Would you leave your child alone in your home?

United States
October 22, 2007 5:30am CST
When I was a little kid, my mom would leave me and my two brothers inside the house, while she stepped outside to hang the clothes on the clothes line. And, for the most part, I think we were safe. She was just a few feet from the back of the house and could probably have heard us if we called out to her. And, then later when we were in school, we would arrive home after school to an empty house. And, it was sometimes an hour or more before she got home from her job. But that was decades ago and the world is a different place now. Now that I'm a mom, I would never leave my own little kid in the house by herself for even one minute. How do you feel about this situation? Would you leave your child in your home alone if you knew that they would be safe upon your return? Do you have friends that leave their little kids home alone? Does it bother you? Do you think that it depends on the age and maturity of the child?
6 people like this
26 responses
@speedy1279 (2667)
• United States
22 Oct 07
I agree with the majority here. It really depends on the age of the child. My kids are age 3 (4 in Dec.), 4 (5 in Feb.), and 10 (11 in Nov.). Up until now I would have never left my children in the house by themselves for a second with the exception of my oldest. Now, I will leave them in the house for about 10 mins at most. But normally they follow me outside anyways. They are my shadows!!! My oldest, I will actually leave him at the house by himself for up to 20 mins. Like if I had to run up to the gas station real quick which is literally just around the corner. He if fine, but I would never leave him longer than that. I don't think kids should be left totally alone until they are 13 years of age and then it would only be for maybe and hour or two. Now to be left home alone all day my kids won't have that happen until they are 15. Today's world is just not safe anymore. I do know of people who leave thier kids home alone for a few hours and they are only 10 years old. To me that is just too young to be left home alone for long periods of time.
1 person likes this
@THKOhio (330)
• United States
22 Oct 07
It depends on the age of the child, and the situation. To go outside to hang clothes on the line? Sure, I did that all the time, usually when they were napping, though. To allow them to come home from school and be in the house alone for an hour or more? Not until they were at least teenagers. And I have one teen now that I still don't like to leave at home alone....and she is almost 18!!
1 person likes this
@Lindalinda (4112)
• Canada
22 Oct 07
In days past, children were often left alone at a young age. Just imagine life on a farm. Mom had to go milk the cows, feed the chickens, go to the root cellar, collect the eggs and hang the clothes. There was not any other way unless relatives lived with the family. I believe child mortality through accidents was also much higher. When I was 7 or 8 years old my sister (who was younger) and I often had to wait for my mom to come home from work, which could be anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. I guess she worried, but had no other way. When I had children of my own I never left them alone in the house or outside, not even a minute. We also spent a great deal of money on babysitters since we had no relatives or grandparents in town. Even then I worried when we had to go out. The law where I live now is that a child must be at least 12 years old to be left unattended. I think this is a good law. I don't know anybody who leaves little kids alone at home. If I did I would speak to the parents and point out the law. It would surely bother me a lot to know little kids were alone.
• India
22 Oct 07
Ditto here. I have always had a working mom and being a single child, I was alone at home since I can remember. I was said to have had a nanny but since I don’t remember her at all, I think that was way back when I was just a baby. But since my school days, I have come home alone. My granny used to stay downstairs and for a few years, she used to open the door of our apartment and give me food. But once I became like 8/9 yrs, I would carry the key with me to school and warm my own food on return. I don’t know how the days passed or what my mom went through, but I never faced any major crisis ever (except maybe the odd cockroach in the loo). But now a mom myself, no way I would leave my 8yr old alone at home. Nannies are no longer trustworthy, kidnapping through them is on the rise, and we still don’t have adequate number of crèches. So depending on the family is my only choice. Sometimes its my in-laws, sometimes its my parents. Since all of them are nearing 60, it’s a great burden they are undertaking for me and tempers are on the rise all the time and I get to hear a lot about my child’s disobedience. I swallow it all for the sake of my sanity. I would go mad if I left him alone at home for 8 to 9 hrs daily. The world is no longer becoming safer and people’s conscience are not what it used to be. Also neighbours are mostly strangers and would not care two bits if your son is seen walking away with someone in your absence. That community feeling is much on the wane. But you know what, inspite of everything, I believe I grew up more independent than my son. I could do everything which he cant even think of. Mom pampered me no doubt, but this is something else…my not letting him stay alone and taking care of himself. He will grow up no doubt and will learn how to warm food, but I do think that it will take him a lot more time to become truly independent of the family. But that is a small price I pay in return for the safety of my kid.
1 person likes this
22 Oct 07
My mum did not leave us in the house alone until we were around 14 mainy tho because she didnt really need to, she did work but she worked school kitchens so was always home for me when i got home from school, it wasnt until i was old enough to have my own key that she went and found herself a job with more hours. i hardly get out of my home as im in a flat and my daughter is 9 months and i have to take the pushchair downstairs first then go back upstairs to get her i know alot of people are in my possition and have no probs but i just cannot bring myself to leave her in the flat alone 4 even 2 mins even tho i know she is perfectly safe, i am one major worryer tho, i panic at the littlest things lol.
