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Old 01-12-2016, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in America
12,305 posts, read 10,071,985 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighFlyingBird View Post
I was also taking care of my younger brother...built in baby sitter. I was also doing a lot of house chores and cooking for myself and sometimes my brother. I wouldn't do that.

They would love to stay home when I am running out for a few minutes. They ask all the time why they can't just stay home. My older one wants to for longer periods of time, like if I am taking my daughter someplace to play he is like "I'll stay home". Ummm...no you won't.

I have left them when I am in the neighborhood, like walking the dog or visiting with a neighbor. But they can run and get me in a second...and they know I am "around" so dumb ideas aren't as likely to take root.
Well, you're doing it in baby steps. Go slow. Whatever YOU are comfortable with. Don't worry about SuzieQ neighbor leaving her kids alone. It's different for every family. YOU have to be ok with it. I think letting them stay home while you're walking the dog is an excellent way to start this off!
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Old 01-12-2016, 03:51 PM
 
4,654 posts, read 2,625,045 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billl View Post
According to the Illinois DCFS website:

Illinois law defines a neglected minor, in part, as ďany minor under the age of 14 years whose parent or other person responsible for the minorís welfare leaves the minor without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare of that minor.Ē

I don't think they're going to take your 9 and 10 year-olds away if you just run up to the store for 30 minutes in the middle of the day.

To the OP: yes it is very hard the first time. As it should be. But it is extremely unlikely that anything will happen, and they have a way to contact you if something does. 9 and 10 is not too young for most children.
Thanks, I looked again. The only real reference is about abandonment which means left alone for more than 24 hours without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare of that minor.

I grant it is always subject to interpretation, which is all the more reason to know if there are any state or local guidelines. I also doubt that a mature 9 or 10 year old left alone for an hour would be a problem.

But I would still never do it, unless I absolutely had zero choice. 13 or 14? Sure. But not someone that young.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:26 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, Tx
7,159 posts, read 7,601,640 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanND View Post
Listen to it...it is called intuition.
They aren't...nor are you ready yet.
Or paranoia. My daughter is almost 15 and it is like pulling teeth convincing my wife to let her stay home alone.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
19,057 posts, read 10,093,838 times
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Just curious how your kids feel about being left? At 9, my son was 100% positive that he would not be ready to be home alone until he was "at least 12, maybe 13" but by the time he was 10.5 he had changed his mind. I wouldn't have left him at 9 anyway, but it worked out well that he felt confident about it by the time I was ready to give it a try. I stay in contact with him via text message and he's fine for a few hours now.
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:39 PM
 
Location: here
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That's about the age we started leaving them alone for quick errands. If they were engrossed in tablets, they never even moved. Yes, I still always think of a worst case scenario. The worst thing I can think of would be a home invasion. We've told them never to answer the door, and if they hear someone coming in the front, go out the back and vice-versa. Baby steps.
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Old 01-12-2016, 11:55 PM
 
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I'm trying to remember the age we first left ours alone. Not sure but I do recall we first left our son to handle himself overnight when he was 14. Sister had an out of town soccer tournament and he didn't want to go, so he stayed home. No problems. Both our kids knew how to cook for themselves at a early age.


Funny thing is, when I was like 12 or 13, we would go camping by ourselves. Just a couple of boys in the woods, with camping gear, knives, hatchets, Coleman stove, white gas, matches. No we never burned down the forest or blew ourselves up. We were taught right early on to be self reliant.
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:34 AM
eok
 
