Parenting Question

One of my friends asked the following question on FaceBook and I am opening it up to the rest of you.

Question – how old would your child have to be for you to feel comfortable leaving them home alone for an hour? And at what age would you trust them to watch a sibling for an hour?

Looking forward to the responses.

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  1. batya from NJ says:

    i can leave my 10 year old home daughter for an hr w/o a problem while she is watching tv. i leave her with a phone & my cellphone # & that has worked for us. regarding your friend’s question, all i can say is IT DEPENDS on so many factors! for example, it depends on how old the younger sibling is, how mature the older one is, if the younger one is awake or asleep…there are so many factors involved. i doubt i would leave my 10 year old home to babysit a younger sibling but that’s easy for me to say b/c there is no younger sibling at home for her to watch :)!

  2. Lady Lock and Load says:

    There are laws regarding child endangerment and if something happens when a child below a certain age is left alone the parent can be arrested.
    I would suggest any parent who must leave kids alone find out what the age requirement is regarding how old a kid has to be to be left alone.
    My sister used to go out walking in the morning, leaving her ten year old daughter sleeping in the house. Yes, my sister had a cell phone.

  3. Mike S says:

    I have 4 kids, and it varied quite a bit among them. For staying home alone for an hour from about 9-14. For sitting it depends on the age and status of the sittee as well as the sitter and the duration. From about 11-15

  4. Chanief says:

    I recently started to leave mine home alone for short periods of time. Like Batya, I leave them on the couch watching TV. I make sure they have a phone with them and they know they can only answer the phone if it’s mine or their father’s number (and not to answer the door either.) I don’t go far when I leave them. I am fine with leaving them for an hour, once I left them for almost two when something took longer than it should have but I was literally down the block, I had not even driven over I was so close.

    Even though I’m leaving the older one officially “in charge” he really isn’t because they’re so close in age (they’re 9 and 10.) Our joke is that they’re with their nanny, our 80 lb husky ;)

  5. Lisa Danton says:

    I agree with Lady Lock and Load, check your state or provinces laws regarding this issue. In BC there is no specific law about a child remaining alone for an hour or two, its parents discretion. We have an 11 yr and 7 yr old in the house and we’ve been letting them stay alone for a short time since the eldest was 10 yrs old. We’ve had good conversations about “what to do if …”. So for an hour or two I’m confident they are just fine.

  6. Erin says:

    I’d say 10 to be home alone, 12 to watch a sibling. At 12, I was a paid babysitter in the neighborhood. However, this is definitely just what I think now. My son is only 4, and I’ll need to see just how he handles himself at 10.

  7. Raizy says:

    In an effort to be a truly informed NY citizen, I called 311 with the question. The response was “according to NY Law, there is no set age for when a child can be left home alone or to babysit sibling(s). It is left to parental discretion as to how mature and responsible they believe their child to be”
    Aaah, I feel so much better :)

    • batya from NJ says:

      many yrs ago i too called the police dept in my NJ township to ask about age requirements & they too said that there was no specific age so that must be the rule across the board that it’s up to the parent’s discretion-the problem arises of course when “a problem arises” & something bad happens G-d forbid. the truth is, bad things happen even when the parents (or other responsible adults) are home watching the kids anyhow so we just need to do our best & hope for the best as well.

  8. NO! says:

    home alone for 1 hour: 7 years

    watch a sibling for 1 hour: 15 years

    home with sibling(s) for 1 hour: all above 7 years of age

  9. Lady Lock and Load says:

    How about the woman who left her eleven year old home and he got gasoline all over himself and ran to a neighbor who called police, mama got into big time trouble.
    Main thing is to use your brain. Yes, things happen when parents are home, but MORE things happen when we are away.

  10. Z! says:

    Deffinitely it depends on the maturity of the child. A girl is generally going to be more responsible than a boy. (There are exceptions to this rule of course!)
    At 12, I attended a local “babysitting course” that was given through the Ottawa community center. We learned about how to entertain kids, how to deal with crisis and a bit of first aid as well. The parents that left me to the care of their kids we very relieved to know I had taken such a course and was prepared.
    If only they offred such courses for parenting….

  11. 5kidswdisabilities says:

    I was able to leave my children home alone for an hour when they were 12. At that point they could take the bus home from school and wait until I got out of work. As for when I would allow them to watch a sibling…I’d have to say never…but my kids are a bit out of the ordinary!!!!!
    Lindsey Petersen

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