left unsupervised, the accessibility to other responsible adults, the length of time or frequency with which the child is left alone, and the child's knowledge of the parent's whereabouts are additional relevant factors.
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It depends on the child. Our daughter would stay home while I ran to the grocery store when she was 9. We worked up to a little longer each year.

They need to know 911, trusted neighbor phone numbers. I also told her to never answer the door if anyone knocked. And not to go outside or invite a friend over.

She also knew not to use the stove or oven.

Now that we have cell phones, I am sure your child could call you immediately and you would feel a lot more secure than I did..

3 moms found this helpful

I dont plan on leaving my kids alone until the oldest is at least 16 then my youngest will be 14. That might be a bit strict but better safe than sorry.

3 moms found this helpful

I asked a former CPS worker this one time. In AZ there is no legal age when they can stay home alone. This man said that there were some 6 and 7 year olds he would trust alone and some 16 or 17 year olds he wouldn't. Untimately there are 3 things they need to be able to do 1. Know what to do when someone calls or comes by 2. what to do in an emergency 3 be able to get food if they need it. I personally started leaving my oldest at age 9 for 20 minutes or so when I needed to go pick up other kids from school. By 11 I was leaving her babysitting her 4 younger siblings for several hours at a time (with our next door neighbor checking in every once in a while) I say just go with your gut. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

I think it completely goes by how much you trust your child and how mature your child is..I have a 10 yr old daughter and an 8 and 7 yr old sons my 10 and 8 yr old are both very responsible and I leave them home for up to 2 hours by themselves but it has to be all of them or none of them...doors locked, they dont answer the door for ANYBODY and they have a phone...I go over what is safe and what is and is not allowed while I am gone...They have been doing great but I will prob wait till my daughter is 11 before she can start babysitting her brothers...I usally only leave them home when I have to go to the grocery store or run a few errands and they dont want to be dragged along...

2 moms found this helpful

My parents used to leave us alone every week day from 5 to 7 pm as they went to their second jobs.
They began when I was 11 and my siblings 9, 6 and 5. They trusted us (especially the 2 older ones). We are now all responsible adults and nothing ever happened to us, but we were too young for that kind of responsibility. I remember, some evening we would fight/misbehave but our parents would never know. Kind of a siblings loyalty pact. Whatever happened during these 2 hours was our secret and we always managed to have the chores/homework done, so we wouldn't get into trouble.... It's a miracle we all survived!
I think 10-12 is a good age if all children are into this age frame and reliable. Don't leave a 10 years old alone with toddlers!

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with other moms, it really depends on the child. Do they know how to handle an emergency...someone at the door, a fire, an injury. It's one thing to explain things to them, but you need to "rehears" situations with them as well. We used to role play calling 911 and how to handle other emergencies. I know 11 year olds who would do fine and 16 year old who would not.
Trust your instincts. If they are old enough, have them take a baby sitting course. I know Phoenix Fire offers one.

1 mom found this helpful

I recommend checking with your local law enforcement to be sure you are complying with state and local laws regarding the appropriate age they deem 'legal' to allow them to stay home alone. I think it is around 12 or 13, but I am not positive. Don't borrow trouble.

1 mom found this helpful

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