6,684 posts, read 2,954,148 times
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There was a news story about 5 or 10 years ago about a mother (who has some famous relatives) leaving her 5 year old son home alone because he didn't want to go shopping with her. She locked up the house to make sure nobody could get in. He was playing a video game or something. She wasn't planning to be gone very long. But he got bored with his game and decided to go outside. But he couldn't get the door unlocked, so he jumped out a second story window. Their family is famous for being athletes, but he was jumping onto a concrete patio from the 2nd floor, barefoot. He was very athletic and jumped successfully, except that it caused pain in his feet, because of the concrete. So he got in the swimming pool to make his feet feel better. But he was wearing street clothes except for being barefoot. Then, when he got out of the pool, his clothes were dripping wet. Then he tried to go back inside, but the doors were still locked. Then a neighbor saw him, trying to get in, with dripping wet clothes, and thought something must be wrong. So the neighbor called the police. And it turned out to be a felony to leave him home alone. The news reporters had a field day, because of all those details. Such as jumping from the 2nd story onto concrete barefoot, and getting in the pool in street clothes, and the mother being arrested for leaving him home alone. The family being moderately famous made it a much bigger story than it would have been.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:57 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
4,294 posts, read 2,887,052 times
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Well if I don't have the gut I wont do it. I don't like regrets. Our time and now time is way too different. Horrible scenarios all over the place. Many scary things happening. Our neighbor did exactly the same she went for groceries with leaving her 10 year old home and she met an accident. Social services has taken the child for careless parenting. That hassle is not worth so I don't do it till I feel my daughter is grown enough. If you don't feel doing it, then don't, if something happens that is you who regret and in pain not any one of us in the forum. Good Luck with that OP!!
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,501 posts, read 15,968,402 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eok View Post
There was a news story about 5 or 10 years ago about a mother (who has some famous relatives) leaving her 5 year old son home alone because he didn't want to go shopping with her. She locked up the house to make sure nobody could get in. He was playing a video game or something. She wasn't planning to be gone very long. But he got bored with his game and decided to go outside. But he couldn't get the door unlocked, so he jumped out a second story window. Their family is famous for being athletes, but he was jumping onto a concrete patio from the 2nd floor, barefoot. He was very athletic and jumped successfully, except that it caused pain in his feet, because of the concrete. So he got in the swimming pool to make his feet feel better. But he was wearing street clothes except for being barefoot. Then, when he got out of the pool, his clothes were dripping wet. Then he tried to go back inside, but the doors were still locked. Then a neighbor saw him, trying to get in, with dripping wet clothes, and thought something must be wrong. So the neighbor called the police. And it turned out to be a felony to leave him home alone. The news reporters had a field day, because of all those details. Such as jumping from the 2nd story onto concrete barefoot, and getting in the pool in street clothes, and the mother being arrested for leaving him home alone. The family being moderately famous made it a much bigger story than it would have been.
Depending on how you "lock up the house" (for example, some keyed deadbolts) it can also mean that the child can not get out if they absolutely have to get out.


Someone who was active in the same child-centered activity as my children, and appeared to be a loving, responsible parent, left her three youngish children alone when she ran an errand. She locked them in a bedroom with lots of toys thinking that would be the safest but apparently one of them found some matches and started a fire. They were trapped and unable to get out and all three children died. Mom is now in prison.


While this is obviously not a common situation. I just wanted to mention something about "locking kids in so they are safe."
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Old 01-13-2016, 09:47 AM
 
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For the most part, this is a judgment call on the part of the parents, which is how it should be. Obviously some states/countries have laws about minimum age to be left alone, but others do not, and even if your child meets the "minimum," they may not be ready. You know your children best. My own kids are homeschooled (the oldest now goes to high school) and I have had many years of observation of how they handle themselves and various situations in the house.

I started leaving them alone for brief periods of time (up to one hour) when they were about 10, and only when they agreed that they felt fine with it. (The first couple of times I asked my oldest daughter, she said no. I would never have left her, even for a few minutes, if she was unwilling.)

That said, I think most everyone would agree that 5 is too young to be left alone. But if you can't leave a 15-year-old alone in the house for an hour, that is also a problem. Somewhere in the middle there needs to be a transition, and I don't think anyone else can make that decision for the parents--with the caveat that if there is a legal "stay home alone" age in your state, you probably want to abide by that.
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