Home Alone :: How To Decide When Is the Right Time for Your Kids?

What age is a good age for your children to stay home by themselves? It is a great way to teach them independence and to be responsible. While most states do not have laws with an exact age, this can be determined by a child’s maturity and the area you live in. When searching online for an appropriate age, most articles I found said to start off with a walk around the block a few times a week while the child/children stay home and see how they feel. The next step is to add more time, say 30 minutes to run to get gas. 

Test Runs

I have started to test my son, who is 11, to see how he handles being left alone. I went to pick up a pizza down the road, and he did great. I even called him while I was heading back to make sure he picked up the phone and was doing ok. After doing this a few times, I began to add longer times. He has done great so far. Here is my problem: some would say that 11 is too young to leave a child at home by themselves, even if it is a short time. A lot of my decision weighed on his maturity level and how I felt he would do by himself. Being an only child, he is used to being on his own. I also trust him since he has not given me a reason not to. Until he gives me a reason not to, I trust him to tell me if he feels uncomfortable staying home alone.

What is this “quick trip” you speak of?

We all know how easy it is to do things when we have to run into the store to grab something. Having my son with me most of the time either adds onto this “quick trip” or I end up buying something I would not have normally purchased if I was by myself. I remember when my son was little, it took an act of congress to leave the house. Did I have his diaper bag, food, change of clothes? I put him in his car seat, put him in the car, drove to the store. Then hauling the car seat with a pretty heavy kid to find a cart, put said child in the basket, grab all his things in case a tantrum ensued. Seriously, it was a nightmare. Most of the time I left him home with his dad so I could do all the shopping as quickly as I could and get back home. Now that I am a single mom, I do not have that luxury to leave him with his dad and just head out the door.

At what age do you feel it is appropriate to leave a child home alone?  What other factors do you think play into this decision?

Jeanne DeLasalle
Jeanne is a single mom to a wonderful son who loves nothing more than her family, friends, and her Saints. Born and raised in New Orleans, she enjoys everything this city has to offer. In her spare time you can catch her napping or binge watching movies on her couch. On Sunday's in the fall, she is in the Superdome and goes into a state of depression when football season is over.


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