I came across this and found it interesting

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Aliceacc, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It's a state by state listing of the minimum age at which a child can be left home alone. The differences are pretty striking-- they range from 8 to 14, with 12 probably being the average.

    http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-kids-age-limits.htm

    And, as long as I'm doing parenting trivia, here's one on bike helmets:
    http://www.bhsi.org/mandator.htm

    We're fighting the helmet wars with Brian; he hasn't been on his bike in close to a year, since we insist that he wears a helmet (in accordance with NYS law) and many of his friend's parents don't.
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Wow! I was amazed that they said children between 7-10 can be left home after school alone. And, that they said not to leave children home overnight until after the age of 12 . I didn't leave mine home alone until they were teenagers and not overnight until they were 18.
    I was always an over protective parent, though, so I'm interested in other people's views.
     
  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I don't remember when I stayed home by myself the first time. I know it was younger than 12. My mom would often run out to the store or post office for a minute with me home alone, but never for long enough for me to get into much trouble. Also, I grew up in a very small town, with almost no crime.
     
  5. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    My son is 10 and as of Sept he has spent 45 min at home by himself about 3 days per week after school. He enters the house, calls me, and then plays on the computer until I get home. There are 3-5 familiar neighbors home during this time. He's comfortable with it, as am I. I however would not be fine leaving him and his 8 year old sister home alone. Oh, and I did do my research first to make sure I wasn't breaking any PA law when we decided on this arrangement.

    I'm a bit surprised at the mandated age of 14 in Illinois. I've used reliable 13 year olds as babysitters for my children.

    My brother and I started babysitting ourselves at the ages of 7 and 9. We got along well, were very low key kids, and had plenty of neighbors we knew. So that worked for us. But as I said, I would not leave my 8 and 10 year olds at home by themselves. My daughter would not be comfortable with it at all.
     
  6. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    As far as bike helmets, mine are fine with wearing theirs and will even remind their friends to wear theirs. A few parents in my neighborhood don't enforce it, but they're not parents of kids my kids play with.

    It probably helps that my brother is a biker, wears a helmet and has had a few crashes that prove the need for a helmet.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Brian (12) stays home alone if he misses school (and isn't scary sick.) The sitter checks in on him, and both Peter and I call and check in. Two neighbors are also home most of the time.

    Julia (10) is just getting to where she's comfortable being home without us for short periods.

    But Kira(7) is almost always with us. If I were to leave her with Brian, there would be bloodshed for sure!
     
  8. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    When I was in elementary school, I remember being home alone or with my younger brother (3 1/2 years younger than me) after school or on other such occasions... mom worked at a church daycare/preschool across the street and by 4th grade or so I was home alone because decided I didn't like going to their school-age program since almost all the kids were in K or 1st and I "didn't want to hang out with the babies." My grade school went K-4, and I know 5th and up I was home after school either alone or with my brother. We pretty much just watched TV after we got home (no computer at home yet)... since we didn't have caller ID, we had instructions that if mom or dad was calling, they'd call, let it ring twice, hang up, and then call back. Any other phone calls were to go straight to the answering machine (one of those manual ones with the tapes, remember those!?). We always got along pretty well, the biggest arguments we got into were over who got to sit in which seat on the couch.

    It wasn't until probably 7th or 8th grade that they'd leave us home alone at night, though. That's also about when I started babysitting for other families.
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Well, I have latchkey kids. Stuart (9) and William (8) get home first, and hang out until Matthew (11) gets home an hour later. Today, they're on break and I have to work, so they're home. I have three different neighbors they can call if thre's trouble, and of course, they have my cell and work numbers, my boss's number, and the cell phone numbers of 4 people who's desks are near mine.

    Not too long ago, William was sick (not scary sick) and I couldn't get the day off of work. He had to make it by himself from the time I left to the time Stuart got home. That's a long time for a a kid who's never been left all by himself! He did a great job though.
     
  10. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    What?! Arizona has none? So this means I can leave my 2 yr old alone at home and I won't get in trouble? riiiiight!

    FYI when I was 8 I was allowed to stay home by myself after school for only a few hours. I had STRICT rules and HAD to call my parents when I got home, etc. It really was no biggie and assuming my daughter will be just as responsible as me, I will allow her to do the same.
     
  11. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    We came home when I was nine & sis 8 & had our neighbor that was in K. The neighbor mom came home within an hour!!! She was a teacher. We only had the neighbor like once a week.
     
  12. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    I just tought about this... the law in Illinois, according to that site, is 14. That's pretty interesting, and I'm betting it isn't too enforced, considering the numbers of 5th and 6th graders I see at school with house keys around their necks (and yes, they're told to tuck them into their shirts, but they don't always stay there...). That's also interesting considering he family I babysat/nannied 2 summers ago.

    3 kids, entering 4th, 6th, and 9th. They really just needed someone who could drive them places, since the older 2 had been staying home alone for quite some time (the younger one not yet, although they were letting him stay for very short periods). There were often mornings when the 3 kids would be home, or 1-2 of the kids would be home alone before I got there... the older 2 had house keys (although the key I was using belonged to the middle one, so he was key-less, although they knew where the spare was kept). The oldest MIGHT have been 14, the younger 2 obviously not. They were VERY responsible kids and even the youngest had some good cooking, etc. skills... but it's interesting to note that they shouldn't *technically* have been able to be home alone at all.
     
