A mom writes in asking for advice about the appropriate age at which she could consider leaving her child at home. She says that she is gearing up to go back to work, and now that her son is entering sixth grade, she no longer has the option to use her essential worker daycare, which is K-5 only. She is considering letting her son, who is 11 and will be 12 soon, stay home alone (where he will be doing remote learning) while she works, but she is nervous that he may be too young.
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A member of the community asks:
“How old were your kids when you left them home alone?
Hi, I have a question for all the parents of older kids out there. I’m about to go back to work, 8 am-1:30 pm. My son is going into 6th grade. Last year when they did virtual learning, he could stay in an essential worker daycare. But it’s only K-5.
My question is, how old were your kids when you let them stay home by themselves? He’s 11, will be 12 in December. I feel it’s too soon, but then again, I stayed home at that age. So am I being too protective? He would know not to use the stove, not to open the door, and will have a phone. I was just curious about others’ experiences with this big transition. Thank you all for the advice.”
Community Advice for This Mom Who Wonders if 11 or 12 Is Old Enough to Let Her Child Stay Home Alone
To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.
The community offered this mom in need a lot of great advice. Read some of their responses below.
“If you have Amazon Prime, get an Echo device (Dot, Show, etc.). You can drop in to talk to him (think intercom…I preferred this over a cell because they don’t have to accept it. I can drop in and holler their names and hear what’s going on in the room.) You can also set alarms or reminders and make announcements.”
“My girls stayed home alone at age 11. If you can afford to set up a camera and that way you can check in on him every so often.”
“That’s the age I let my daughter stay home alone, I started small with quick trips to the grocery store, ran an errand or two. Helps to build it up so when you leave for an extended period of time you don’t feel as anxious. Good Luck!”
“Only you know your child. My daughter was WAY more mature than my son at age 11. She could be left alone but not my son. If your son is mature enough, I’d definitely invest in a couple of safety essentials including a camera. My coworker works nights and her daughter was 17 at the time and she’d watch them all night via her phone to check in on them. Also, she had a sensor outside her home when anyone would walk to her home, her lights would turn on and she’d get a notification. Good luck! It’s hard being a working mother during these times.”
“Each kid is different. It totally depends on how level of maturity.”
“My older daughter was 10, at home with her 8-year-old sister by themselves. We started small, and hour here and an hour there. By the time they were 12 and 10, they were all day by themselves. Be honest with yourself. How responsible and mature do you think your child is? Do you honestly believe he will follow your instructions? If you think so, give it a try. If you have time, start small. Good luck.”
“Depending on the maturity of the child, he can stay home. Just leave him like sandwiches in the fridge and little snacks where he doesn’t have to make anything and he should be fine. I loved staying home by myself when I was around 11. It was relaxing I would watch tv do my homework and chill at home.”
“I feel like it needs to be based on each child. My son will be 12 next month. When he started 6th grade last year he was only 11. He was home for about 2 hours in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. We bought a camera where I could keep an eye on him and we have a home phone. I suppose a cell would have worked fine but I didn’t want him to have one at 11. He did fine. Momma was the one worried out of her mind…
… Now, as far as all day… I don’t think I would leave him here all day for virtual learning. There are a lot of places that are offering care and are extending the age requirement up to 12th grade. Your son may be ok home all day. But I know mine would need some kind of instruction throughout the day. Good luck momma. I know everyone is having to make tough choices!”
“I definitely wouldn’t have my child at that age in a daycare… I have an almost 7th grader and he’s been staying home for bout 4-5 hours alone at a time since he was 10.”
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