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Kids being home alone for short periods

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Old 07-27-2013, 12:00 PM   #1
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Question Kids being home alone for short periods

In Illinois the age is 14 but I think that's a bit old considering I was home alone at 10 before cell phones and pagers and survived just fine. Depending on a child's individual maturity level (of course) at what age were you comfortable leaving your kid/kids alone just to run to the store or something? I'm not talking alone overnight. I wouldn't be comfortable with that until he's much older but then I would have to worry about parties. :/ I know I've done that to my parents too many times and I'm sure payback is coming.

My son is almost 11. I live in a condo and my Dad lives in the condo directly above me. The stairs are right next to our entry door so he could always go up there if need be. He knows not to open doors for strangers (unlikely in secure building) and also knows to go to the lower level garage if there was ever tornado sirens. He knows how to feed himself and use a microwave, stove is not allowed yet.

I'm thinking by 11-12 he should be okay. What was your comfort zone?
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:46 PM   #2
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If you're just going to the store or something, I think he would be fine since your dad is upstairs. Of course, even better, he could go hang out with Grandpa anyway. Be sure to lock your computer, my youngest saw something on a talk show and had to check out sex.com when he was that age.
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:56 PM   #3
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My computer is always locked.

I'm not comfortable just yet but in about a year I think I will be okay with running to the store/gas station without him...unless he wants to come with.
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:21 PM   #4
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My son turned 11 in January and I just started allowing him to stay home for very short periods. My oldest wasn't quite as mature, so he wasn't left home until probably 12 or 13.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:38 PM   #5
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I was left home alone for a few hrs at a time (2-4) by 8 or 9 and was babysitting by 12.

I was also cooking meals on my own, stove and all, at 7 or 8 so maybe knowledge about how to work the oven properly (gas or electric) made my mom more confident. she was also a single mom and a student so maybe part of it was nessecity when I would get sick and she couldn't get the babysitter early or the babysitter cancelled, etc. She would call or stop in between classes to check on me.

It all depends on your child though, I was boring and mostly just read or watched tv so she didn't really have to worry about me causing problems.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:43 PM   #6
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Michigan says 12 and that was the age I felt comfortable leaving them home alone for a short period of time.

Your father living upstairs, I would say you can leave him alone for a few minute grocery run.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:12 PM   #7
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I have an easy-going, mellow, risk-averse kid. I was able to run out to the store (30-60 min) when he was 8. As long as he had a piece of paper in his hand with my cell phone # on it, and the assurance that I would always drop what I was doing and come home if he needed me, he was perfectly content. I think it totally depends on the kid. Kid is now 14, and has proven himself to be trustworthy and responsible. We can go out for dinner and a concert now. Overnight - uh, no. Not yet.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:18 PM   #8
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I was left home alone for two hours everyday after school starting age 9 until my mother got home from work.

And I turned out great!

But I think it depends on the kid, my middle sister who is older wasn't allowed to be home alone until she was 12. I mother purposely put her school activities that were immediately after class ended. She was just more wild and unpredictable. I would come home, make a snack and do my homework and be trusted to lock the door when I was picked up for soccer practice.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:32 PM   #9
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My boys were 8 & 10 one summer when I started running to a local store, literally 15 min round trip. By the next summer I was stretching it to 30-45 min.

Now my oldest is 14 and I've left him alone for 4 hours. My youngest is 12, and I'd feel comfortable leaving him for 2 hours alone. And if they are home together, probably 4 hours.

The way I look at is that I was babysitting for other kids for multiple hours by the time I was 13. Surely my boys can take care of themselves. But of course, it depends on the kids and their demonstrated ability to handle themselves responsibly. And their ability to handle an emergency if need be.

ETA: there is no law in PA setting a minimum age.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:46 PM   #10
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I always worry about what if something happens to me and I can't get back. My older one is nine, very mellow and I know he wouldn't do anything crazy. But even when I run to the corner (literally on our block) store he's uncomfortable, so I think it'll be a while. I do sometimes wish that I could do my workout (about an hour) with him home alone.
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