Leaving Children Home Alone – What Age?
Soon most of the children in Kiss Country will be enjoying the freedom of summer break and most parents will be enjoying the chaos of entertaining children, dealing with childcare or hoping the house isn’t destroyed when you arrive home from work. What age did you find it appropriate to leave your children at home, alone?
Few states have minimum age requirements for children to be left home alone. This is mainly due to the fact that as parents, we have to use our best judgement in determining whether or not our children are mature and responsible enough to be unattended. Every child is different.
Check out the minimum age recommendations in these states:
Colorado – 12
Georgia – 8
Illinois – 14
Tennessee – 10
As you can tell, the numbers are all over the place. (But, most states don’t even assign an appropriate age). See the full list here.
Lynn Yaney, spokeswoman for the agency that handles child welfare in Contra Costa County, California, states:
“A general rule of thumb is that kids under age seven aren’t capable of thinking logically and putting cause and effect together,” Tanner said. “They are reliant on caregivers to structure their day.” Children between ages 7 and 10 years aren’t generally ready to self-supervise for an extended period, but in a routine and predictable environment, such as just after school, they can manage, Tanner said. Children 12 and 13 years old should be judged on a case- by-case basis but should not be left alone overnight. –Latch Key Kids
I grew up in the middle of no where, between a bayou and cotton field. Strangers didn’t come around our parts, leaving kidnapping off my moms short list of potential harms. But, it’s a miracle that we didn’t seriously injure each other or burn the house the down. We survived. So did mom. She did start drinking somewhere along the journey. . . but, I don’t blame her.