What age do you leave them home alone? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 51 Old 01-13-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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I just started allowing my 11-year-old ds to stay home alone for short periods of time (like an hour). We live in the country, so I wasn't comfortable with the idea a few years ago. Last year my dh and I offered to let him stay home while we took a short walk up the road, and ds said "no." This year, however, he asked if he could stay home during his sister's Brownie meetings. Like pp, we have very strict rules.

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#32 of 51 Old 01-13-2007, 11:55 AM
 
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In our local newspaper, there was an article about leaving kids alone. The article was talking about home alone after school while the parents worked, but relevant to this thread, too.

The article said age 9 was the legally accepted age when children can be left alone. I do not know if that was a state law or what.

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#33 of 51 Old 01-13-2007, 11:56 AM
 
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My husband and I have been disagreeing about leaving our daughter home alone while we run errands. She'll be 10 next month, and she is very mature and trustworthy, but I wasn't ready to leave her. He insists that if we leave her for short periods it will boost her self-confidence and make her feel responsible.
Your dh is right.

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Originally Posted by lunabelly View Post
We do have a neighbor my daughter could call in a pinch, but I think I'm going to wait another year-ish. She's totally ready to be left alone, and she's a homebody, so she's always asking if she can stay while I run errands. I'm not sure what I'll tell her the next time she asks.
It sounds to me like not wanting to leave her is your issue, and has nothing to do with your child's ability to handle being alone. Starting out leaving for very short amounts of time (to mail something or return a video) might help you get over your anxiety.
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#34 of 51 Old 01-13-2007, 05:09 PM
 
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I thought the legal age was different for different states? Have to look that up.

I've just this year left ds be at home alone. No longer than 30 minutes and like pps said, our rules are strict. He can't open the door, etc.

I think it definitely depends on the maturity of the individual.

ETA: Only two states have laws regarding the age of children left alone. Maryland and Illinois, I think they were. The only info I found for here (WA state) said that the earliest (norm) seems to be ten.
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#35 of 51 Old 01-13-2007, 08:01 PM
 
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my ten year old gets left for short periods 10 mins at the most unless her older brother - 13 - is there, however he was left for a much longer time at his own request when he was 10, he was much more indepentant at 10 than she is . She worries about what might happen while she is alone where as my son dosen't even notice we are gone diffrent kids same upbringing, i would say if they want to stay home let them as long as they know how to contact you...
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#36 of 51 Old 01-13-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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We started with quick trips at 10 yo. He stays home for a few hours now (11 yo). I mostly worry about him getting lonely.
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#37 of 51 Old 01-13-2007, 08:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunabelly View Post
Thanks for the responses. We do have a neighbor my daughter could call in a pinch, but I think I'm going to wait another year-ish. She's totally ready to be left alone, and she's a homebody, so she's always asking if she can stay while I run errands. I'm not sure what I'll tell her the next time she asks. Maybe I should look up the CA law.

My DH and I have an agreement to never let the kids stay home alone together because we were both tortured by older siblings. We may change our minds eventually depending on the kids' relationships with each other.
As far as California law, I'm not sure there is one. I called CPS on my cousin who was leaving her 10 yo in charge of her 10 month old ALL DAY LONG (and he was very irresponsible). They told me there wasn't a set guildeline, it depended on the maturity of the child. They told me that some 9 yo can safely babysit a toddler, and some cannot.
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#38 of 51 Old 01-13-2007, 08:26 PM
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I started leaving them home by themselves when dd turned 11. It was only for very short trips- ei the corner store for milk or dropping off mail. Over time, I would leave them alone for longer times. But it was a very slow process. DD is now 13 and during the day, I have no problem leaving her and ds home. I do not like them home alone after dark though.

I don't think you are overeacting if your gut is telling you it is too soon. Maybe wait a little more
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#39 of 51 Old 01-15-2007, 01:50 PM
 
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i have left my almost 9 year old a couple times to run to the store (3 blocks away) or the post office (4 blocks away)

but i live in a very tiny farm community, and i know just about everyone.

if we lived elsewhere, things may be different.

wife to my awesome DH, homeschooling, unassisted birthing, food growing, life loving mama to 5 crazy monkeys. :
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#40 of 51 Old 01-16-2007, 10:01 AM
 
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My kids are 13. 5 and 16 and I don't like leaving them alone and certainly not together. I have at times but really try not to-they like the compainship etc. Again, not in a fearful lway but they, in my opinion still need an adult in the house. I wait and do my shopping when my husband is at home. I do my appts. like massage when he is at home. I do my chiropractic very early in the morning when they are sitll asleep. This weekend my daughter had a volleyball tournament and my husband stayed home to be with the 16 year old. Yes he is driving, etc. but still needs help with meals, etc. I need to decide what I am comfortable with and remember in many ways they are still kids. I had way too much responsibliaty at an early age and want them to be adulats gradually. Sallie
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#41 of 51 Old 01-16-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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IMHO, it TOTALLY depends on:

the child
the circumstances
and thus the need
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#42 of 51 Old 01-18-2007, 09:54 PM
 
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^
Yeah, that's just what I was thinking.

