What age did you start allowing kids to stay home alone?

always quiet

Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes you're the hyd
Joined
Jun 9, 2003
I have 3 kids, the oldest, DS, will turn 14 next Monday, oldest DD is 12 and youngest DD 9. We have a family wedding coming up in April and my neighbor, who I was going to ask to sit, has now been placed on weekend, night shift and won't be able to watch the kids (this is a Sat evening wedding in Philly). I don't feel comfortable leaving the kids alone, particularly since it is at night, for about 4 hours. My DH is going to stay home with the kids and I am going to 'escort' my 84 yr old father to the wedding. My sister (it is her son getting married) thinks I am totally wrong...they are plenty old enough to be left alone. :rolleyes: If it were a daytime wedding, held closer to home, MAYBE I would feel better about this. As it stands now, there is just no way!!:earseek:

How old were your kids when you didn't panic with them home alone for this length of time??
 

The Mystery Machine

Sunrise at my house. :+)
Joined
Jan 4, 2001
My 12yodd babysits her 7yo sister. We started that this year in 7th grade.
She did start babysitting neighborhood kids when she turned 12.

I don't panic because we have cellphones. Without them I wouldn't do it.
 

Mimi Q

<font color=blue>Can't wait to ride it<br><font co
Joined
Feb 19, 2000
Why aren't your children invited to their cousin's wedding?
 

goofy4tink

No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator
Moderator
Joined
May 2, 2002
We have just started leaving my 10 y/o alone, for short periods during the day. I used to think that 12 was a good time to start babysitting but now I'm not as sure. I guess it all depends on the kids, where you are going (how far away), where you live etc. It's really pretty individual I guess.
 

tkd lisa

An old school dis boarder
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
My DD is almost 12. We have just started letting her stay home for a couple hours at a time during daylight hours. Under strict rules not to answer the phone, and with us in cellphone reach. We have not yet let her "watch" her brother (10 1/2), nor do I think we will for another year at least. And for several hours at night, I just don't see that happening until maybe 16 and 14.

I think the 14 year old "might" be able to stay home alone for this activity assuming you would be in cellphone reach and there was a neighbor around in case of an emergency. I don't think you're overprotective at all to not want to leave all the kids home. There's a big difference between a 14 year old babysitting someone else, and a 14 year old sibling home with their siblings.

Are there any friends who your younger kids could visit or sleep over with for the evening? It's a shame your DH can't go to the wedding.
 

sharbear

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 28, 2001
I have a 14 and 16 yo. and I left them home alone when they were 12 and 14.

For family harmony I would leave the kids home, turn on your cellphone and go to the wedding.

If I was your sister I think that I would feel the same way. Not everyday does your nephew get married.
 

Amy

MamaGrumpy
Joined
Aug 18, 1999
I, too, was very hesitant about leaving my boys (they're 12 and 14) home alone. But then I realized that when they were little, the girl who babysat for us started watching them when she was 12. So once oldest DS was 13, we tried it. At first, it was just home alone after school. Then I'd leave them alone while I did the groceries or something short like that when DH wasn't home. We finally "graduated" to dinner out, sometimes we even include a movie, depending on the boys' behavior before we leave. (On Valentine's Day, they were just fighting with each other all day long, so we just went to dinner and skipped the movie.)

You have to go with your gut feeling about whether your 2 oldest can stay by themselves and watch your 9yo. Also, how far away is the wedding? I know you said you'd be gone for 4 hours, but is the wedding/reception 1/2 hour from home? If you have cell phones and can get home fairly quickly if need be, then give it a try.
 

pw2pp

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2001
I think every situation is different.
I would have done it when my oldest was that age, but I only have 2 kids and they are just 2 years apart and the oldest is a girl (girls are usually more responsible sooner than boys). With my kids just being 2 years apart, it's not like my daughter had a big responsibility to take care of her brother.
I think you have to go by your own instinct with your kids, but if you don't feel comfortable about it, don't do it, because you would just worry the whole time anyway.
Does your husband mind missing out on the wedding?
 

chager

<font color=teal>In the end you will feel better a
Joined
Apr 24, 2003
I guess it depends on the maturity of your kids. I have left my 9yr old at home for short periods of time. It was during the day though. I know I was babysitting at night when I was 14 and for extended times of the day when I was 12. (I watched a neighbors toddler and baby for 2 weeks in the summer...almost never wanted children after that experiance!!:eek: Evidently she ALWAYS carried the children EVERYWHERE!! After over 20 years the memory is still fresh in my mind!) My friend had a 15 and 12 yr old sons. Because the oldest is not very mature and can be evil towards his brother they don't leave them home together for any length of time. They usually stay at my mom's during these times.

I think it all comes down to the maturity of the kids and how well they get along. If I understand right you are talking about 4 hours or so. Given their ages I would think they could handle themselves. I would leave phones numbers and then just check in on them a couple times during the evening. Maybe you could let them rent some movies to watch. That should keep them occupied. This is if they get along well with each other. If they can't get along or are not mature then I would say someone should stay with them. Good luck!!

