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when did you
Old 07-07-2009, 06:11 AM
 
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start leaving you kids by themselves for a few minutes (up to a half hour). My DS will be going in to 4th grade and I have not left him yet. He is pretty responsible and my DH works across the street. Is he too young or about right?


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Old 07-07-2009, 06:15 AM
 
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I think 4th grade was the year I would leave my son for short periods of time--10-20 minutes and would let the neighbor know what was happening.

In 5th grade I left him up to an hour or so and had him take the babysitting class offered by the community--more for the information about being home alone than for the babysitting class (because I think 5th graders are too young to babysit nowadays).

This year (6th) I think I would leave him for a few hours during the day. He likes being home alone and doesn't have anxiety about it--I think many kids this age WOULD be anxious so you need to know your own kid, neighborhood, etc.
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:18 AM
 
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You have to consider how you think your child would handle an emergency alone. For example how would he react if a fire started, someone tried to break in, he got hurt, etc.

My stepson is 9 and going into 4th but I would not feel comfortable leaving him alone yet. My fiance says the earliest would be 13 and I agree.

It is really dependent on how you feel because each child is different.
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Home Alone
Old 07-07-2009, 06:26 AM
 
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My guy will be 11 in Oct and I just returned from a dentist appt and dropping off my DD at camp. He was alone the whole time...

I call in to check on him. He knows to only answer the phone for me or his Daddy. I leave all our numbers just in case, plus the neighbor's numbers and of course, 911.

I think I started leaving him in 3rd grade for 10 minute time chunks (to pick up DD from a playdate or to run and get a coffee). He was 9 in 3rd grade, and pretty responsible. We just built on the time from there.

The babysitting idea is a good one. Also, b/c I think he may be getting to the age to watch his DS for an hour or so if I need to go to the drs or something like that!
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:29 AM
 
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You said DH works across the street--is it a street that is easy to cross? Could your DS get to him quickly? I think it depends a lot on the neighborhood and the kid's responsibility. I don't remember when I was left alone, but I started babysitting in 6th grade, so it was before that. I also remember that since early elementary I could recite what to do in case of a fire, stranger, someone comes to the door, etc.

Actually, now that I think about it, it was probably about 3rd or 4th grade that I was left alone for small periods---my mom was at a neighbor's house (but we had a big neighborhood, so that put her a bit away, not just next door) and I was home alone with my younger brother. We had a strict No Answering Doors rule. So when the doorbell rings, my brother and I went into Commando Mode. We were in the back of the house and got on our stomachs and were inching across the kitchen floor to try to get to a position to see who it was. It ended up being a neighbor, who went away when no one answered. We were so proud of our recon moves!


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We just started
Old 07-07-2009, 06:30 AM
 
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My DD is 10 (just finished 4th grade) and her sis, 8. 10 year old is VERY responsible, so we started letting them get off the bus toward the end of the school year a couple days per week. I am home within a half hour of them. My DH to be works for himself and is less than 5 min away. My parents are retired and a mile away. Their dad is about 10 min away and we live in a subdivision, so neighbors are close. We have slowly worked it up to a little over an hour, during the daytime. It's been working well.
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:34 AM
 
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I think it is appropriate to leave him especially with your DH so close. I would do what the other pp's have suggested and start out with small chunks. I think the kids get to an age where they thrive on the independence. My oldest was in fourth grade when he started walking home from school (in our neighborhood) with a cell phone, but DH and I would scramble to get there asap...it was never more than 1/2 hour. My middle son is going into 5th grade and we are just now leaving him alone for 15 - 20 minutes. He is a little more immature and he is definitely not ready to babysit 5 year old DS.

DH and I had a big emergency planning meeting with the kids and really freaked them out! None of them wanted to be left alone after that delightful talk. We really got carried away with the "what if's".
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depends
Old 07-07-2009, 06:34 AM
 
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You should check with local laws. My aunt's son is 9 and according to MD law his is allowed to be home alone for an hour. She is very by-the-book. Of course, when I was his age I was already watching my younger bro and sis after school!
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My girls are very mature for their age, esp.
Old 07-07-2009, 09:37 AM
 
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the oldest. I swear she came out as an adult. I leave them for about an hour at the time. They are 10, 8. Sometimes i leave the younger bro with them, but not always. I don't trust him He would eat all the sweets in the house in 5 min if left to his own We started just for 10 min and built up.
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With my SD
Old 07-07-2009, 09:41 AM
 
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she was a latchkey child after school for 1 hour, 15 min in the fifth grade (around 11) and was very responsible. We went over everything under the sun that would possibly come up and SHE was fine with it.

My DD who is age 13 (soon to be 14) is not comfortable being home alone. She is very responsible but a little paranoid. She is kind of like me in that she overthinks things too much. There is no possible way to cover all of the contingents in her case.

BUT--I do have to say (and I've mentioned this before) by the age of 14+/-, my SD was completely UNreliable and had made some bad choices in friendships, etc that left us UNable to leave her home alone for long periods. So it not only depends on the kid and their personality but all of the other things going on at the time as well.


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Old 07-07-2009, 09:50 AM
 
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This year for us, when DD was in 4th grade as well. I would leave her for up to an hour, like to go work out if I wasn't far away. She is a responsible girl and I feel I can trust her. With our two boys I think the oldest was about 11 when I started leaving them for short periods of time.

Nancy
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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I think it depends on the child. In my state, I don't think you can leave kids alone until they're 12 (or maybe that's when they can babysit...not sure). I think you should check your laws first and then decide based on your child. DS isn't old enough yet, but I think I would wait until he was at least in 5th or 6th grade.
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:21 PM
 
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I was just wondering the same thing. My son will be 11 at the end of July. He despises going out to eat with us. We live in a rural, small town, 2 miles out of the city limit, but in a neighborhood setting. There are 10 houses on our street and it is a dead end so there is very little traffic. There are mostly adults in the neighborhood. Very few children.

I have been contemplating letting DS stay home alone while DH and I go to town and eat. It is only 2 miles to town and it usually takes us about an hour to eat. (We like to talk and eat casually.) He is very mature when it comes to safety. I know he would not do anything dangerous like try to cook, or turn on the heat or other stuff you hear about kids alone doing and getting hurt. He does not like to go outside, so no worries there.

The only concerns I have are 1. we don't have a cell phone in case we want to call and check on him or he wants to call us while we are out, 2. the law here says 12 to be alone, but I have friends with younger kids that stay alone and never get caught, and 3. we really don't know the neighbors, so no one to ask to check up on him, or for him to run to for help.

The safety doesn't worry me as much as being caught by the law. I don't imagine how that could possibly happen, but you never know.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:08 PM
 
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I started letting my son walk home from school and stay home for about 10 mins by himself half way through 4th grade, he was 10. He was fine and we lived in an apartment at the time, we knew the neighbors and the people that worked in the office. My son knew to call me when he got home or if anything happened, also he knew to go to the neighbors or the office. He stayed home one day by himself in 5th grade, when he was sick and I was called in to sub for a half day. I have left him and his younger sister at home for about 20 mins while I run to the store. My son is now 12 and he wants to stay home by himself when I need to go into school or shopping (I take his sister with me though).
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