When Should Our Children Stay Home Alone?

When Should Our Children Stay Home Alone

While chatting with a friend yesterday, I discovered that she had left her 9 year-old home alone while the rest of the family went out. I was very shocked to hear this as 9 seems very young to stay home alone (for me), but she had complete peace about doing it. She told me that she trusted her child and didn’t worry about it at all. I started questioning if I were an overprotective mother for thinking this was insane, because I was honestly baffled to hear it. Perhaps this reaction stems from growing up home alone at an all-too-young age myself and therefore overcompensating from that experience. Or maybe not.

What age is okay to be home alone?

Children obviously develop and mature at different rates, so I suppose an appropriate age would depend on the child. My oldest, who is 10, is very mature and smart for his age, but I still can’t imagine leaving him home alone for any length of time. What adult decisions would he be forced to make on his own and could he handle those decisions at 10?

Sure, it’s nice to think that everything would run nice and smooth, but what if something went wrong?

What if someone knocks at the door and says, “Your house is on fire!” Should they believe it? What if the house really is on fire? What if the child gets hurts and can’t get to a phone? Are the cable tv and internet safety locks on when they’re alone? What about guns & alcohol? There are so many scenarios and factors that run through my mind…

I have a hard time assuming that even the most mature children can or should be able handle grown-up situations. Is it fair to put them in those situations?

I would love to hear your thoughts.