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Old 01-12-2016, 09:22 AM
 
10,090 posts, read 6,495,844 times
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I just can't bring myself to do it...

We live on a very safe street that gets no traffic unless the people are coming to our or our neighbor's houses. We know our neighbors, all nice people. No parties, no druggies (well that we can tell), no domestic drama, no registered sex offenders. All professionals or stay at home parents. A few nannies. If there was a problem, my kids could knock on any door and the people there would help them.

My kids are 9 and 10. They are, in general, well behaved. My son is very safety conscious. My daughter is big on following mom's rules. The worst they would do is sneak a candy cane. And then the other would tell on them, anyways. They have both my and my husband's phone numbers memorized, and know our full names, our address, etc. We have a land line.

So I know they are young, but I feel like, under these circumstances, I could leave them home while I run out to a quick errand (under 20 minutes). I was staying home alone at this age for hours, so I feel like I should really, really start to let go a little. I feel like now is the age to start training them, and in a year or two, they should be able to stay home for a couple hours on their own.

Yesterday I wanted to run to the pharmacy to get some tummy medicine for me. Its maybe 2 miles away. The kids were just chilling with screen time, it was super cold out and one was already in her jammies. I psyched myself up to just go alone (we have already discussed the rules if there is no adult home, I would just go over them quickly on my way out). but last minute I chickened out (and sent a text to hubby for him to go, even though I hate asking him for errands after he has been working all day).

All I can do is think of the most implausible things that could go wrong in that 20 minute window. Our dog getting violently ill. A tornado (with no bad weather or warnings). A break in. House fire. Etc. Even as I say them, I both roll my eyes at myself, and realize they know what to do in each of the situations.

So anyways, how were people able to get over this hump and start letting the kids stay home for short periods of time?
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:26 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
10,862 posts, read 18,892,348 times
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I leave my kids (10 and 13) home for errands that take an hour or less. We don't have a home phone, so we leave one of our cell phones for them. We've talked to the kids about what to do in an emergency. I leave the dogs in the house with them. They put the latch on the door and they're really just fine when we're not home.

My younger daughter always makes jokes about having to turn down the music and put away the disco ball as she hears the car pull into the driveway.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:34 AM
 
Location: The point of no return, er, NorCal
6,905 posts, read 4,226,960 times
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It wasn't terribly difficult, but then I was staying home alone at 7, and was a latch-key kid starting in second grade.

My older two were 10 and 8 when I started leaving them home while I ran quick errands, usually 15-20 minutes. Now they're 11 and 9. I knew they were mature enough to be unsupervised for short periods of time. Both are well-mannered, follow rules, know what to do if anything happens, and I call or text them to keep in contact.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:38 AM
 
218 posts, read 154,803 times
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My oldest is 11 and my youngest 4. We just in the last couple of months allowed the oldest to stay home alone when we have to go out and he doesn't want to go. He has a cell phone to text us and the rule is he is not allowed to answer the door if anyone knocks (which is rare, we live in a cul-de-sac with very little traffic). As long as he answers his phone or quickly returns a text we give him the freedom to be home alone.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:39 AM
 
4,620 posts, read 2,609,668 times
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Be VERY, VERY careful when doing this and understand the law in your area. While it may be fine to leave your kids alone if they're mature enough, note that if something does happen (heaven forbid) that child protective services may be called if the children are under the age requirement. In IL that age is 14. Most states don't have laws but leave it up to the parent.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:46 AM
 
10,090 posts, read 6,495,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markjames68 View Post
Be VERY, VERY careful when doing this and understand the law in your area. While it may be fine to leave your kids alone if they're mature enough, note that if something does happen (heaven forbid) that child protective services may be called if the children are under the age requirement. In IL that age is 14. Most states don't have laws but leave it up to the parent.
Good note! I just looked it up. My state doesn't have any rules, but my county does. I can leave my kids alone for up to 3 hours! Woohoo! I am going out partying! Kidding.

I knew the law in my old state/county. At least when I first moved there (they may have changed it). There was no laws...you could actually leave an infant home alone. As long as nothing bad happened. But if anything bad happened to a child alone at any age, the parents could be charged. I thought it was wacky, but I saw a news story on it when I first moved to that state. It wasn't nearly as safe there (i.e. we had lots of break ins, traffic, door to door sales people/con artists). I didn't let me older ones be alone until they were at least 14, maybe older. I wouldn't have let my younger ones be either. So glad we moved.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Finland
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Sometimes you just have to put your fear aside for the sake of their growing independence. Start with going for a 20 minute walk in the neighbourhood so you can pop back quickly (maybe even pop back quietly before you say you'll be back so you can see if your kids are behaving as they should) and build up to longer trips, going to the shop or something. Best to get them used to being home alone for appropriate lengths of time just in case an emergency pops up and you have to leave them alone for some reason, so they will know what to do and you won't need to worry.

My next door neighbour's 1st grader is a latchkey kid!
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Charlotte Area
3,169 posts, read 2,898,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natsku View Post
Sometimes you just have to put your fear aside for the sake of their growing independence. Start with going for a 20 minute walk in the neighbourhood so you can pop back quickly (maybe even pop back quietly before you say you'll be back so you can see if your kids are behaving as they should) and build up to longer trips, going to the shop or something. Best to get them used to being home alone for appropriate lengths of time just in case an emergency pops up and you have to leave them alone for some reason, so they will know what to do and you won't need to worry.

My next door neighbour's 1st grader is a latchkey kid!
Our bus driver would not allow my son's friend to get off the bus a couple of months ago because there wasn't anybody at home. He's in 2nd grade. All the kids that attend the ES are either car riders or bus riders. Walking isn't permitted because of the location of the school.
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Old 01-12-2016, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Texas
598 posts, read 475,608 times
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I don't think it's a big deal that you're not ready. They are only 9 and 10. But if you want to try something, how about doing a trial run? Tell them you are going to run an errand. Then get in your car, drive up the street and just sit in your car for 30 minutes and go back.
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Old 01-12-2016, 11:18 AM
 
154 posts, read 183,940 times
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It is a normal fear but you have to learn to deal with it.

I was feeling a bit under the weather the other day and sent my oldest (13) to take the youngest (10) and twins (8) to school which is 2 blocks away. I almost had a heart attack thinking of all possible scenarios (car jumping the curve, kidnapping, sudden downpour lol) thankfully everyone survived and so did I.
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