Bubba (9) Lukey (5) Fat Baby (2) Me
For a child to stay home alone they have to have the maturity and training to do it and they have to feel safe themselves.
I leave my 11 year old home for an hour or so sometimes, but still feel nervous about it...I feel like he is responsible enough not to do stupid things while alone (at 6, not sure the responsibility/reasoning would be there...) but worry about break-ins or something similar.
Heidi : Married for 15 years, expecting our 8th baby in July!
There is no way I would be okay with my child being home alone at 6.
That said, there certainly are 6 YO latchkey kids around who seem to be fine, so I suspect that is what your DH is seeing and responding too. Does you school not have any sort of supervised afterschool program to fill that hour gap? I think that is where I would start.
Bubba (9) Lukey (5) Fat Baby (2) Me
I certainly wouldn't, especially not in the situation you describe where there'd be no one to make sure he even got off the bus and made it into the house okay.
At 7, I walked home from school with my kindergarten-aged sister, and we stayed home from 3 until my mom got home at 5-5:30. We never had any problems and I don't think my 7yo is less capable than I was or the world is more dangerous.
I'd feel comfortable closer to age 10. My mom started leaving me for an hour or so then and I handled it ok. I think it depends on the kid though. Some aren't ready until much older.
Show this to your dh: http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/Departmen...oneHowLong.htm
While there's no specific law in MN, the Dakota county attorney's office counts it as neglect if a child younger than 7 is left home alone for any amount of time. I suspect most other jurisdictions would do the same. (I know someone who works in juvenile justice in MN, if you really need to know, I can ask her.)
I believe the national SafeKids Coalition recommends age 12 to be home alone.
Saying that - every child is very different. 14 might be alright for some children and not others ...and thats quite an age difference from 6! lol
At 6...no I do not think I would be okay with DS being left home alone for an hour. At 8...probably. Will see when we get there! Just to show every child is different - id probably be fine leaving my friends DD home alone for an hour at 6 - if she were my daughter. But shes not - and shes not my DS! lol
Without that, I think 10 or 11 would be my minimum, and only during daylight hours, and only with a very mature and responsible kid.
I wouldn't personally leave a child that young even occasionally, but the 'once in a while' idea when a parent runs to the store scenario is much different than every day after a long day at school. Go with your gut!
DS is 14 now and has been staying home by himself for an hour or 2 after school since he was 11. We still had our share of issues in that first year. (I hated to leave him but as a single parent, I did what I could then) He let friends in the house, He "experimented" with whether green leaves burned faster/slower than brown leaves , etc..
My (just turned) 9 yr old DSD was home sick just yesterday. I was upstairs with the baby. She answered the door and came upstairs to get me. All the while, leaving the front door ajar and the man standing at the threshhold She has been told all the rules as far as not answering the door, screening calls, etc. All it takes is a moment.....
and cautiously due May 12, 2011!
Looks like it wouldn't be illegal but that doesn't make it the right thing to do.
Wife of 20 years to my superhero firefighting DH. SAHM to 2 boys and 2 girls (3 babies in Heaven-
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Baby # 5 5/2010 & Baby #6 8/2011 & Baby # 7 2/1013). Cancer Survivor 2011 ( Persistent Malignant Gestational Trophoblastic Disease)
I think 6 is too young, personally. It probably isn't illegal because there are only like 3 states or something that even have ages on the books for that.
I leave my older two alone sometimes. Here are my considerations;
-How far is the parent going?
-Can the parent be reached at all times? (I have Bluetooth in the car and recommend it for this reason).
-Does the child know how to reach the parent?
-Is the child good about answering the phone?
-Will the child not go to the door or look out the window if someone comes to the door? (tough one)
-What is the housing situation? Apartment with at-home neighbor? Cul-de-sac? Single family home with bushes hiding it from the street and access to the road from two sides? I just described the perfect house to rob.
At age 12, a totally reasonable age to leave a child at sunset, someone tried to break into our home while I was alone. I screamed, hid in the yard and ran to the neighbors'. They left quickly.
Let me add to that story that it wasn't the only time. If you or a neighbor have been robbed in the last few years, you should put off leaving your child alone for a long time. If someone sees you pull out of your driveway, that is usually the opportune moment, as what happened in our case.
Our house had previously been targeted, right after we all left for dinner elsewhere. When they tried to get in, my parents had just left. They weren't concerned doing so because my sister was supposed to be dropped off. So I didn't think much when a car pulled up, thinking it was my sister but then thought it odd that she didn't come in right away. I came up to the door and could see the knob jiggling and could hear something metal being placed on it. The last time we were robbed, they had gotten in by using a metal device on the doorknob to force it open. I put it together quickly that the same guys were in process of returning (common, new stuff replaced by insurance).
The first time, the police came and told us right away, most who come to rob, that is their intent. Criminals tend to stick to their speciality. So, I was told, usually if they get wind that someone is home, they will abandon the project immediately.
Usually the horror stories of being robbed and then killed are when the criminal is caught, cornered, etc. It's not very often than they go to take valuables, hear a child inside and say "Oh, let's kidnap instead!" So I took comfort in the fact that I really didn't risk being raped or killed. These were (drug addict) robbers who wanted money for their next fix.
The police told me that if I heard a sound, to simply yell at the dog. We don't have a dog so a better solution is to call the parent and talk loudly. The dog solution was also in the days before cell phones. If your child hears anything, instruct your child to do one of the above. Make noise and make it obvious that they are there.
Don't make the mistake of tracking the crime rate in your neighborhood. We were in a very nice suburb in the S.F. Bay Area. The dodgy area was a good 40-45 minutes away. They commute.
If I leave mine, I just make sure that I can get back quickly. For example, I swim but wont do it leaving kids alone. Can't get a hold of me in the pool! I will go to the grocery store. You may or may not be able to leave quickly from work. I also wont leave the two younger girls alone, although I will leave the two older ones. The two girls fight.
This might be a good regular baby-sitting assignment for a teenager. A six year old doesn't need the care and supervision that a younger baby would so perhaps a local girl would like to help out for a reasonable fee. Another solution would be to have him go to a friends'. Again, a SAHM might appreciate a bit of extra cash for doing what she usually does anyway, be home with her kids in the afternoon.
As a kid I had my babysitting certificate at 11 and babysat at 12...but was never allowed to stay with just my brother (3y younger than me). My mom was a SAHM so she was there all the time, we lived in a big farm in the middle of nowhere. I was likely at least 14 before I was allowed to stay alone.
Sadly, Jan 21, 2011 m/c 6w5d
C.- WOHM, CPST Instructor, and all around busy Mama to A.- 02/04, I. 01/07,E. 09/10 and
expecting the surprise of our lives Fall 2012!
Unassisted birthing, atheist, WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids 17, 11, 6, 3
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