brickelm's picture

Home Alone! What age is appropriate for kids to be home alone for 1-3 hours?

My child is nine. I want to know if it is acceptable, with safety parameters, to let him to come home from school alone when I cannot get to school on time to pick him up.

acitez's picture

It depends on your neighborhood and how well your kid minds. Even if safety is probably not an issue, boredom and loneliness are still issues. I would keep it to a rare occasion, no more than a couple of times a month.

tamz's picture

I believe 9 is too young to stay alone. I am thinking maybe 11 would be a better age to start leaving him alone for a few hours.

karentheawkward's picture

If your neighborhood is safe and you remember to tell your child to never answer the door, I think 9 or 10 is an okay age. I live in a very safe suburb, and my parents let me stay home alone from around 4th to 5th grade. I was never really bored, and I loved having the house to myself as an only child.

pokey's picture

Someone asked a similar question about a year ago here, and here was my answer then:

"I wouldn't leave your daughter home alone. Here's what happened to me last week. At least a half dozen police cars were out on my street, guns drawn, pointed to the house just three doors away!

I was the one home alone, and I am an adult and I was scared. Turned out there was a felon on the loose, and I guess for some reason he went to that house to hide or maybe he was burglarizing the house and was armed. I haven't been able to find out yet. Lest you think I live in a bad neighborhood, I don't. This is a nice upper middle class community.

That would be a terrifying thing for a young one to go through. And though your friend is down the street, in my situation the police told us by loudspeaker not to leave our homes.

Just something to consider!"

Here's the link to that question and the responses.

Home Alone '07 post

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

I think 12 is an appropriate age, although it depends too on the maturity of the child. A mature 11 yr old may be more responsible than an immature 13 yr old. Parents shld use their judgement.
Also, is there a legal age that children are allowed to be left unsupervised? Parents shld look into this as well.

donnaj's picture

but I would check with your state agency...some states the parents can get into some trouble. It happened to a neighbor of mine that had a meeting...gone only 20 minutes....someone called and reported child was home check it out first.