I have left my ten yo alone for five minutes while I run to the corner store. I will consider longer periods after his 11th b-day, but not a lot longer. Maybe an hour max.

When I am going absolutely nuts crazy, I let both my ten yo and five yo watch a short dvd while I "go for a run" (bwahahaha)...up and down the street within sight of the house! Really...I'm solo. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
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#43 of 51 Old 01-19-2007, 02:25 PM
 
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It certainly matters how comfortable the child feels being home alone too. I was left home alone at ten, but was uncomfortable with it. Our front door was glass. When the doorbell would ring, I would be terrified to go see who it was (I was not expected to answer). I was certainly mature or responsible enough to know what to do in case of an emergency and how to make myself snacks at ten, but I hated being home alone. My mom insisted I was just a "worrier." By 11 or 12, I felt more comfortable.
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#44 of 51 Old 01-20-2007, 04:05 AM
 
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My 12yo can be home alone for a few hours, with reliable phone access to me.

Very recently, I 've begun to leave for 10minutes when I need to drop dh off across town with her watching three sibs. That makes me a little nervous, though--I am only okay with it because it is a VERY short time. Typically, I let the kids decide who wants to stay and who wants to get bundled up and in the car.

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#45 of 51 Old 01-20-2007, 04:38 AM
 
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We started leaving our 11 yo DD home for short periods of time about 6 months ago or so. We've also just recently left her home with her brother (almost 2) usually while he is napping. She knows how to change diapers and what to give him for a snack if he wakes up. She's very responsible but I still feel a little bit nervous about it.

My DH has been home during the day with the kids but is taking a day job soon. We're putting DS in daycare : but I'm not sure what to so with DD. She'll probably be fine home alone for an hour in the afternoons, but I think we'll have to figure something out for days she's not in school because I don't want her home alone all day. I think she'd be safe, but probably bored and lonely.

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#46 of 51 Old 01-20-2007, 09:52 PM
 
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My oldest is just about 12 and has stayed home several times in the last couple of years by himself if needed. I don't, however, leave him and his brother alone. I don't think I could ever leave any of my kids home alone "together" without another adult around. I wouldn't trust that.

My oldest is only alone at times when he is sick and I have to take the other two children to school or run a quick errand and he doesn't want to go for some reason. It's not often at all. My kids always like to go everywhere with me and never ask to stay home anyway.

Is there a reason your husband is so adamant about your daughter staying alone in order to become more confident? She is quite young and unless she is just asking to be left alone then why force her to do it? I guess I just don't understand that part. There are many, many ways to raise a confident child and still be there by their side the whole time.

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#47 of 51 Old 01-20-2007, 10:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
Is there a reason your husband is so adamant about your daughter staying alone in order to become more confident? She is quite young and unless she is just asking to be left alone then why force her to do it?
She said that her daughter asks to stay home while she runs errands.
Quote:
There are many, many ways to raise a confident child and still be there by their side the whole time.
Sounds kinda stifling.
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#48 of 51 Old 01-25-2007, 02:11 AM
 
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My ds is 10 and happily stays home alone when I go to pick up his sister or do some kind of errand. Much better to stay home and read, get homework done and watch some tv rather than sit in the car for 40 minutes or more. My 12 -- almost 13 yr old obviously stays home alone too. She is a great babysitter to her little sister when I need her services.

Kim , mom to Amanda (16):, William (13), and Annie (5)
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#49 of 51 Old 01-25-2007, 10:35 AM
 
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I think it depends on the child. My oldest wasn't responsible enough until around 10 or so, but my middle child was ready around 8. The longest we've left the middle one is two or so hours (date night), and he did swimmingly.

You have to decide your own child's limitations and sensabilities, IMO.

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#50 of 51 Old 02-11-2007, 03:56 PM
 
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For anyone who may be interested. The American Red Cross offers a course called "When I'm in Charge" offered for children 7 to 11The kids enjoyed the class and it has been reassuring. Even if you are just walking the dog or mowing the lawn. Last year my daughter took the babysitting traning course(11 to 15).Which she loved.

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#51 of 51 Old 02-14-2007, 01:06 PM
 
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I leave my 10.5 year old for 10-20 minutes at a time,and he can go across the street by himself, but I think I will always worry about hime no matter what age he is.
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