There are several instances where you might have to leave your child home alone. It might be because of a snow day. Or you unexpectedly got called into work. Or the babysitter informed you they couldn’t make it at the last minute.
Whatever the reason may be, parents feel apprehensive about leaving kids without any adult supervision. There are many questions they must ask themselves before doing so.
How do you know if your child is old enough to stay home alone? Are they even ready for the responsibility?
Only three states currently have laws stating the minimum age for a child to be at home solo. In Illinois, a child must be 14-years-old; Maryland, 8-years-old; and Oregon, 10-years-old.
So if you live elsewhere, you can decide for yourself when your child is allowed to be home alone. But if you need some guidance to determine whether or not your school-aged kid can handle being by themselves, here are a few tips.
You’ll want to keep in mind that every kid is different and has varying maturity levels. For example, one 12-year-old may be more than capable of managing themselves, while another may not yet be up to the task.
In addition, consider the area you live in and the safety of your neighborhood. Do you live on a busy street? Are there neighbors you can rely on to help out your child? And will your child be completely alone, or will they be accompanied by other siblings or pets?
The presence of others can help ease any fears your child might have about staying home without a sitter or parent. But in that case, you must ensure your oldest child knows how to care for a younger sibling or pet properly.
It also depends on how long you will be leaving your kid unattended. Will it be for just a couple of hours or longer stretches of time?