Home Alone - Dallas,TX

Updated on July 30, 2013
V.P. asks from Dallas, TX
14 answers

After many years of therapy (still continuing) both of my children have overcome many of their emotional issues and we have been having good years recently. My daughter just got certified to be a babysitter (11yr old) and my son is 8. Their school is less than 1/2 block away, they both have shown a desire to walk home after school. They are aware of the safety plans, numbers to call, all rules about being home alone. My daughter has proven to be responsible and her emotional growth has surpassed my expectations and the 8yr old is actually more calm at home and follows instructions when he is more rested. So my question: would it be neglectful of me to let them walk home after school? They would be alone for about 2hrs daily. I would pay for after school care and have done so every year thus far, however, it would be so nice for me to be able to use that $$ on extracurricular activities instead. (my ex doesn't pay a cent of CS or any extracurricular or daycare fees).

I also wonder if they want to walk home because they know I can't pay for everything, or maybe they feel my stress because I need to rush to pick them up from the daycare or after school program (late fees are awful). During the summer, I take them to daycare (they don't like that either) if I left them at home, their uncle would check on them during the day (before getting to his job) and I would have a neighbor check on them too. As a child their age, I was home alone and no one bothered my mom about it or me.

I'm struggling, as I see there is no law about age and leaving children alone in Texas - I don't get a straight answer from CPS and cops don't really give me a straight answer. I definitely don't want to give the ex any reasons to use against me out of spite.


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So What Happened?

Moms, thank you all for your suggestions, advice and experiences. I feel better now that I have read through all your answers. Thankfully, both are very good to each other and make a good team. I did register them for care early in the summer and then they were gone all of July (with the ex)...so I have August to think about. One week of care is worth millions for peace of mind (so true!). My youngest brother is in college and doesn't have a set work schedule (he does help me a lot when he can though). I talked with my mother and she travel to Big D to help me out. As for letting them be home alone during the school year - a neighbor sound like a great option and so does a HS student. I will definitely look into that and how to keep the house key safe (I love the keylock idea!). They don't have cell phones, but we have a house phone and they both have wifi devices they can use internet to call or text me. The neighborhood is safe and I haven't seen anyone outside that doesn't belong. However, we just moved into the area early this summer - so this will be a new school for them. I did have a neighbor immediately offer to help me with the kids either at her home or checking on them. I've watched her this summer and seems like a nice woman with her grand-kids and daughter. In the past I've kept them in after school program - except for my son - he had to get picked up by a different daycare - his personality cannot handle being in the same place for so long, especially school. It is very hard for him to be there from 7:45am to 6pm daily (I totally get that) and although it was extra difficult for me to go to two places rushing, it was totally worth it because he grew more responsible and enjoyed school much more that way. According to the Texas Department of Family Services, there are two daycare centers in my area that pick up school age children - we will check those out too. I think the best will be a combination of the various ideas I received and 'grow' from there. Thank you so much!!! - I don't feel so nervous about this anymore.

Featured Answers


answers from Austin on

I stayed home alone after school starting in 3rd grade. I had no problems.

I came home called my mom to let er know I was home. Had a snackand did my homework..

I knew the rules.
Do not answer the door. If someone knocked call my mom or a neighbor lady.

Do not play outside until my mom was home. And do not use the stove.

Once I was in 5th grade, I was able to start dinner. Again never had a problem..

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Tampa on

I would see it as your daughters first babysitting gig. If she's old enough to Watch other people's kids why not her younger brother.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

In Los Angeles the age to stay home alone with a younger sibling was 13 years old. Personally, as a mom myself and hearing about so many tragedies that have happened and can happen I would Never do this. All the money in the world can't bring your children back. It is not worth it to me when I outweigh pros and cons. Kids can live without extracurricular activities. Children at that age cannot be held responsible for another child. My daughters babysit for me on RARE occasions and they are in their 20's and I still worry. Sorry my response is No Way. Also, if they are at school being cared for you will have peace of mind and that is also something you can't put a price tag on.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If they get along well, sure you can leave them. If they tend to fight, not so sure I would.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

