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At what age would you leave your child home alone??

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Old 02-23-2012, 11:16 AM   #1
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Default At what age would you leave your child home alone??

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.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:24 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:25 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:27 AM   #4
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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
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:29 AM   #5
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@rachaelm - based on your mention of state laws, I looked up my state (which I probably should have done long before this )

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/di...avingchild.pdf
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:30 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:36 AM   #7
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I agree with other posters, it depends on the maturity of the child. Some are ready to be left alone earlier than others.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:36 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:41 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:54 AM   #10
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Thanks Everyone
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:54 AM   #11
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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!)
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:06 PM   #12
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...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." It worked, we thought it was awesome that we were watching something 'for grownups. LOL
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:10 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:44 PM   #14
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Default re:

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....
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:06 PM   #15
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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.
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