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Home Alone?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm wondering how everyone feels about kids being home alone? I know I spent time home alone by the age of 12, maybe even a little before that. And I was watching my little sis (9 years younger than me).

I was pretty responsable and never has anything happen while I was home alone. Obviously some kids shouldn't be home alone at all. Maturity does matter here.

I've let my dd stay home alone for short periods of time for over a year. She is very responsable, we have neighbors that are home and DH and I both have cells so can be contacted at any moment. So I don't worry. But I did at first. And we do have a no answering the door policy. And no answering the phone policy (the benefits of caller ID, she know when DH or I are calling).

So what age is ok with you guys? I think I worry about 16 year olds being home alone more than a 13 year old.
post #2 of 12
Hi Arduinna,
Here's my two cents. I think you really have to know your child and decide with her if it's ok. my parents left me home alone afterschool for about 3 hours since I was 11 - they had no choice. we lived in an apartment and the next door neighbors were always home and knew i was alone. My parents had no cell phones, but this was 20 years ago - a different time in many respects. Anyway, my point is, it was ok with them because I was quiet, independent, liked to have my space and pretty obedient. I would make myself some snacks even and my grandma still reminds that I would call her occasionally asking how to make boiled eggs or something. The being alone part was good because i developed a sense of maturity, responsibility and an interest in cooking. It was bad because i also developed an addiction to television which lasted many, many years. Being home alone after school continued for as long as i remember. my parents just had to work and the after school options were limited and i didn't like them, so they let me do what I wanted which was go home. The point is though that they trusted me to be able to take care of myself and they were right to do it. It seems you trust your daughter to take care of herself and you consider her responsible, so there's no reason at 13 you should be afraid to let her be at home by herself. As for leaving her at 16, I think that if she gets used now to the fact that she has this freedom because you trust her to act responsibly, she won't be as likely to abuse that freedom when she gets older because she'll know how important your trust is and she won't want to violate that. At least that's how I felt about it at that age.
take care,
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
oh yes, your right. Somehow I do think there is a difference between leaving a kid home alone every day after school for 3 + hours vs leaving them home alone while you run to the store ect. At least for me there is a difference. But I don;t want to debate other parents choices.

My dd has never been at home without being asked if that's what she wanted. But I really started this thread to see what other parents thought about leaving their own kids at home. Such as what's important to them for kids to know ect.
post #4 of 12
There are state laws that determine the ages that are legally acceptable for children to be left alone, I think it's important to note that. In california where I am I believe the gae is 12. But that doesn't matter, because I am cryogenically freezing minbe when they reach puberty!
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
LOL your too funny. I guess I never thought about state laws. Of course I grew up in CA so 12 seemed right to me!
post #6 of 12
well ducking any whizzing cyber plates that might come my way<grinning> and Im always open to critique - but I leave my kiddos alone at about 10 to do things like run to the store and so forth- cell phones and neighbors in place- big dog and rules -
You asked about rules, we have the moms in the shower line for phone calls and no door answering policy- usually their older brother or sister is home in the back of the house anyways and I do it for limited amts of time ie-an hour or so tops- usually more than 20 minutes and I make them tag along- but like taking the older kid to school if they miss their bus or something? I leave the middle ones- (I always take the baby with me tho)
Ofcourse I do NOT leave the younger one (3 and 1/2) alone with anyone except the older kids, 14 and 16- I have left him as a baby alone with them out of neccessity occasionally, not on a regular basis but for appts and so forth since they were 12 and 14 and to be honest I did have an incident that my daughter at 12 totally spaced the baby then out-
She didnt babysit again for about a year- there was no bad outcome, everything was fine, but thankfully we found out about it- This is not to say I think everyone should try this, this is just what I arrived at as the best way to fill my family's needs according to their abilities-
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mary, no plates flying from me *smile*

I do it for the same reason, errands. Now that I think of it, I think I was about that age when errands got very boring unless I was getting to buy something, lol.
post #8 of 12
Do you have a reference for the law being 12 in California? I'd hard that there was no age here for a child being left alone, just some vague wording about "reasonable". Maybe that's for babysitting another child?

In Arizona, I know the guidelines were up to 4 hours for 4-8 yr olds (!!!) and up to 8 hours for (I think) 8-12. I know because our upstairs neighbors worked evenings and left their tiny 5 and 8 yr old daughters alone from 3:30, when they got home from school, until 11 or so, running through the apartment complex, and after trying to bring it up with them some of us did call and report them... it just wasn't safe. OTOH, my other neighbor would leave her 6 and 7 yr olds home alone for an hour and half after school, and they seemed perfectly safe, because they knew a lot of the neighbors and knew to come to us if something went wrong, and they would otherwise stay in the house with the door bolted until mom got home... and she only worked about a mile away.

I leave my daughter (9) home alone. Now we live on a farm and I wouldn't leave her if the people living in the main farmhouse weren't home, but when we lived in the city and she was 8-turning-9 I'd leave her for an hour or so, with the protective dogs and 2 cell phone numbers. I don't think every kid that age would be safe doing this, but you have to know your kids.


post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
woooo up to 4 hours for 4-8 year old?? I can't imagine leaving a 4 year old at all, but up to 4 hours is just mindblowing.
post #10 of 12
I started staying home alone when I was 8, once a week for about an hour while mom took brother to piano lessons. When my brother got to be about 8, we would occasionally be home alone while parents ran errands or went to meetings, never for >3 hours or so. No cellphones, but we always had dad's work # or a # where parent was going to be. We started staying alone for full days (school vacations whenever both parents were working) when I was 12 and brother was 9-1/2. They left us overnight for the first time when I was 15.

All this was IMO on the young side, but it was okay because I was very mature and cautious and rule-abiding. My brother is similar but showed slightly poorer judgment, so he was allowed to stay home alone without me at a later age--10 or 11--after he spent his very first time alone trying to make candy by melting chocolate in a pan on the stove and made a horrible mess and caught a potholder on fire....

Anyway, as usual, the thing to do is to be mindful of your individual child. Also, I think it's important to start with a short interval and work up gradually.

For me, being home alone was a very positive experience. It helped me feel confident of my ability to take care of myself.
post #11 of 12
My dd is 9 and she is left alone sometimes. Not for long but she never wants to come to the store with me... and if I am not in the mood to make her she stays by herself. Of course she has a cell phone and we do to so... I am always reachable.
post #12 of 12
When I was 6 or 7 I use to come home from school at lunch time to an empty house and make my own sandwich.At 11 (after my parents divorce) I was home alone from 2:30 pm til well after midnight while mom worked then went for drinks with the girls after work,this after we moved out of state and knew NOBODY in the neighborhood. Again I fixed my own meals and was forbidden to set foot outside of the apartment while mom was gone.This wasn't a great life for me. My dd is only 8 and I don't leave her home alone,although I found out when she visits grandpa he goes to the store and leaves her for a bit,but the store is across the street and he has the cell phone,so it's not really the same type of isolative situation I endured.
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