  13. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    But, just because parents are allowing this doesn't mean it's not illegal nor does it mean it's not enforced, they have just never been caught. These parents need to be careful because if they are caught they could receive child neglect charges....COULD mind you. That possibility would scare me enough!
     
  14. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    My parents are very strict & overprotective, so although I have no idea at what age I first stayed home alone, I'm thinking 15/16, but it could have been later.
     
  15. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I didn't let my daughter stay home alone during the day until she was in high school, but I also live in a big city, and there are safety issues that we have that others probably don't worry as much about.

    I can't imagine letting her be alone overnight. I can't imagine her *wanting* to be alone overnight!
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My son was in grade 5 (so 10) when I went back to work full time. He came home after school alone; I called him when my students were gone, about 20 minutes after he got home. The next-door neighbour and neighbour across the street were both home. I'm not sure how old Lauren was when she first stayed with Alex. Alex was probably 16 when we first left him alone overnight--again, close neighbours were home. This worked well for him--quiet, trustworthy, independent--but wouldn't work for everyone.
     
  17. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Interesting--My parents left us home alone for short periods probably when I was about 12 or 13 (my brother would have been 10 and my sister 8), but we lived in a very small town and I was a pretty responsible kid. I was definitely baby-sitting before I was 14!
     
  18. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Pennsylvania doesn't have a law according to the site but I swear I remember seeing an article back in October about a 9 year old child being reported as home alone after school.

    When I was a kid my sister and I stayed home alone after school starting when I was about 10 and she was 8. Our 3 year old sister was in daycare. We were home from about 3:00 until 5:30. I started babysitting full time in the summers when I was 11 and was babysitting at night for my sisters at the same age--sometimes til 2am. I was really responsible though--my younger sister wasn't allowed to be home alone or babysit until she was 14.

    Even being responsible though, I can't imagine letting an 11 year old watch my two kids. I love the little girl across the street but I can't imagine her having the maturity to babysit at her age. I get nervous letting her walk my 4 year old across the cul-de sac to her driveway!
     
  19. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    When I was around 10 I would stay home alone babysitting my younger siblings. By 12 I was babysitting other kids. I don't remember staying home alone before that.
     
  20. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    I was 12 years old when I was allowed to stay home alone and start babysitting. Though, I was never alone after school, on weekends or when I was home sick until 12th grade. My parents, sister and myself lived upstairs from my Grandparents (mom's parents) from when I was in 2nd grade until the middle of my senior year of h.s. (my parents bought their own house) - my grandma worked for a few years and my grandpa didn't work at all; there was always someone home. I grew up on Long Island.
     
  21. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    So, really only 3 states have laws, some have guidelines and the rest don't have any guideline.

    For me, it depends on the kid, the surrounding environment and the other available supervisory options. For example, if you have a 15
    year old daughter, but you live on a street with 3 convicted sexual offenders whose victims were in her age group, I'm thinking latchkey is not an option. If you have a mature child who is dependable and there are no inherent pitfalls in the situation, then age is not so much a factor as is maturity. The first time I babysat, it was a New Year's Eve, I was 13 and it was across the street from my house. My mom checked on me several times via phone (not to mention she had her face pressed up against the window of our house :lol:) and all was well. Even when I babysat at age 14/15, my mom would still call and check to make sure all was well at least one time during the evening.
     
  22. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Funny you post this now Alice. I was just thinking of this. TX doesn't have a law. My daughter is 7. I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving her home for an extended period of time. A few minutes to run something over to a neighbor, sure. 5 minutes to the store and right back, sure. We have great neighbors that would check on her and she's mature for her age. I was thinking that next year, she could ride the bus home, check in with a neighbor, then come home for the 30-45 minutes until I got off work, but that will have to be revisited next year. I'm not sure when I would feel comfortable leaving her overnight though.
     
  23. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    I know I was definitely home alone when I was Brian's age if I missed school because of sickness too and in fact, this probably started around Kira's age being home alone especially after school. There was always a list of chores that needed to be done and my parents always called to check that we made it home ok. I think this does help with kids developing some sense of responsibility and having resposibility as well....yeah, there was plenty of bloodshed with me, my brother and sister...semi-bloodshed.
     
  24. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I knew California didn't have a law about this. I had a terrible time with a neighbor who would leave his children home alone, and called to ask CPS about it. They said the reason for not having a law is that it really depends on the child. However, leaving a 2 year old (yes, he did) was a matter for police because it is child endangerment. So the father would not be held to an age-based law, but rather to an endangerment law.
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think it's a matter of each parent's comfort level.

    Kira is too young, absolutely.

    Julia is on the cusp; I don't think I would leave her home alone all day, but she's OK in small doses.

    Brian is fine.

    But I would still hesitate to leave them home alone after about 6 pm unless I were just running across town to drop someone off.
     
  26. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    I'd guess the law is *never* enforced -- as in, the cops never come around and check houses to see if children are home without adults.

    However, if something happens with your child at home, the parent might face charges. For example, if a fire starts in your home and spreads, and it's found that your children were at home alone, you might be charged with neglect at that point.
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Right. I think that's the reason for the law-- so that people who don't exhibit common sense can be charged with something.
     

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