1 person likes this
@ravinskye (8242)
• United States
22 Oct 07
We live in a really safe area. I leave my kids in the house while I hang clothes outside. Other than that not yet. My oldest is only 5. I think it depends on the age of the child and the maturity. My mom left me and my sister alone a few hours after school when she was working. I think I was around 12 or 13 maybe and my sister 9 or 10. We were good kids though. Most areas that wouldn't be safe, but like I said this town is safe and really hasn't changed much since I was a kid. We have good neighboors too, I would ask them to keep an eye out. But, now ask me this question again in a few years when I would even consider it since my oldest is only 5 and my youngest is 3 months.
@carolscash (9500)
• United States
24 Oct 07
I think that it all depends on the age and maturity of the child or children. I have left my children alone for a little bit at a time as I live in a fairly safe neighborhood . I would never think that it would be a bad idea to leave just long enough to hang clothes out. That seems safe enough but these days kids disppear in blink and it doesn't matter where they are.
@dpk262006 (56217)
• Delhi, India
23 Oct 07
No, I won't leave my kid alone in the house. Kids feel scary and insecure when they are too young without anybody else in the home and they need protection. So, if I have to go somewhere and it is not feasible to take the kid along, I would leave him/her in somebody's custody.
• Philippines
23 Oct 07
I would never leave my child or children alone at home. With the sorroundings like ours where burglary is common or strangers making all the modus operandi just to enter the house, it is never safe to leave the children alone. Even if we have a safe environment, I still feel worried leaving them on their own. Maybe when my children are old and mature enough to make sound decisions, I will feel comfortable without somebody to be with them at home. I don't remember any of my friends or relatives leaving their children on their own at home.
• United States
23 Oct 07
1] once, when I was three, and my baby sister was one, my mom went outside to hang up clothes. The last thing she said, was "Don't open the cellar door." So, as soon as she went outside, I ran over and opened the door [ probably to see why I shouldn't!] My little sister ran over, in one of those big heavy walkers, and fell all the way down the steps. So, I shut the door. My mom came back in, and said, "Where's Dottie?" "In the cellar." She was upset, but OK. 2] The next time my mother forgot herself, she went outside to hang up clothes, right after she changed Dottie's diaper. I thought she smelled so good! So I grabbed the baby powder, and followed Dottie around the house, dumping piles of it on her head. Dottie didn't like it much, and kept trying to escape - so we covered the entire downstairs with powder, in less than 15 minutes. Our entire house had to be vacuumed and scrubbed, several times. [ baby powder is a very good substitute for ice skates, especially if you wear socks! ] I NEVER left my kids alone, until oldest one was 11; and only left him with his brother when he was 12 [ and younger one was 8 ].
@bagumbayan (2707)
• Philippines
23 Oct 07
As you say depending on the maturity and age of the child. But if it is just a block away and I know he will be safe and I will be back at once then I will leave him alone. But never for a long period of time. I knew of some parents who leave their kids for work but to me that is not normal and proper, they are human beings and careless and that should be taken cared of.
@arkaf61 (10882)
• Canada
23 Oct 07
Well I don't agree with living a small child alone for even a few minutes - for the most part they might be safe but there are always accidents ready to happen. I never did it with my kids. Now depending on the age of the child I might slowly start to leave them alone for a bit here and there, but we're talking over 8 or 9 years here. The first time I left my daughter alone she was almost 10 and I went into the corner store- my in laws were in the house just downstairs in their apartment, but were told that she was there alone. The whole thing took me less than five minute but I still run home LOL I don't know anywone that lives little children alone but I know of someone that sometimes lives her 7 year old home alone for about 15 minutes. It's a bit scary for me, but the kid is quite mature and is usually left doing his homework while mom just picks his younger sister from daycare. SOmetimes she comes home from work earlier so she picks the baby before her son gets home, but other times she just gives him a snack and leaves him doing the homework while she picks up the baby.
@peanutjar (5211)
• Canada
23 Oct 07
Hi,i would never even think twice about leaving my daughter home alone even if it was just to the mailbox down the road where i can easily see my home(2 minutes away).There are soo many things that could happen,like poison,falling,kidnapping,leaving the house and walking on the side of the road,fire,electric shock and i could go on.A neighbour in another town where i use to live who did one time and she came back to find her son who had suffocated in a oil container.He had gone outside when she left and went into the garage and must of been looking inside it and fell head first in it and drowned.He was 4.Ive heard of a girl left alone and the house caught on fire and she burned in her sleep.She was 5.I think if my daughter was like 13 -14 years old then i would think its o.k,depending on her maturity and trusting to stay out of trouble.Not before this age.Maybe im over protective,but i carried her for 9 months and am raising her,so i do not want anything to happen to her. Peanutjar:)
@citygirl (1081)
• Canada
23 Oct 07
Do your kids sleep in the same room as you? I am sure steping out a side door to hang clothes on the line wouldn't be any further away than the child sleeping in a different room. Parent raise and teach their children from the day they are born, and most parents know if they can leave a child alone for a second or not. you can't be on top of them every second of every day or that in it's self in a kind of abuse and distrust. I have three grown kids and knew my kids at say age five I could leave my girls watching tv while I hung my clothes out a few feet away, my son on the other hand I would have brought with me as he was very active. Depending on the age of children for them being left alone for an hour after school. I was babysitting other children by the time I was twelve. How old are your children ? young or teenagers, or babys ? The trick is teaching your children responsibility rather than smothering them.
