POLL: at what age can kids be left home alone?

posted 4 months ago in The Lounge
  • poll: at what age did you start staying home alone?
    my parents allowed me to be independent from birth : (3 votes)
    2 %
    age 5-9 : (20 votes)
    12 %
    age 10-12 : (96 votes)
    56 %
    age 13-15 : (48 votes)
    28 %
    age 16-18 : (3 votes)
    2 %
    my parents never let me stay home alone : (0 votes)
  • Post # 31
    338 posts
    Helper bee

    <10, not sure how old exactly. I had a lot of freedom to play outside and do my own thing, and I’m so glad for it. I’m certain it’s made me a more resilient and independent adult. 


    Edit. Can’t believe how many people voted ages 13-15. I did all sorts on my own when I was that age! 

    Post # 32
    8478 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    missviolet92 :  I’m actually glad that my state doesn’t have a strict age cut off – it takes away a parent’s ability to do what is best for their individual child. I can’t imagine not being able to leave a 14 year old home alone for a few hours! They’re 2 years away from being able to drive a car but they can’t be trusted alone in their own house? That makes no sense to me. 

    Post # 33
    666 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2018

    I think I was about 10-11 when my mom would let me stay home, closer to 11 when she lt me stay home with my younger brother and I don’t think she was gone for more than like one, maybe two hours at a time. I do remember we moved to a much better subdivision when I was closer to 11 and that’s when the time I was left alone lengthened. 

    Honeslty, I never got to fully stay home alone if my parents when out of town or something because they never did. Even when I semi-lived at home during college. 

    In my younger years, I do know I was able to stay at home all day during summer but never had to do much besides let the dog out when she had to pee and make myself lunch/snacks, breakfast if I wanted. My parents were always around for school though and after school. I do remember I had computer and TV privelages so I spent alot of time behind those screens or reading books. 

    I wholeheartedly agree that maturity plays a big role in staying home alone. I was a really mature kid and my brother was babied and my parents didn’t let him stay by himself until he was like 13-14. 

    Post # 34
    1295 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2016

    I voted 10-12 but actually for quick trips to the shop in the afternoon or weekend mornings it was definitely earlier. But before 10-12 there were very strict rules for when being alone and it was only for less then an hour.

    Rules included:

    – No using anything in the kitchen

    – No TV (internet wasn’t a thing then so no need for a rule about it lol)

    – No answering the doorbell

    – If anyswering the phone never say that my parents were out/I was without adult supervision (shoewr, bathroom, on the other line, etc all OK)

    We also live in a neighborhood that is tightly knit so I knew to run to the neighbors house (we had a door in the fenceline between our properties so I could go front or back door to get there safely) if there was an emergency

    At 10-12 I was left home alone for extended periods of a full afternoon without the stringent rules, including being allowed to prepare food myself (including stove/oven use). This is also when I started “mother’s helper”-ing and at 11-12 I was expected to help babysit younger siblings in the evening if my parents went out (I say help because I had 2 older sisters so it would fall on one of us depending on who was free vs who had plans with friends — but if I was babysitting it was because I was oldest home). At 13 I started babysitting other famillies. 

    I tihnk a lot of kids are underestimated now a days in what they are capable of.

    ETA: Overnight stays alone was basically never but that’s because I had a bit too active a social life for my parents to trust the house to me on the weekends in highschool. In hindsight probably wise as I definitely would have invited friends over to drink and who knows how that could have spiralled. Only exception was if they knew I had a horseshow the next day as those required 3-4 AM wake ups so they knew I would be heading straight to bed early lol.

    Post # 35
    2265 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: March 2017

    Six or seven for me, but my mom was a single parent and it was the 70’s. I was babysitting by the time I was 13. It really depends on the kid and their maturity level!! 

    Post # 36
    5576 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: October 2017

    I think I was 13 when I started babysitting. My nephew is 12 and I wouldn’t trust him to watch his little brother, let alone my daughter. He has behavior problems though.

    It definitely depends on the maturity of the kid, but I think kids are older before being left alone and babysitting now

    Post # 37
    44 posts

    We started leaving our daughter home alone for short errands (30 min or less) when she was 10-ish (with rules like no using the stove while we’re gone, keeping her cell phone next to her, doors locked/no answering the door, etc.).  She’s 14 now, and I would feel comfortable leaving her home alone during the day when I’m at work, like if she had the day off from school or something (my parents are only 20 min away in case she needs them).      

    When I was a child in the 80’s, even WITH overprotective (for the time) parents, I’m sure I was staying home alone at a younger age and had much more unsupervised freedom, but that was a different time. 

    Post # 38
    225 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2021

    My parents started leaving my sister and I alone when she was about 8, and I was 3. They thought she would look after me, but she just teased and tortured me while they were away. So I think 9 or 10 is good for short trips, but don’t ask them to look after younger siblings while you’re away.

    Post # 39
    2159 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2018

    I always had older siblings but im gobsmacked that kids are being left alone at 10! I was born in the late 80s 

    Post # 40
    371 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2016

    I distinctly remember going to the park by myself starting at age 5. I used to go to parks or on bike rides alone/with my friends all the time when I was a kid starting from that young. Being left alone, well usually my older siblings were there (6-7 years older) but I can remember being home alone pretty young, like elementary school age. My mom worked 16 hour days most of the time and was a single parent, so it was mostly out of her control. I wouldn’t want the same for my kids if I had them, but I do think some parents can be overbearing or overly paranoid these days. I think age 10 is a good age to be left alone for a little while.

    Post # 41
    6483 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: September 2016

    I was left home alone with my younger brother for the first time (that I remember) at 12. By 13, I was getting myself up and leaving to walk the couple miles to school with friends while my mother dropped my brother off at his school and headed to work.

    Our 9 year old has stayed home alone for short periods of time (like us running around the corner to grab something from the grocery store). His father is more comfortable leaving him home alone than I am so it doesn’t happen very often yet.

    Post # 42
    8478 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    missviolet92 :  my friend’s 10 year old daughter is an amazing babysitter for my toddler. I have never left them alone but they go outside or to other rooms and I don’t have pay attention. Seeing what I’ve seen I wouldn’t hesitate to have her babysit in an emergency (as in we need to go to the hospital not the regular sitter canceled and I still want to go to dinner). 

    Post # 43
    2850 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2017

    When I was growing up in the late 90s/early 2000s the general “rule” in my area (not sure if this was an actual law) was that you were allowed to stay home alone at 10 (not overnight) and babysit at 12. I remember being absolutely mortified having a babysitter at 11 years old (even though she was really there for my younger brother who had epilepsy), as all of my friends were left alone daily at that age after school. 

    I am genuinely shocked that some people don’t allow 14 year olds to stay home alone. At 15 I was working part time three days a week, and also every weekend we would see whose parents would be out of town so we could get drunk in that persons house (I.e. leaving your teenage kids alone for days at a time was very common). If someone is in high school I can’t even fathom them not being trusted to be alone in their own house unless they have some sort of disability. 

    Post # 44
    566 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2018

    sunburn :  That moment traumatised me as as a child, I don’t blame your daughter! 

    I was an only child which I think made it easier for my mum, since I didn’t have another sibling to look after.  I was left along for short amount of time (0.5-1 hour) from about 8 or 9 but longer stints wasn’t until I was 12/13, though that was more due to my mum working from home or being unemployed so she never had anywhere to go. 

    Post # 45
    10 posts
    • Wedding: September 2019

    I could not imagine being 12 and still needing a sitter. 

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