When Should Children Be Ready to Stay Alone at Home? (by Sindia Martinez)

sindiapicMost parents have to eventually ask themselves questions such as: is my child ready to stay home alone? How long am I going to be out? Is my child safe, happy and self-confident? Does my child have ways and sources to contact me? Is the area where I live safe? Can my child walk from school or the school bus to get into the home safetly?

When children reach a certain age, all these questions come to the parent’s mind. Also, there is not a particular age because according to Promoting Children’s Legal Rights, “the law does not specify a certain age; although, it recommends parents not leave children under the age of 13 alone at home” (Promoting Children’s Rights). The reason why there is no specific age for leaving an unattended child at home is because each child’s capability varies in combination of other factors.

Children who are left alone at home and travel from the school to home are called “latchkey-kids due to the telltale key around their neck or on their pockets” (Latchkey-kids.com).

If other sources such as a babysitter, after school programs like The Boys and Girls Club for instance, or a responsible person are not available to supervise your children, there are factors to consider before leaving children home alone.

A lot of organizations agree that a parent should apply certain measures before leaving a child alone since age might not be the only factor to consider.

Factors that should be strictly applied to avoid putting a child at risk are:

  • Make sure children under 10 years old should not be left alone at home
  • Examine your neighborhood
    • Research on internet for sex offender around
    • Get to know the crime rate in the area
  • Provide a list of contacts including emergency contacts
  • Provide a way of communication
    • Tablet
    • Cell
    • Computer
    • Internet
  • Make sure that the child is happy about the arrangement
  • Tell the child what time you will be back

Parents should pay close attention to the expert recommendations because it becomes a “legal offense” ( (Promoting Children’s Rights) if leaving a child alone at home could put him/her in danger.

In addition, Kidshealth.org—a non-profit organization that believes in the child’s health and wellness—adds more factors to consider.

  • Does the child show responsibility?
  • Does he or she follow rules and directions?
  • Does he or she have good judgement?

 Works Cited

Kidshealth.org. “Leaving Your Child Home Alone”.1998-2015. Nemours. 04 August 2015.

Latchkey-kids.com. “At What Age a Child Be Left Alone”. 2015. 04 August 2015.

Promoting Children’s Rights. “Home Alone” April 2015. Coram Children Legal Centre. 04 August 2015.

Annotated Bibliography

Kidshealth.org. “Leaving Your Child Home Alone”.1998-2015. Nemours. 04 August 2015.

This website is very interesting. Parents must evaluate all possibilities that their children are basically ready and capable to stay alone at home. They ask questions such as if your child is responsible. It is very important that the child himself feels a decent self-confidence about being left alone at home.

Latchkey-kids.com. “At What Age a Child Be Left Alone”. 2015. 04 August 2015.

The article focuses on the fact that parent should decide if their children are ready to be left alone at home. They provide a series of factors to consider. Also, children left alone at home are called “Latchkey-kids”.

Promoting Children’s Rights. “Home Alone” April 2015. Coram Children Legal Centre. 04 August 2015.

This website focuses on children’s rights. They claim that there is not an assigned age by law for leaving your child alone at home, since the child’s capability for such circumstance varies from child to child. However, if leaving a child alone at home could put him/her at risk, that will be considered a legal offense.   Parent should evaluate their children’s ability to be left alone.

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4 comments

  1. Kayla

    Hey Sindia! Great job on your culminating project. Some suggestions/comments I have are that I felt you shouldn’t have made your entire introduction paragraph questions to the reader, I think you should have included your research question earlier on because you seemed to spend a lot of time asking the reader questions then giving them information that wasn’t vital to your research question… I did like the lists you included but I feel like you could have given us a personal story to connect with the writer. Good job! You’ve progressed a lot throughout the class.

  2. Megan O'Mara

    Sindia,
    This is great! I work as a full time nanny so this totally applies to my life! I struggle with leaving an 11 year old to walk a friend up the street. Its often hard to know what is okay and whats not. The factors in your blog post are a great way to know if the kid should be left alone for even a few minutes! This definitely applies to so many people and you executed it so well!
    I love how you began the blog post with a bunch of questions! It definitely got me thinking! This blog post is very well organized and has a bunch of great points. I don’t have any suggestions for you to make it better! Your sources were very helpful and contributed to your topic! Great job!

  3. Sindia

    Thanks for your thoughts Kayla and Megan

  4. JJ

    Those questions are exactly the kind of questions I’ve had to ask myself about my three children. This is such an important topic with many concerns – legal, emotional, safety. I was a latchkey kid throughout my school years, but now that I have children I cannot imagine leaving them home alone for so many hours each day. It is a struggle all parents who cannot afford a nanny and don’t have access to free childcare must face. Good article!

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