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When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?

Last post Jan 30, 2008 6:24 AM by zakons . 9 replies.


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  • When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?
    I heard this conservation between 2 Moms while waiting for my kids get out of school. Both Mom's are single parents. One mom has a 10 yr. old, & 5yr. old, and she left her kids stay home alone because she was going 3 blocks to the store to get snack stuff for the 5 yr. olds class. The Mom didn't think to bring them because they were dressed for bed, and they were watching t.v. and could trust them for a few minutes. The other Mom has a 10 yr. old and also was dressed for bed, and she had to go to work. She usually has the Grandma stay with the girl until she gets home. The Grandma couldn't stay with the girl this time, and said it's only 2-3 hrs until she gets off, and she should be fine. Both had specific rules to follow: Do Not Open The Door, Do Not Answer The Phone. They follow the rules. At what age, are children responsible enough or mature enough to stay home by themselves? Melissa.
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    Melissa ( Izzybella)
  • Re: When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?

    Every province/state would have it's own rules.  But personally I think a ten yearl old is too young to stay home for a couple of hours.  I think a few minutes (like going to the corner store) might be okay but it would so much depend on the neighbourhood, and the maturity of the kid.  I think my province says a 12 year  old can stay at home by themselves.  I know I started babysitting at age 11or 12.

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  • Re: When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?

    Well, I have a teenager and she is just now being able to stay at home with her brothers or alone.  She has taken baby-sitting and safety classes.  I also require that she sets our home alarm and keep her cell phone with her.  Overprotective, probably, but I think our children are forced to grow up far to quickly and I want to protect my children as long as I can.  I don't allow her to babysit other children and she is paid to watch her brothers (I was the built in free babysitter as a child and didn't want that for my children).  I also don't allow my children to stay at other childrens' home without supervison, because too much can happen to quickly.  We live in a great area, but I think there is always safety concerns, such as pools, ponds, 4-wheel riding and more.  What will a teenager without a license do if someone is hurt...wait for an ambulance or try and find someone around to help.  I prefer to know that there are trusted adults around to help quickly, rather than wait 15-20 minutes or more.

      We have a two parent home and that probably makes a huge difference, as well as the fact that I am a stay home mom.  I also know that some states require a certain age to be obtained before they are legally allowed to stay at home.  I know each child matures differently, but if someone reports a parent for allowing an underage child to be at home by themselves, it can mean legal action.

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  • Re: When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?

    I think it depends upon the kid.  My own kids start staying home alone when the oldest was 12 and the youngest was 10. They walked home after school together and stayed home for an hour and a half until I got home from work. They called me when they got home, had a snack, and did their homework.

    My son leaves his kids alone now when he and my DIL go out for an evening but the oldest is 15...the younger ones are 12 and 7.

    I think a 10 year old is too young to stay home alone at night and I wouldn't leave a 5-year old alone with a sibling for any amount of time.  Too unpredictable.

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  • Re: When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?

    It depends on the child's maturity, as well as the area in which they live.  We have grandchildren (10 & 11 yr.) who stay home alone, but we live in a very rural area, their Dad is a farmer so is somewhere close by at all times (and always has his cell phone), and Grandpa's shop is right across the road from their house.  They also have rules to follow and speed dial numbers to call if they have any problem.  These kids are never left late at night or overnight, though. 

    Jenita

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  • Re: When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?

    We never had to leave our chldren alone because my mother lived with us utnil they were in their teens. 

     

    However, she was away one time and I believe they were probably about 11, 9, and 7 maybe a bit older.  It was in the summer and they were all left watching TV while Frank and I went grocery shopping. (About 1 or 1 1/2 hours).  When we came home, they were all sitting in the yard on the picnic table.  They heard "noises" in the house and all decided to go outside and wait for us tocome home.

     

    Too funny.

     

    Barb

     

     

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  • Re: When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?
    I have children too. My oldest is 13 almost 14, in April, and she does stay by herself at times. She's older, wiser, make adult decisions, and I trust her. She has the responsibilty / maturity to make good choices. She also took the Babysitting & Safety Course. My younger children, ages 10, 10, & 8, aren't old enough or mature enough to make good choices. I also lived in a 2 parent home, and I always have 1 adult present at all times. Today- I had to take 1 of the twins to the dentist, and then stopped at B & N for a book, then hit the shoe place, and I just saw this. The Mom left her 2 children alone, 8 & 6, shopping at Claires, by them selves, while she was enjoying a coffee, at B & N. The 2 girls were shopping w/ gift cards, and the Dad found them alone. He asked where Mom was, and she was at B&N, enjoying her coffee. I can't believe that people are that careless about their children's welfare. Anything could happen! anyone could grabbed them! Will & I are always with our kids. We aren't hovering them, but we know exactly where they are, and what they do. Nicole had her cell everywhere she goes. She's in high school, she takes it everywhere with her. My sister leaves her kids alone ever since they're 7-8. She works so does her husband, and they lived in the country so know ones checks on them. ( She calls them and checks on them, but claims that they don't have a sitter or a caring neighbor to check on her twins.) The funny thing is: The SIL and her DH ( My sister's husband's brother & wife lived 3 houses down from them, and they don't have time to watched them. They don't work, so whats the problem? My sister says, The SIL says, " It's Not Her Problem"! Melissa.
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    Melissa ( Izzybella)
  • Re: When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?

    Every town has their own rules and every kid is different.   In my town, kids who are under 13 are considered abandoned.  

    C.

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  • Re: When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?

    I think they were both wrong, but I am not in their shoes. I did not leave DS home alone until he was 11. DD we have left home alone once and she is 11. That was only for about 20 minutes. She certainly would not be left in charge of her younger sister.

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  • Re: When Are Children Allowed To Stay Home By Themselves?

     Personally, I think this Illinois law came in effect because a couple years  ago...a couple left 2 young children home alone for like maybe 5 days while they went on a WARM vacation somewhere...I think the oldest child left was age 10... (maybe 5 years ago???)  This was in the winter time...

    I think age 14 is a bit much....I had 2 steady babysitting  jobs watching 4  kids at each place., I must of been 13 , I was in the 8th grade......I thought Illinois was age 13, but I guess it is 14....That is high school age...In Illinois, it is also against the law to leave any child in a car while you run into a store or whatever....

     

    llinois and Maryland each have legislation about the legal age that children can be left home alone.

    Illinois

    Preparing Children to Stay Alone (May 2001), by the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), has the following information about the legal age to be left home alone in Illinois:

    What is lack of supervision?
    Illinois law defines a neglected minor, in part, as "any minor under the age of 14 years whose parent or other person responsible for the minor's welfare leaves the minor without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare of that minor."
    Juvenile Court Act, 705 ILCS 405/2-3(1)(d)

    How long may a child be left alone?
    What is appropriate under certain circumstances may be considered child neglect in other circumstances.

    While recognizing that many factors may apply, Illinois law lists 15 specific factors to be considered when deciding whether a child has been left alone for an unreasonable period of time.

    This information is available on the Web at http://www.state.il.us/dcfs/docs/alone.doc.

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