Home Alone - FamilyEducation
Home Alone
09/14/2007 at 09:13 AM

Hi everyone - this is my first post.

I have a 10 year old daughter who hates going to daycare now.  She begs me to let her stay home alone before school (2 hours) and after school (2 hours)  We live in a very safe neighbourhood and my bestfriend is a stay at home mom who lives down the street so if there was ever an emergency she could be there in seconds.  I find my daughter to be very mature for her age as well. Her school is in walking distance from our home.

However, I am not comfortable yet leaving her alone for that long.  I've left her to run a few errands for maybe 30 minutes at the most.  Also, the summer would mean home alone ALL day, and I just can't do it.

I figure maybe next fall I will take her out of daycare, but its a fight everyday to get her to go. What age do you start leaving your kids home alone?

I wouldn't leave your daughter home alone.  Here's what happened to me last week.  At least a half dozen police cars were out on my street, guns drawn, pointed to the house just three doors away! 

I was the one home alone, and I am an adult and I was scared.  Turned out there was a felon on the loose, and I guess for some reason he went to that house to hide or maybe he was burglarizing the house and was armed.  I haven't been able to find out yet.  Lest you think I live in a bad neighborhood, I don't.  This is a nice upper middle class community.

That would be a terrifying thing for a young one to go through.  And though your friend is down the street, in my situation the police told us by loudspeaker not to leave our homes.

Just something to consider!



Would it be possible for your daughter to check in with your girlfriend?Could she have breakfast with your friend and then walk to school,maybe with other kids in the neigborhood.After school she could do the same.Check in at the friends house, have a snack and play with the kids?Then walk home,and call the friend to let her know she is home.The summer can maybe work to both of your advantages. Could your girlfriend use a "babysitter" for her kids?Your daughter could take on some childcare responsibilities.(With your girlfriend) Your daughter is at a good age for entertaining young kids. Instead of paying daycare, make sure to compensate your friend.Dont forget to go over all the rules of being alone in a house.If you really feel your daughter can handle this, maybe give it a try. good luck.


Go with your gut feeling. I did pick up that you did mention your daughter is a bit mature for her age. How about giving her a few easy chores to do to keep her busy and the time go faster for her. Find out exactly why she doesn't like daycare? Is something going on there or does she just think she is too old? Discuss these details. Summertime you can assign her a few chores to do as you stated she is there all day, and perhaps your friend checking in would be good too.


I'd make a point of insisting that nobody come over to play.  When kids are out in public they are 90% safer if there are two of them, but if they are at home they are more likely to think up mischief.  Is there an after-school activity for at least one of the days? 


It would be a big mistake to leave a 10 year old child home alone. It shouldn't even been concidered. Leaving your child with a friend instead is alot safer!


Good points.  I am fairly relaxed about children supervising themselves, depending on their maturity, but there are those unforeseen events.

Could you change your schedule, reduce your hours so that you are only gone when your daughter is at school?  I know, in a perfect world.

I had another thought,  do you have a medium sized dog?  A Nana, like in Peter Pan? The likelihood that a terrible event will happen in your neighborhood while she is alone is small.  In that unlikely event, the dog would likely be no protection, but the dog would be comfort.  If it was the right dog.  Like mine. 


I went through this same dilemma with my kids and the reason why I had to finally bite the bullet was to preserve their happiness. There is no real wrtitten law that states when kids can or should be left on their own. It is a loosely interpreted thing. Those that have mature and "able" kids can start to be independent much sooner than those their age that have issues with being alone or that cannot rise up to the occasion of being responsible like this just yet. You really have to evaluate your own child. I will tell you this....most aftercare programs stop offering care after the child turns 11 or hits fifth grade. That is because most children are responsible enough at this age to handle coming home, locking the doors, doing homeowork, and waiting for mom & dad to come home from work. For those that cannot do this, there sometimes isn't a lot of programs offered to help after age 11. My kids stopped going to aftercare when my oldest hit fifth grade. She was 10 and then turned 11 that school year. We live in a very safe area and also in a gated community. Risks were low. Neighbors were close and watching...and so was I. I would pull "check-ups" all the time. Watching her and her 8 year old sister walking to the house from school,using their key to get in, locking the doors...etc. I also had a rule that they were to call me the minute they got home, without fail. Failure on this one would lead to stiff punishment for sending their mother over the edge!! The girls were on their own for 2 hours until I came home from work. In that time, a snack was eaten and homeowork was done. No one out, no one in, until I get home. Rules were stiff but that was the deal in exchange for ditching aftercare. I never had a problem. I also want to add that because of this experience, my kids are the ones who can walk and chew gum. They are the ones with common sense over the others and are way more responsible than some of their friends. My kids will be the ones doing their own laundry while away at college instead of bringing it back to mom & dad's because they don't know how. They are still very much kids too.....a good balance is the best balance. Follow your heart but put controls in place with the brain only if you do this. And check....check....check....on what she's doing.