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Both DH and I WOH, though I only work a 3/4 schedule. DS was semi-sick yesterday and I contemplated leaving him home alone for about 4 hours while I went to the office. His stomach was upset but he wasn't vomiting or running a fever. His arm was really sore, probably just sore muscles from new move in karate class the day before. So, not sick enough to need "nursing" but just off enough that they would have sent him home from school if I had taken him. He's 10 and in 4th grade. If it matters, this is a single-family home in a safe suburb with at-home neighbors around. Would you have? If not, how old do you expect a child home alone to be?

I ended up working from home but it would have been better, work-wise, to be in the office.
 

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i know i started babysitting at 11...but that might not be considered appropriate these days. My boss has a 12 year old that she just now leaves alone at home for a few days a week, the other days an older boy comes over to hang out with him, who's a family friend. For a few hours though, I'd probably do the same (but just not tell many people about it). At 10 they know how to get a hold of you if they need to, provided you don't live an hour away or anything, I'm sure he won't burn the house down.

and, as kids, we were left home alone for a few hours (3-6) every night until my mom got home from work. I remember we were little, I was maybe 8 or 9. But we lived in the boonies with nobody around. Is that safer than your populated suburb? probably not! i'd do it...but not everyone else would. and it all depends on your kid!
 

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The location (how safe is your area), how close you are (can you be home quickly in case of emergency, or do you have an hour commute), how sick your child is (can your child function enough to take care of himself), does your child know what to do in case of emergency or if somebody calls or knocks on the door, and, most importantly, your child's personality, is he ready. I started leaving my son home alone for an hour, two hours, every day after school when he was 10. I worked across the street, he's a cautious child, and I knew he'd be too busy on the computer or the tv to get into any real trouble. My little girl will be 9 this month. Personality and maturity, I really can't see her being home alone for many, many years. She doesn't always pay attention to safety, she's very forgetful, and she panics easily. Even 10 minutes to walk the dogs, even if nothing bad happened, she'd be an emotional mess by the time I got back. To leave her when she's sick? Even when she's mildy ill, she's helpless.
 

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I would think it depends on the maturity level and your comfort among other things. I began testing my son before I needed to leave him home. I would tell him I'd be at the neighbor's and have someone knock on the door to see if he'd answer it or if I could hear him moving around inside. I'd call the house to see if he'd answer the phone. How he acts when you're in the house but unavailable is a good indicator also.
 

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I know this isn't really what you asked, but I hate to be alone in the house when I'm sick. I think you did the right thing to work from home, even if your DS could have handled you being away.

As for age, my DD is still only small (21 months), so I don't have much of an idea, but I'd say sometime between age 10 and early high school, depending on the kid, probably around 12 for most kids.
 

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I put my son in a Red Cross class "when I'm in charge". The red cross is international so they probably have something similar where you live.
It was a very good class, talking to the kids about what they need to know, practicing on telephone, door, videos, and provided sort of a check list we can work on over the next couple of years (my son is 8).

It was designated for 8 and up. In Oregon it is illegal to leave your kids in a potentially dangerous place alone before the age of 10. This is of course very vague wording. At any rate I'm guessing the normal accepted age mainstream is 10 dependent on the child.

The woman teaching the course said that she left 2 of her 3 children at home alone at times but never her middle child, he just didn't have the personality for that kind of freedom. They are all grown up now and take care of themselves.

One thing I realized is that my son did not have basic first aid skills. So I am looking into that. He has no idea about gas and water turnoffs and electricity safety. Also things like no cooking on the stove, just the microwave and toaster. Right now he is only just starting to cook properly by himself (I mean bacon on the stove that sort of thing, not soup in the microwave). I'm also thinking I want to have him put out a fire with an extinguisher. I've done that kind of training myself at work and it was really useful.
 

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Our Parks and Rec dept offers a class on staying home alone for kids over 9. It covers safety issues (including kitchen safety as kids will want/need snacks) as well as a list of things to make clear between kid and parent on expectations with regards to TV, the computer, friends, etc.

As others have pointed out, it's not an issue of "old enough," but of maturity.

If you feel comfortable with the idea of him being home alone for a few hours at a time, talk about what your expectations are and dry run it sometime he's not sick.
 
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