General chatter - At what age would you leave your child home alone??




mammasita
02-23-2012, 12:16 PM
This might contradict my thoughts about one of my sons friends whose mother drops him off in our neighborhood....

I digress.....

I'm just wondering what is acceptable when leaving a child home alone? I have left my son home during the day when he is out of school with rules/conditions (just a few, for example):
* I work 10 minutes away so I frequently go home to check on him (2-3x)
* We call/text throughout the day
* He isn't allowed to cook anything on the stove or open the door

I'm wondering if this is any different than leaving him alone for a few hours in the evening. Tonight for example, when we go out to our work dinner. Is it ok to leave him from ~6-9PM? I'm not going out partying and drinking - but does that make it OK because I'm not?

I guess I'm just curious about what others have done/ would do. I know my son is capable and I trust him to be alone for a few hours at a time, it just seems less acceptable to leave him during the evening than it is to leave him for a few hours to go to work.


rachaelm
02-23-2012, 12:24 PM
Of course this is a very subjective subject. How old is your son?

I think you have to take into account their personal maturity. In the states that do have laws, it's usually between 11-12 years of age.

mammasita
02-23-2012, 12:25 PM
Of course this is a very subjective subject. How old is your son?

I think you have to take into account their personal maturity. In the states that do have laws, it's usually between 11-12 years of age.

Agreed. It is subjective. My son is 11, and I do trust him to be home alone for a couple hours at a time.


rachaelm
02-23-2012, 12:27 PM
Then I would say let go of your guilt and enjoy your evening. I understand what you're saying though, it's for 'fun' not work, so your mommy guilt is pinging. LOL

mammasita
02-23-2012, 12:29 PM
@rachaelm - based on your mention of state laws, I looked up my state (which I probably should have done long before this :o)

Virginia does not have an age set, BUT the site mentions all of the pertinent concerns: maturity level, follows rules etc.....

http://www.dss.virginia.gov/files/division/dfs/cps/child_abuse_prevention_month/2011/health_safety/19leavingchild.pdf

mammasita
02-23-2012, 12:30 PM
Then I would say let go of your guilt and enjoy your evening. I understand what you're saying though, it's for 'fun' not work, so your mommy guilt is pinging. LOL

LOL! exactly. It's a work dinner, but its still NOT work.

PinkLotus
02-23-2012, 12:36 PM
I agree with other posters, it depends on the maturity of the child. Some are ready to be left alone earlier than others.

mandalinn82
02-23-2012, 12:36 PM
It depends SO MUCH on the kid that it is nearly impossible to say.

My parents left my sister and I to take care of ourselves after school after my grandma passed away, when I was 9 and my sister was 10. We had rules about what we were allowed to do, locking the door, etc. I was totally not responsible enough to handle it by myself, so my sister was "in charge".

If your kid was more like me, it might be a bad idea. If he's more like my sister, it'd likely be fine. Hard to say without knowing! But if you feel he's responsible enough, and it's just mommy guilt getting you, I'd relax a bit.

joyc21
02-23-2012, 12:41 PM
I will echo everyone else in that it completely depends on your child. I've left my 11 year-old home alone and I've also left my 11 and 10 year olds alone together. However, I wouldn't leave my 10 year old home alone more than 10 minutes my herself.

mammasita
02-23-2012, 12:54 PM
Thanks Everyone :D

XLMuffnTop
02-23-2012, 12:54 PM
Ditto. It makes all the difference what the personality of the child is like.

I remember being 11 years old and getting strep throat. My mom left me at home alone while she went to work. She was unable to come check on me until she came home at five. Granted, I couldn't move and was running 103 fever but she didn't know that when she left. LOL

Go with your gut. If you leave him alone, is there a neighbor that you can even have peek out their window and may sure nothing "strange" is going on? Odds are the worst that will happen is he'll watch something on TV or the internet you're not 100% in approval of. (I know I did!)

rachaelm
02-23-2012, 01:06 PM
...Odds are the worst that will happen is he'll watch something on TV or the internet you're not 100% in approval of. (I know I did!)

I had to laugh at this, I remember my aunt telling my mom one time, "The easiest way to keep them (the four 'tweens) occupied is to let them watch an R rate movie." :D It worked, we thought it was awesome that we were watching something 'for grownups. LOL

JudgeDread
02-23-2012, 02:10 PM
I took babysitting classes when I was 11 or 12! Course I was a farm kid, and there's not a lot to get in trouble doing with other kids...and by then I was allowed to play outside alone since I was very young.

Vex
02-23-2012, 02:44 PM
Yeah I think 12 is usually around when that starts to happen from what I've heard from other people.

Some of the questions I'd probably ask my son to start thinking about if he is ready are:

"tell me what the phone number is where you can reach me"
"tell me what to do in an emergency"
"what's our full address?"
"where's the fire extinguisher and tell me how it works"

just thoughts....

ValRock
02-23-2012, 03:06 PM
I was watching other people's kids by the time I was 11!

When we lived in Japan I had no problem leaving my son, (6 at the time), home to run quick errands in the neighborhood. He knew where to go if he needed help, knew how to operate the phone, and it's pretty standard there. Younger kids rode the train alone to school! I miss being there, for reasons like that, SO Much.

35X35
02-23-2012, 10:41 PM
I was babysitting other kids when I was 11-12 also!

In our state there are not specific age laws but the child needs to have a way to reach his/her caregivers, know what to do in an emergency, and have food/water available and so forth.

My kids are still way too young but I could imagine leaving my oldest for a few minutes here and there in a couple years because she is very much a 'rule follower' and not a risk-taker by nature, and pretty mature.

At 11? Definitely -- if they were responsible in other areas of life and displayed that they knew what to do in an emergency.

ddc
02-24-2012, 01:11 PM
I feel like what you suggested in your first post.
When my son was 12, I would leave him in the daytime alone for ~1hr while I took my daughter to her music lesson.
But, I would not leave him alone in the evening. Even now, at 14, I would not feel comfortable with that.

Oh, and that's when I found out that he had been looking at inappropriate pictures on the internet.
On the computer history, it showed inappropriate sites on the days and times that he was alone during the music lessons. Just something else to consider :dizzy:

Sum38
02-24-2012, 01:28 PM
I was home alone around 10.

I did not leave my kids alone until they turned 12. We are not big on going out and they were not home alone at night until they were 15 or 16 years old.

mammasita
02-24-2012, 01:34 PM
Oh, and that's when I found out that he had been looking at inappropriate pictures on the internet.
On the computer history, it showed inappropriate sites on the days and times that he was alone during the music lessons. Just something else to consider :dizzy:

ABSOLUTELY. My son KNOWS that I have control over all of that stuff and I check...frequently....and that his things will be taken away if I find inappropriate activity. Not saying that always deters them though LOL

We ended up leaving him at the house for the couple hours we were at dinner. He did well, I quizzed him about safety and emergencies before I left and texted him about every 30 minutes (overkill maybe? LOL)

I'm not making a habit of leaving him home like last night, but its nice to know I can if the situation arises.

ParadiseFalls
02-26-2012, 09:29 PM
My mom (a teacher and a generally responsible person) left me home alone during the day for errands sometimes when I was that age. I'm not a mom, but I always felt safe at that age home alone.

shishkeberry
02-28-2012, 12:05 PM
I have left my 7 year old son home alone while I went to the corner store across the street for milk but I wouldn't leave him alone for more than that. The store is seriously right across the street from our house. As a child my mother would regularly leave me home alone with my siblings, starting when I was about 9 and they were 8 and 3. She's lucky the worst we ever did was steal from the Turkey Hill down the street.