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Moms Talk: Leaving the Kids Alone

Local mothers Stacy Blom and Christie Arias weigh in on when kids are responsible enough to not need supervision.

Patch: How old do your kids need to be before you feel comfortable enough to leave them home alone?

Christie Arias: My kids at 3 and 5 are a long way off from being left without a babysitter. I am thinking that it depends on the child. Some are more responsible than others. I also think that taking baby steps and getting them used to being in charge is a good idea.

For example, a quick run to the market is a good place to start. Maybe even having a slightly older neighbor come by to hang out for a bit. I think somewhere between the ages of 10 and 12, they are responsible enough to be alone for a while. In general, I think girls are more responsible.

Stacy Blom: I still feel uncomfortable leaving my 14 year old home alone! I know that's odd but it's just the way I am. She does stay home by herself but if I can find something else for her to do or a friend to come over to be together, I would much prefer that situation than her being completely by herself.

She's fine with it either way but as a mom, I like the security of knowing she's with someone else. I think we started leaving the girls home by themselves when they were 13!

Patch: What are your rules and guidelines to having them stay home alone?

Christie: I will make sure that my kids know what to do in case of an emergency. I wouldn't want them cooking or in the kitchen when I wasn't home. They wouldn't be allowed to open the door for anyone or have friends over.

Stacy: Blinds are closed so no one can see in or out, no answering the telephone unless the person is identifiable and absolutely NO ANWERING THE DOOR! If you go outside, you must check in with me and I need to know where you are going and for how long!

Patch: Who do you usually ask to babysit?

Christie: My mom and my sister are my favorite babysitters. I still haven't found a "hired" babysitter in five years. It's really hard to find someone that you trust with your kids.

Stacy: Our first choice was always my parents, who live very close. If they couldn't, we would hire neighborhood kids to come watch them or we just wouldn't go out!

As I've mentioned a million times, our kids have always been our top priority and if we couldn't find a sitter, we just didn't go! We enjoy a lot more time out now that the girls are older! When they were younger and we lived on a single income, it made for a very expensive evening to go out and pay for a sitter!

Marga Lacabe January 19, 2012 at 05:53 AM
I think it depends completely on the child at what age you leave them alone. Granted, American kids are specially infantilized (and I'm just as guilty of this), but some are readier earlier than other. I'd be perfectly willing to leave my almost 10-yo alone, though I'd probably do it in gradual increments of time. However, she doesn't want to stay alone unless I'm going very nearby for a short period of time. Coincidentally, I was just telling her that when I was her age I spent a fortnight in Buenos Aires (I'm from a smaller city 35 miles away) practically alone and unsupervised. I was staying in the apartment of a friend of my father's, and my father would come most nights, but during the day I had the apartment and the city for myself. I don't think I ever went more than 10 blocks away or so from the apartment - but I can't imagine my daughter even doing that. Alas, I was living under a military dictatorship so I think the crime rate was relatively low :-)
Candi January 19, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Parents often ask at what age it’s ok to leave their kids home alone (without adult supervision). The National Safe Kids Campaign recommends that, generally, kids should be at least 12 years old before they are allowed to stay home alone . . . but there are variables that must be considered. There’s no one set age at which it is always appropriate to leave kids home alone. Each situation is unique and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Below are the... http://tinyurl.com/7bmz4d9
Leah Hall January 19, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Goodness! I was allowed to walk around a snake infested state by myself at the tender age of 4. Times change. :)
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Michelle Smith November 23, 2012 at 11:05 PM
One of the challenges of being a parent is arming your kids with the skills to handle the obstacles life presents. And leaving them home alone might be the scariest thing we could ever imagine. And so teaching them how to use 911 in an emergency could be one of the simplest — and most important — lessons you'll ever share. However, pressing 911 alone for me is still not enough to assure my heart about the security of my child whenever I’m away. Therefore, I’ve searched security devices that will notify me whenever emergency arises and can quickly reached 911 with all the information needed. And then I found this link from a blog I am reading http://www.tsue-thatswhatshesaid.com/2011/08/your-childs-safety-your-piece-of-mind.html

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