There is a law called neglectful supervision. I do not see how an 11 year old can be held responsible for an 8 year old....anything can happen...I also don't understand putting that burden on a child. I have been where you are and say pay the money for care....good luck to you

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Well if she is old enough to babysit, then she is old enough to be alone with her brother for 2 hours. Have them call you when they get home.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think they are too young...I didn't leave my son home alone until he was almost 13. That's just me though. ..I think I would have more of a problem with letting them walk home alone than actually being in the house alone

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Could you get a high school student to do the 2 hours of after-school care for you?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My oldest two are 8 and 10. Last Tuesday they stayed home alone from about 11-415. The sitter took the 6 year old to his old babysitter's house when she left at 11, and I went home at 12 for lunch, stayed until 1. So they really had maybe 3.5 hours alone.

When I got home, the house was cleaned, laundry done, hamburgers put together for dinner, etc. They did GREAT! That was the only day they had to stay home alone for a few hours, but they will also do it today, Thursday, and next Tuesday. They are in VBS this week until noon, so only 3-4 hours each day. I will take a late lunch on the days they are home to break up the time.

My daughter (10) and son (8) argue sometimes, but it's very rare. I would not leave the 6 year old home with them yet even if it was legal.

As far as the walking home from school...I was doing that in 4th grade, but it still would scare the beejeusus out of me now (sorry if I misspelled that). I just don't trust other people. What about if you try it a few times and see how it goes? Do they have cell phones? Do they know to call when they are home?

It really depends on their maturity level and your comfort level, as well as theirs. I think it's okay if everyone feels confident.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

If it is a good neighborhood, they should be fine walking home and staying alone for a couple hours each day.

Staying home alone every day during the summer is a little different. That's a lot of unsupervised time. At least in a daycare situation, they are supervised by adults and are able to be around other kids their ages. Most daycares I know take field trips and do fun activities to entertain the kids during the summer months. I wouldn't do the all day thing. Honestly, in this day and age, I wouldn't even want my teenagers staying home alone all day every day during the summer months. Too much can happen.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tyler on

Hey -
I think it would be fine for them to stay home alone. However, there are several things to think about:
1. Do they fight with each other? If they do, maybe you should not send them both home. Maybe just your daughter? (although I would not be a big fan of my daughter walking home alone).
2. Is the neighborhood safe for walking home alone? Are there any loiterers around?
3. Is there a neighbor who picks up her children? Maybe she can pick yours up and drop them off at your house?
4. Are they going to carry a key or use a hide a key? If they use a hide a key, they absolutely CANNOT tell anyone where it is or let anyone see them retrieve it.
5. They cannot tell anyone they are staying home alone. If someone asks, they should say that they are going to a neighbors house or someone is at home (ie, you need to teach them to lie in order to protect their safety).
6. You can get a keycode lock so they would need to know a code to get in the door and not have to worry about losing a key or keeping a key hidden outside.
7. This is costly, but you can get a camera to install in your house and monitor via your phone or the internet.

My son is 10 and I let him stay home when I run errands. But, he still attends afterschool care. My daughter is 5 and I never let her stay home alone or with her brother. And, I'm not 100% sure when I will be comfortable with her staying home - even with her brother. I KNOW I am way more protective of her freedom than I am of his (there are too many freaks/creeps in the world that target girls).

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Kids that are 12 can babysit other kids so they really must be able to watch themselves by that time.

We plan on starting home alone training at age 10. I don't plan on letting her do any babysitting until she's shown she can manage home alone time very well on her own first. Then, maybe then, I'll let her babysit her brother until I get home. But no way she is responsible enough to watch herself and him at 10 years old.

So the plan is to let her get very comfortable within the home, so she won't get frightened.

Once she is doing very well we do plan on starting starting home alone training at 10 when he's 10 also.



answers from Cleveland on

I vote too young yet to be left home together. might be diff if it was only one kid but 2 is probably not great.

is there another family in the neighborhood that has an adult home that could watch them cheaper for you.



answers from Washington DC on

I am with Patty K. My middle brother and I were latchkey kids briefly until my mom learned that we had knock-down, drag out fights every day.

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