At what age would you leave your child home alone?

New Zealand
February 16, 2011 11:14am CST
Times have changed since my son was four years old and I left him for the half hour between myself going to work and his father getting home from work - I used to work at nights so would start work at 4.30pm while his father finished work at 4.30pm, I had to leave half an hour before starting... my son will be 30yrs old this year... nowadays I would never even think about leaving any of my grandchildren alone at that age, even for 15 minutes! However, my youngest son is 12yrs old and as I'm a working solo parent, I need to leave him alone while I work late nights, I get home before he goes to school and I'm home when he gets back from school... sometimes he stays with his older sister when she works the same hours as his school starts in the morning but she does different hours each week... what age do you think is okay to leave your child home alone?
4 people like this
21 responses
@hagirl (1296)
• United States
18 Feb 11
IN KY the law states after they are age 13yo they can be left alone.... you may want to check or area or state law to be on the safe side..... Now.... I think it depends upon the maturity of your child, the area where you live, and maybe if there are neighbors that can check on them if needed.... There are factors that you can consider when making your decision.....
1 person likes this
• New Zealand
19 Feb 11
I wouldn't want to disturb my neighbours at midnight since that's the time I have to work - he is asleep when I leave and wakes in the morning when I call him from work but sometimes he is up already, he makes himself breakfast and I pick him up to take him to school after I finish my shift
• Canada
17 Feb 11
Well I think it depends on the child's maturity level. I think at 12 most kids know right from wrong and they know what to do if a stranger comes knockin at the door. My kids are 8, 4 and 10 months and I would never even dream of leaving them alone. Nowadays you cannot trust anyone and I find that so sad. Why do we have to live in a world like this? What happened to make people change from being good upstanding people to the criminals that we have out there now? it's really sux.
• New Zealand
17 Feb 11
I'm lucky to be in a nice neighborhood - I have unintentionally left my keys in my car on several occasions and fortunately my car is still in my garage the next morning! But it seems there are a lot of awful people around who break into properties or steal children or commit crimes more frequently...I still worry about leaving my son alone even though he is quite capable and besides, he is always asleep when I leave and I'll ring him in the morning just before I leave work to go back home so he doesn't really get up to any mischief..however, I tell him that he CANNOT have friends stay over with him if I have to work that night, they can only stay over on my nights off...
@cher913 (25893)
• Canada
16 Feb 11
i think 30 is old enough (sorry i couldnt resist!) but my daughter is 13 and last year, when she was 12, we left her along for time spans during the day (not at night even still!) i would start out at half an hour intervals and then go from there. also, how mature is your son? that should count too.
• New Zealand
17 Feb 11
my youngest son is quite mature although last year he didn't like to be home by himself so I would tell his father to come pick him up (his father lives 20mins away) and he would drop him back at my house on his way to work the next morning when I would just arrive after finishing my night-shift... now I ask my son if he's okay staying home by himself and he assures me that he is - he knows my cellphone number and his father's home number if he has any concerns...
• United States
16 Feb 11
Never in a million years would I leave a four year old for anytime at all. a 12 year old can stay alone as long as they are a responsible perosn. Not all kids this age can be alone at home. My daughter was about 11 and knew only to use the micro wave to heat her food and only for 5 minutes. The tv,toys and books were there ready for her. My neighbor would pop in from across the hall and often times was there when I got home.
• New Zealand
16 Feb 11
I would never leave any of my other children alone when they were that young, only my oldest son because he was such a precocious child and had an unusual sense of maturity - even now he's the sort of person who takes everything in hand and is an operations manager at a resort hotel...
@maximax8 (27045)
16 Feb 11
I think that it would depend on how sensible my child is before leaving him or her at home alone. I know that the general age thought to be old enough in my home country is age 14 years old. At 13 years old a person is allowed to do a paper round. Some 12 years old would be sensible enough and some 15 year olds wouldn't be sensible enough. It is lovely when an older sibling can be with a teenager. Like a 12 year old could be left with a 16 year old sibling. I know that a solo working parent might need to leave her 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16 year old son or daughter alone for some time.
• New Zealand
16 Feb 11
yes, my oldest son was very independent at four yrs old and it was probably because he was an only child then, always surrounded by doting aunts and uncles and grandparents...our neighbours were across the paddock and had a grandson the same age as my son and sometimes he would go to their place... I had taught him how to ring me at my work if he had any worries - of course, we didn't have cellphones in those days but he was happy sitting in front of the television with his favourite video on (the old VHS videos!)
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
6 Mar 11
Well, I would never think of leaving my four year old at home along and honestly, I don't think that my eight year old is ready to be left at home alone either. I think at about ten years old children are okay to be left at home for 15-20 minutes if the need shall arise. However, for more than an hour I would think that they need to be at least 13 years old. I might have thought a little bit younger if I would have been asked this same question a few months ago, but a friend of mine lost his 7 year old daughter and 3 year old son in a house fire where the kids were left in the care of their 14 year old uncle. The uncle and 5 year old made it out of the house. The parents of these children were separated and the mother had left them at home with the uncle.
@dodo19 (31363)
• Beaconsfield, Quebec
19 Feb 11
I really do not feel comfortable leaving a four year old home alone for any length of time. If the child was 11 or 12, and I felt that they would be okay for half an hour, then that would be fine, but definitely not a four year old. I would be too worry about the child.