@jeanniemay (1803)
• Philippines
22 Oct 07
When I was very young, my mom will leave us in the house. I was just 3 or 4 years old. She will instruct us that if the clock goes to 12nn, she will show us how it looks, we will open the plates ready in the table and eat for lunch. She will teach me where to bring it after and leave me things to be busy about. She will give me lots of books to see (full of pictures) and even give me coloring books to work on while she goes to work. When I was like 5 years old, she leaves us same way but now I have a brother to take care of. All the instructions are written big, because every time she goes home, she teaches me how to read. I can read simple English and can understand that time. I was given a responsibility at an early age. My young experiences had actually helped me advance in life and be more independent and my parents need not worry how I get into things now. They left the whole family business to me at age 24. While I attend to graduate school, I also manage one of our family business. The experience I had in my younger days had helped me and had elevated me to think and decide independently.
@sanell (2114)
• United States
22 Oct 07
I would honestly say that it depends on the age and the maturity of the child. I would not leave my kids in the house by themselves although I have when I go to take the garbage out, but my garbage can is just right outside my side door, so it is just a quick in and out. When I was in 3rd to 4th grade, I was a latch key kid....I do think that is a little young, but at the same time, My mom would be home within about 30 minutes of us getting home. I knew that I come home, and I close the door, I lock the door and turn our burglar alarm on until my mom got home. Then when I was in 5th and 6th grade, she would stay at work longer, I was lucky though my parents had their own home business, my mom did not have to go into work but she wanted to work and get a paycheck too it was her way of contributing to the company that she grew with my dad. I do not think I would leave my daughter at home by herself until she was about 12 and that would be the absolute youngest. I say 12 because I know that many 12 year old girls are capable of watching other young kids (At least Around the mom as a moms helper. I was one of those at 12 to 13 years of age). So anyway, that is my take on things
@Shaun72 (15968)
• Palatka, Florida
22 Oct 07
I don't blame you I don't have any kids but if I watch my niece or my nephew I always keep them in my sight. Espically in my neighborhood. It's small but people around here havd gotten robbed.
@carlaabt (3505)
• United States
22 Oct 07
I leave my son alone in his room while I go outside to check the mail or let the dogs out. I would rather leave him in the house than make him go out when it's cold or rainy or something. And it's not like I can just make my dogs stay inside all day long when my husband is gone for 14 hours because of work. When he's alone in his room, there isn't anything dangerous that he can get into. He can't open his door yet, because it's knob is hard to turn. So he is just as safe then as he is at night when I am asleep. When I'm outside, I'm never more than a few feet from the front door. As far as leaving him alone when I'm actually not within earshot, that won't happen for a LONG time. Until he's at least 12 or 14 probably.
@vokey9472 (1489)
• United States
22 Oct 07
I personally think it depends on the age of the child. For instance, I would never leave my 5 year old alone in the house for any reason, but if he was 12 I would probably let him stay inside while I was outside doing something. I would never allow my child under the age of 16 to arrive home to an empty house. I know that sounds paranoid, but things happen. I figure at 16, a child is considered mature enough to work, therefor they should be mature enough to handle a few hours at home alone. The world is a different place from the one I grew up in and that is sad. I remember when it was safe to play along the block with the other kids in the neighborhood. My mom would just holler out the front door when it was time to come home and I might be 4 or 5 houses down the block. Today, I don't like for my son to play next door unless I am right there to watch over him. It is sad, but you have to protect your children and you can never be too safe.
• United States
22 Oct 07
It is tragic that society has come to having to take your children with you if you are hanging clothes outside! I leave my 5 year old in the house if I am just hanging laundry. I do however lock the doors on the opposite side of the house and tell her if someone knocks to slip out the door nearest me and let me know. Do not answer it I tell her! I would never leave her alone just to run to the store or after school etc. We live in a relatively safe neighborhood and I don't worry too much in this neighborhood. I remember when I was 8 and 9 and would get home from school, go and get the key from a neighbor and let myself in and then do any homework I had or just play till my mom got home. These days I would not do that with my own children. There are just way too many predators out there and they can be very convincing! When I was a child the neighbor lady would keep an eye out for me but these days with 2 income households and such its just not the same! How tragic that society has come to this!