At What Age Should Kids Be Left Home Alone?

When is it okay for a child to be left home alone?

We all remember the movie “Home Alone” where a little boy is accidentally left behind when his frazzled parents take off on a trip to Paris with the rest of their many children.

My first thought in seeing this film is that this scenario was highly improbable, if not impossible. I mean, really - how on earth could you forget your child? Anyway, that’s not the point of this post: kids home alone, specifically when kids should be left home alone.

We live in a very different day and age from even 20 or 30 years ago. Way back when, many of us were told by our parents to “go out and play and don’t come home until supper.” That may very well have been the norm back then but in no way, shape or form would that philosophy fly now. We’re a lot more protective of our kids and we don’t give them even half as much leeway as we used to. Ah, the good old days.


In a very unscientific poll on my Facebook fan page, I posed the question and got as many varied answers as there were commenters. Not one person agreed with the next in terms of the age and details surrounding how and when a child should and could stay home alone. As you can see, it’s an extremely personal decision and is dependent upon many factors, including the child’s age, maturity level, time period that they will be left alone, time of day or night and more. It is clearly not a “one-size-fits-all” proposition.

We’ve all heard horror stories about what may happen if we’re not there to shield and shelter our children, but how realistic are they, really? It’s likely that nothing will happen if you run out to the store for a few items while your seven, eight or nine-year-old stays by themselves for a while, but why take the chance? That’s the rationale of those who err on the side of caution; for others, the question of picking up some more milk, bread and cookies while our kids stay comfortably situated in front of the TV is not even an issue. The choice of whether or not to trust your child alone is an intensely personal one.

To that end, today’s question is as follows: At what age is it okay to leave your child alone in the house?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below

VIDEO: When is it okay for your child to stay home alone?

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

(Visited 1,053,935 times,

You might also like...