What Age Are Kids Ready to Stay Home Alone?

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Stage Of Development Determines Readiness More Than Age

As all parents know, kids mature at their own pace, so there is no magic age when kids are ready to be left home alone. However, most are ready to be home alone for brief periods of time around 10-12 years of age. Even so, the age may vary from child to child, and if your child doesn’t feel ready, don’t push it.  Those who are ready will be excited about staying home by themselves, not afraid.

Essentially, age isn’t what determines whether your child can handle the responsibility of staying home alone ─ his stage of development does. In addition to displaying confidence, if you find that your child demonstrates the following behaviors and skills, he’s likely at an age where he’s capable of caring for himself for periods of time during your absence:

  • He tells you where he’s going and when he’ll return whenever he leaves home.
  • He completes his homework and chores around the house with minimal supervision.
  • He gets ready for school on his own.
  • He knows who to call in the event of an emergency.

Most states don’t specify an age when kids may be left home alone. However, in general, parents are legally responsible for their children until they reach adulthood, and part of caring for children is providing adequate supervision. So, what is a responsible parent to do? Assess your individual child’s readiness, looking for the specific behaviors that demonstrate the ability to self-care. Once your child seems ready, provide your child with suitable preparation, such as a life and safety course like Safe Sitter® Essentials or its Safe@Home course that can provide the training kids need to be safe when home alone.

Age can be helpful in determining when it is time to assess whether your child is ready to stay home alone, but it is not a reliable indicator of maturity, so know what to look for and help your child develop the skills necessary to be safe while home alone.

If you liked this article, you might like: 

5 Questions To Ask Before You Let Your Kids Stay Home Alone

6 Ways To Deal With Difficult Behavior When Caring For Kids

Jennifer Seward

Jennifer Seward

Director of Marketing Communications at Safe Sitter, Inc.
Jennifer has an M.A. in English and years of nonprofit experience. As a writer and former newspaper reporter, she gravitated toward the nonprofit world because she enjoys the vast storytelling opportunities found there. Her favorite role as a marketer at Safe Sitter® is hearing others' stories and telling those stories through writing.
Jennifer Seward