Childrearing

Mommyish Poll: At What Age Do You Start Leaving Your Kids Home Alone?

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Approximately once a week, I read a story about parents who left their children home alone and are now facing some serious trouble. This week’s offender is Florida mother who left her five year old home for more than three hours without any supervision so she could “run to get a pack of cigarettes.” A neighbor called the police and the mom was arrested and charged with child neglect.

I have to admit that I think the charges in these cases often depend on the reason the parents left home. If they’re out getting smokes or going to a bar, I’m sure that both the police involved and Child Protective Services are a lot less understanding.

No matter how frequently I read these stories though, I’m always a little shocked be them. Who really looks at their kindergartner and thinks, “I’m sure she’ll be fine…” Then again, I think that I started babysitting when I hit double digits. Now, I wonder if I’ll be leaving my daughter home alone at 10 years old.

Basically, I’m just really curious. At what age do you feel comfortable leaving a kid home alone? And what prompted you to finally decide they were ready?

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