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Old Enough to Stay Home Alone

What is an appropriate age for children to be left unattended? Should 9- or 10-year-olds have babysitters? We want to know what you think.

When I was growing up, it was not unusual for children to be left to their own devices. I was given a house key at 8, when my mother returned to work. But that was a different time, and in my case, a rural town in the mountains.

What is the appropriate age for a child to be left, unattended, in Milford? A few weeks ago, left alone in a car, a child who was waiting for her mother, as it turned out, and who was 10. Isn't it okay to leave a 10-year-old by themselves? 

When is the right age to leave kids without a babysitter? Or is it a case of the maturity of the particular child, and not the age? Please share your thoughts.

Michelle Garber April 20, 2011 at 07:06 PM
I think it totally depends on the child, but most children should be able to handle short amounts of time home alone (Mom going to the grocery store or driving other siblings wherever) by age 10. As the child proves that they can handle it (ie they haven't burned the house down), then you stay out longer and different times of the day. I remember a Saturday a few years back when my husband and I planned a day trip hiking at the Blue Hills. Once everyone was up they kids didn't want to go and we then realized that was fine, we could go without them. It is a happy day when you realize you no longer need a babysitter :-)
Bryan Herrick April 20, 2011 at 08:58 PM
I think 13 is a good age to leave kids alone for short durations but like Michelle said, it depends on the child. A 10 year old should be able to wait for his/her parents in a locked car while they run in to a store for a quick errand as long as its not too cold or too hot out. But like anything else it depends on the situation not every scenario is equal.
Lisa Vasile April 20, 2011 at 11:31 PM
All depends on the maturity of the child, the closeness of neighbors and other family (ie: is there someone who can run over if the child needs help) and whether the child is alone or not. Sometimes having a sibling there helps- other times it makes matters worse with fighting/house destruction. 10 is what we have found that the kids have been able to show us how to call 9-1-1, remember to lock doors, etc, but wouldn't leave them at night until 13 or 14.
Jack Smith April 29, 2011 at 07:21 PM
I started leaving my child when he was 12 years old. As a parent, my opinion is that I think it has nothing to do with the age, what really matters the most is the maturity of your child the capability to manage of being home alone. I didn't leave my child for nothing, I provided him a safety service that could surely assist him whenever he needs help. I registered my son to SafeKidZone because it has a mobile security application that enables my son to summon help from trusted people and with access to the nearest 911 when safety issue arise. This is how I protect my child check out: http://safekidzone.com/

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