When to leave a child home is a hard decision for parents.Check out some ways you can figure out What age Can I leave My kids Home Alone?
I’ve also included Guidelines for Leaving Kids Home Alone by State along with some tips to follow when leaving them alone.
What Age can I leave my kids home alone?
With more and more parents working outside of the home or being on the go for so many different activities, the question of when one can leave their kids home alone takes center stage.
Having grown up in the 80’s ,our parents didn’t have this issue because there weren’t so many laws, society expectations and social pressures in place that pressured parents to make this a hard question to answer.
Although there is no one clear answer the following information should help you on your path to deciding the best situation for your family.
How does a parent keep up with the times?
We all remember the Mom on ET leaving her kids to fend for themselves when she went off to work. How many of us rode our bikes home from school by ourselves?
Or how many of us went to the park alone as early as 8 years old? However, times have changed and so has parenting.
A resource for parents wanting to leave their kids home alone
So I’ve put together some resources to help parents when deciding when they should leave their kids home alone.
The National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends that No child under the age of 12 be left at home alone.
However, many times things happen and parents are faced with the decision to do so even for kids younger than 12.
So here are some things to consider before making that decision, although in the end EVERY CHILD MATURES DIFFERENTLY.
The big thing to consider is where is your child’s maturity level at?
I know that my 12 year old is very mature and if left alone he would be fine and not have any issues.
However, my 11 year old daughter is very impulsive and may not make the best decision if left alone.
Some other things to consider before leaving you child home alone.
How will your child handle an emergency?
What if an emergency arises, how would they handle it?
Will they be able to safely leave the building in case of a fire?
How will they handle a visitor or someone at the door?
What would your child do if someone breaks in?
Would they know what to do if he or she got injured?
These are all things to consider before making a decision.
Below are general guidelines to follow when considering the age range for leaving a child home alone.*
7 & under – Should NEVER BE LEFT ALONE FOR ANY PERIOD OF TIME! This may include leaving children unattended in cars, playgrounds, and backyards.
The determining consideration would be the dangers in the environment and the ability of the caretaker to intervene.
8 to 10 years – Should not be left alone for more than 1½ hours and only during daylight and early evening hours.
11 to 12 years – May be left alone for up to 3 hours but not late at night or in circumstances requiring inappropriate responsibility.
13 to 15 years – May be left unsupervised, but not overnight.
16 to 17 years – May be left unsupervised (in some cases, for up to two consecutive overnight periods).
*remember these are only guidelines you should check with your state law before determining this decision
Do you know what “home alone” guidelines are for your state?
Although most states have no set laws for when a child can stay home alone most have some guidelines in place to help parents.
There are only a few that have actual state laws . Head below to find them.
Guidelines For Leaving kids home alone by state
If your state has no guidelines or laws set in place, it’s important to keep in mind the information above.
You know your child better than anyone else and it’s important to take all of these facts into consideration before making this difficult decision.
Tips for leaving kids home alone
If in the end your child meets the appropriate criteria and you will be leaving them home alone. Here are some final tips to help give you and them peace of mind.
1 .Get a doorbell camera – This has been huge in our house. I always know who is at the door and I can actually talk to them through my cell phone. So if I were to leave my oldest alone he wouldn’t even need to come to door. I can do all the talking for him.
2. Call your Child regularly to make sure everything is ok. If possible even facetime that way you know they are doing what they’re supposed to.
3. Meal Prep is a must : My older kids all know how to use a stove, that being said they are not allowed to use one in my absence. If I’m not home and my oldest needs to cook something he can use the microwave and that’s it.
4. Emergency Numbers on hand: This is a given. That being said it’s important to write down emergency numbers for your child to refer to in case need arises and also teach him when and how to use them. If possible memorize family members or neighbors that would help with an emergency.
5. Teach your child important safety items like how to use a fire extinguisher, escape routes and any other information necessary in case of an emergency.
6. Most important: Make sure they don’t invite anyone in including friends. Having other underage children in your home without a parent is a huge liability. Make sure and emphasize the importance of not allowing other kids from the neighborhood in if you’re not home.
Final thoughts on leaving Children Home alone.
Like I said above, you know your child best. Even if your child is 14 if they don’t have the common sense to stay home then you should not give them that responsibility.
Final Disclosure: This post is strictly based on guidelines and information found online and should only be used for informational purposes. You are responsible for your decision as a parent and in no way should weigh or base your decision on the above information.
Looking for other parenting resources? Check out some of my other articles here on my page.