It`s a question every parent asks: When is it okay to leave my child home alone? Whether you and your spouse just want to enjoy an appointment or you`re hoping for a quick child-free trip to the grocery store, it`s important to ask yourself a few questions before you leave without your child. It is important to note that no two children are the same and parents must decide on a case-by-case basis what is best for their child. Therefore, in addition to the general guidelines listed above, a parent or guardian should consider the following before leaving a child home alone: Many legislators understand that a child`s maturity – not their age – is a more precise criterion for determining whether or not a child can be left home alone. Think of « adding a sibling » as « adding another ball to juggle. » Sure, as individuals, they can take care of themselves, but if they have a new distraction or task to deal with, can they do both? Still not sure if your child has the right skills? Just keep exercising. By equipping your child with these skills, you not only prepare them to stay home alone, but you also empower them to be a more capable and confident person. In general, children must live with their parents or guardians until they can function independently in society. Therefore, they should always be under the supervision of their parents or guardians, especially at home. However, when is the ideal time to leave a child alone at home? Heads of state across the country have been debating this issue for years, and many still do not have a solid basis on which to base this decision. For now, here are the laws that aim to leave children alone at home across the country. PRO TIP for Leaving Siblings Together at Home: Don`t blame one for the other – this is a recipe for sibling competition and resentment. Instead, give each child a specific task – one is responsible for lunch, the other for tidying up, the other for choosing the movie, etc. This way, they work as a team for the success of the afternoon while mom is away. Few states specify a legal age to leave a child home alone, including Maryland (8) and Illinois (14).
However, most states have guidelines with the Department of Health and Human Services or other child welfare agencies that test a child`s ability to be left home alone. Factors may include the age and maturity of the child, the general safety of the environment or circumstances, and the precautions taken to ensure the child`s safety. Note for military families: If you live in the United States There are most likely published regulations that determine the age at which your child can be left unattended (like these Fort Bragg guidelines), so check with the core staff for the most accurate information for your community. The table below shows the minimum age at which children can be left home alone, classified by state, in the United States. Please note that city and county ordinances may have more definitive and restrictive laws in each state. Call your state`s DHS or local child protection agency to learn more about age guidelines in your area. If you`re feeling a little suspicious of your child`s will, I`d like to help you get there. The positive parenting strategies I teach actually strengthen a child`s abilities so you can prepare them to take on these responsibilities alone. We have great tools to get you started. First of all, just because they meet the age requirement doesn`t mean they`re mature enough to stay home alone. Here are 5 ways to tell if your child is ready. If you decide yes, we`re ready to go, here are 6 ways to train your child to stay home alone and conversation starters to talk about your expectations and concerns.
And chances are you`ll have a child who will play the role of babysitter, so check out our babysitting checklist, which can be printed to make sure all the important details are covered. I understand – there are many factors to consider when leaving your children at home. The last thing you want is for them to replay Macaulay Culkin`s performance in the classic movie Home Alone. Leaving a child at home is a big deal and it has to be a good decision for everyone involved. With regard to the age of the child, eight different areas are acceptable to each State. These areas are the ones that states have decided to have the most acceptable age. In this way, as the child grows, he can begin to adapt to the change and govern himself accordingly. This age is used to determine what age is suitable for children to start babysitting.
The ranges and number of states that adhere to these age groups are: Finally, if it is necessary to leave children alone at home – at least if older children are involved – you can follow these recommendations: Currently, only 3 states have a legal age limit for leaving children at home, while 10 others have an age policy. The reality is that when a child is flagged as unsupervised, it is local child protection services that will determine whether that child has been left inappropriately – even if there is no strict law. Think for a moment about your child`s general judgment. Answering the above questions honestly can help you know if your child is ready for this type of responsibility. And if not, you can identify areas of growth and create a plan to help your child exhibit mature behaviors for the future. If you have no choice but to leave your (quite old) children unattended for long periods of time, it`s absolutely worth investing in a home security system, especially one with video capabilities (a feature preferred by 74% of ADT survey respondents). The child`s degree of maturity is also taken into account when he is alone at home. The following aspects can be used to analyze the degree of maturity of a child: There are legal age restrictions for children who are left alone at home. Some are guidelines and some states may have more definitive laws than others. If you can confidently say « yes » to each of the above questions, it`s a good sign that your child is ready to function without you at home for a short period of time.
As with anything related to parenting, this takes time. It`s important to make sure your child feels lonely at home before adding a sibling.