(BTW - My brother and I could not get along at all!! Leaving us together was NEVER an option at any age for my parents. We would spend the night at a friend's house or with relatives usually. We do get along slightly better as adults, but not as well I was want to. He is just a hard person to deal with.:( )
 

DisneyObsessed

<font color=green>Walking is not an option<br><fon
Joined
Oct 21, 2000
I have DS15 and DD 12 who have been staying home alone for about a year. I find that they actually behave better when we're not home. I think they like the feeling of being alone and responsible. As long as you have a cell phone, I think it would be ok. As others have said, kids usually start babysitting at 12. But you know your kids. Are they ok with staying home alone? That first time is always the hardest (for you I mean);)
 

always quiet

Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes you're the hyd
Joined
Jun 9, 2003
My kids are NOT invited to the wedding!!:rolleyes: This is a sore spot with me because when I got married when my nephew was 12, I made it a point to allow kids to be invited so he wouldn't be the only member of the family NOT in attendance!

The wedding is in historic Phila....probably 45 minutes or so away from home. God forbid something would happen, I wouldn't be able to get right home. I have left the kids home alone for about an hour or so during the daytime hours and yes, they all still had working body parts when I got home but normally, we spend about 30 min. with the 3 of them telling me who did what to whom and how often!! ("He kicked me!" "Well she punched me!" "They wouldn't talk to me!!"....you get the picture!! :rolleyes: ) I just don't think it's a good idea for that amount of time!!

DH will be 'fresh' off a year long treatment for a chronic illness...I don't think he would be up for such a long evening out of the house. Currently, a trip to Target has him ready for an afternoon nap! :earseek: He doesn't mind missing the wedding one bit!
 

pw2pp

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2001
My kids are NOT invited to the wedding!! This is a sore spot with me because when I got married when my nephew was 12, I made it a point to allow kids to be invited so he wouldn't be the only member of the family NOT in attendance!
Maybe you should BOTH skip the wedding and go out for a nice dinner together close to home. :D
 

always quiet

Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes you're the hyd
Joined
Jun 9, 2003
Believe me, IF it weren't for the fact that MY skipping the wedding would start WWIII, I would LOVE to skip it!! :hyper: I have never enjoyed being out so late (wedding starts at 8:15) and I also hate city driving!! :crazy:
 

Mishetta

<font color=FF6600>All I get to play is "crashing
Joined
Feb 5, 2000
I'm going to add my 2 cents now...just my opinion though so don't flame me. I would not leave my children home alone that young. The world is not the same that it was when I was a child & babysat at age 11! If DH is willing (& wanting) to stay home, then just attend the wedding with your Dad.

Now I'm adding 2 more cents....it's one thing when it's a friends wedding & they don't invite kids but this is your sister's son's wedding, the groom is your children's cousin, & they're not invited! Wow! Talk about sore spot! Truthfully, I wouldn't even go. Then again, that JMO. If your sister isn't worried about hurting your feelings by not inviting her neice/nephews, then you shouldn't worry about hurting her feelings by not attending!
 

disneysnowflake

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
I have 2 boys aged 10 and 14. The 14 year old can stay here by himself, but my 10 year old can't. I don't have my 14 year old babysit his younger brother. I'll allow my youngest to stay home alone when he's 13, like I did with my older son.
 

suzannen

<font color=green>Have too many rules for my coffe
Joined
Sep 7, 2000
Do you have any neighbors or friends who live close by that you trust who would be home that night so if something did happen the kids could call them first and they could be there in minutes while you are trying to travel home? I completely understand about your apprehension being 45 minutes away as opposed to 10 minutes away.
 

eeyoreforever

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
Originally posted by Mishetta
I'm going to add my 2 cents now...just my opinion though so don't flame me. I would not leave my children home alone that young. The world is not the same that it was when I was a child & babysat at age 11! If DH is willing (& wanting) to stay home, then just attend the wedding with your Dad.

!


I totally agree. My dd's are 11 and 9 1/2 and I wouldn't even consider leaving them home alone. Maybe I'm overprotective (my dh says I am), but there also is no possible way I would have ever allowed a 12 year old to babysit for me. The truth of the matter is my kids have never had a babysitter. They have only stayed with grandparents or if I'm making a quick trip to the store and they are playing with a neighbor, they stay there (very seldom). My 11 year old is what I would call mature for her age, but there are so many things that can happen.

Do what is best for your children-if you're not comfortable leaving them, you will be a nervous wreck all evening. Good luck in your decision.
 

Mimi Q

<font color=blue>Can't wait to ride it<br><font co
Joined
Feb 19, 2000
I would do whatever you feel comfortable doing. I don't see how your sister could be upset about your husband not attending the wedding if she doesn't invite your children. I can't imagine my children not being invited to their cousin's wedding. I'm sorry, but I think that is just rude. Best of luck working this out.
 

disykat

This person totally gets me
Joined
Jun 5, 2000
First, I'll agree that I wouldn't leave kids 9 - 14 alone for 4 hours while I was 45 minutes away.

That said, I'm apparently much more lenient than most of you - which surprises me because I've always thought I was overprotective. I have an 11 year old and an almost 9 year old. I've already started training the 11 year old to be home alone or in charge. At this point it's mainly things like leaving him home while I drop the younger child at school (5 minutes), having them let themselves in on the rare occasions I can't be home when they get home from school and be alone for the 10 minutes before dh gets home from work, letting him sit in the car while I run into the PO Box instead of dragging him in with me, etc. I figure by the time he is 12 I'll be able to run to the store etc., and by 13 we'll be able to go out to eat close by - sort of a gradual step up.
 









DISNEY DINING PROMO CARD OFFER!

The Disney Dining Promo Card is a great way for you to “Stay, Play, and Dine” at Walt Disney World this summer. This offer is available for arrivals from June 25 to September 14, 2023.

Click Here for a No-Obligation Quote!




Top