@jaiho2009 (39021)
• Philippines
19 Feb 11
Hello, I know how hard it is to leave kids alone by themselves at home. I also work graveyard shift. My work starts at 12 midnight till 9am,and i have to leave home by 11pm and back home by 10 or 11am. I have 3 kids and the eldest is 17 and the youngest is 12. When i arrived home my kids are all in their school,and be back home by afternoon. They're all at home before i leave to work. It's so hard to leave them esp at night,but i have to (as i need to work) Now i am looking to seek for a daytime job. Have a great weekend and welcome to mylot
• United States
17 Feb 11
I remember being left home at about 8 years old to watch my younger brother. Our mother worked only a few miles away and we could call her if we had any questions. I appreciated the quiet time to start on my homework although my brother did interrupt me. I was not the troublesome type and was perfectly happy to read the hours away until our parents got home.
@jdyrj777 (6558)
• United States
17 Feb 11
I believe it depends upon the child reaslly. I left my daughter alone at age 7. The most she ever did was clean the house and paly with her toys. She was a very quite and responsible child. I told her if she wanted to eat any thing to just make sandwiches. My son was a bit of trouble and into everything he was around 12 before i left him alone.
• India
17 Feb 11
Hi, I left my son when 3 months old and all credit to my parents who have bought them till now. I use to feel very sad when I leave them but now even they are fine and me too. Thats part and parcel of life.
@GemmaR (8526)
17 Feb 11
It would depend entirely upon the maturity of the child, where we lived (eg the safety of the area), the time of year (I'd be happier if it was light rather than dark) and how long the'd be alone for. Obviously I'd never leave children of primary school age, but once they were at high school I think you have to give them a little more freedom.
• Philippines
17 Feb 11
I would leave my child at the age of 5yo at home. But surely enough i have to make my home as childproof as I can be. Like hiding the not so childfriendly stuffs in the closet and tidy things up a bit. Cleaning and keeping those little things that surely enough they will eat of they see it things... Or just keep them by your side, they might as well enjoy being with their parents. Sometimes things can get pretty busy, and you will end up being upset...
@SViswan (12072)
• India
17 Feb 11
It depends on the child but I don't think I would have been able to leave either one of my kids at home alone at 4....but if I really had to step out for a quick pick up at the corner grocery store, I would probably have left my older one (when he was younger). My older son is now 10 and we do leave him home for an hour sometimes when we need to go shopping for groceries. We do not leave him for too long...though once we had no option but to leave the 10 year old and the 4 year old at home for 2-3 hours. But that was an emergency and we gave them strict instructions on what to do till our neighbour would be back from work and would babysit them a few hours later. The older one is responsible and I can depend on him. The younger one is too playful....and both of them together alone scares me. My neighbour has a daughter the same age as my son and she comes home from school an hour before her mom returns from work. She lets herself in and changes. One of my son's classmates would be home alone since the age of 4-5. He would come home, change, feed himself. I would be in awe of the child then to be so independent and responsible at that age. So, if the child is responsible, 10 should be okay, I think.
@isloooboy (1741)
• United Arab Emirates
17 Feb 11
Well being a joint family system at my home there is no need to leave any child alone. My Mom who is Grand Mother all of our kids and the favorite personality of children's she always available to them. So I have no such experience regarding your question but I am happy because part of my Join Family.
@katie0 (5212)
• Japan
17 Feb 11
I don't think kids should be left alone. When they turn 13...15 perhaps, but then they are not children anymore. I almost set fire on our house when I was 9.
@mssnow (9495)
• United States
17 Feb 11
As someone else stated it depends on how responsible this child is. 12 is usually an ok age to leave a child alone. As long as they know the rules, know how to call help if needed and not be scared of being left alone. When my kids were younger I left my oldest in charge when he was about 11. But he was very responsible and knew all the rules. They are grown boys now and I have since learned they did get into a lot of mischief while I was gone. But nothing major.
@deebomb (15323)
• United States
16 Feb 11
Hello my4tunes and welcome to myLot. My oldest son is 48 years old so that gives you and idea of when he was about 4 years old. I can say that never in my wildest dream would I leave a four year old at home alone for even 5 minutes.I only left him in the car at that age once. I was just going to get a loaf of bread how long could that take. As it turned out too long since he burned himself with the cig litter. That was the last time I left any of my kids alone until they were about 12 or 13. Even then I had started working and was separated from my husband. He turned me in for leaving him and his brothers and sisters alone for about an hour. The police came by and talked to me about being a responsible parent. The thing was they knew my husband was just being vindictive. These days one never knows what is going to happen. I was baby sitting by the time I was11 but that was a different era. These days I would even leave a ten year old in the car alone.
• United States
16 Feb 11
I think by the time they're 11 because I think by 11 the child is mature enough to stay home by themself. Every child is different. My mom use to leave home by myself when I was 9 years old. I was fine then. It all depends on the length of time you leave your child by themself. But, I think your youngest son can handle staying home by himself.
@mermaidivy (15417)
• United States
16 Feb 11
I don't think I want to leave my child alone at home until... I on't even know, I just don't think it is a smart idea to leave your own child at home alone for any time until they know things and they behave very well like at least 10 years old or older???? I remember when my mom used to leave my sister home when she was at work but we owned a restaurant so my mom was just a store away to our house, my sister dug out all of my things to play... and she played mom's kitchen things... that was dangerous.