Childrearing

At What Age Can You Leave Your Kid Home Alone?

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Leaving your kids home alone can be pretty scary for any parent. As mother to a toddler, I start worrying when I don’t hear my son in the other room even for only a few minutes. You never know what a toddler will get in to. That said, I know there will come a point in time someday that i’ll finally feel OK with letting him stay home alone. Or perhaps I won’t, but he’ll continue to ask, and i’ll eventually give in. But at what age can you leave your kid home alone? There aren’t any clearly defined rules on this, but one blogger has created a chart she think might help you make the decision.

Blogger Mique, a mom of three who runs the site Thirty Handmade Days, recently released a handy dandy table graphic that outlines suggested guidelines for leaving your kiddos home alone. In the chart, she breaks it down by age range (8-10, 11-12, and so on) and gives an idea of how long each child in a given age range should be left home alone. She also breaks down state laws, some of which have regulations on how old a child must be to legally stay home alone. For example, in Maryland, an 8 year old can legally stay home alone, while that age rises to 14 in Illinois.

But Is It Safe?

Additionally, she adds some safety tips on the bottom of the chart. It’s all simple things that parents can do in order to prepare their kiddos to stay home by themselves. She suggests parents make sure the child has their name, address, and phone numbers memorized, and also have access to an emergency call list. She also adds that kids should know of a designated “safe house” where they can run to in the event of an emergency.

Here’s the full chart:

At What Age Can You Leave Your Kid Home Alone  kidshomealoneguidelines30days png

Thirty Handmade Days

Mique also has additional tips on her blog post that you may want to consider:

  • How long will you be gone for?

  • Does your child follow directions?  Will they go by the rules while you are away?

  • Are there other kids left home too?  How many and how old?

  • How safe is your neighborhood?

  • Would your child feel safe staying alone?

So what do you think? How old does your child need to be before you leave them alone? How old were you when you were first left alone? Let us know in the comments!

(Image: Unsplash / Josh Applegate)

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