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Old 11-16-11, 09:57 PM   #1
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Kids alone at home after school... at what age it's OK?

I was alone at home when I was a 8yo. The bus will dropped me in the front of the house around 2pm and wait for me to get in. After that, I was on my own till like 6pm or 7pm. But times were different back then. My family and all neighbors have been living there for over 30 years, everybody knew everybody. If I got out of the house you bet it wouldn't take 5 minutes for someone to notice and call my mom (I tested).

Some people go by age. Others go by how developed is the kid socially. Others have different opinions for boys than for girls. I would like to hear your opinions and get a feel about what's the popular rule-of-thumb out there.

The older kiddo over here is ten already. I don't feel comfortable with letting him on his own just yet. He's a genius on many things, but social skills are a little bit behind for the age. But I guess the time has to come at some point. Any stories/advice from parents that already went through this phase?
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Old 11-16-11, 10:01 PM   #2
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I was babysitting neighbor kids when I was 12. My daughter started staying home alone for short periods of time when she was 11. She started babysitting other kids when she was 12.
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Old 11-16-11, 10:08 PM   #3
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I was babysitting neighbor kids when I was 12. My daughter started staying home alone for short periods of time when she was 11. She started babysitting other kids when she was 12.
Oh well... now that you mention that. I did had a 12yo babysitter for the first few days. She was soooo pretty.... and intelligent... and she was in *drum-roll* middle-school. That was big. I try to kiss her (on the chick of course, didn't knew any better) and didn't even got close when she slapped the hell outa mah

No moar babysitah for little Rube from that point on.
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Old 11-16-11, 10:48 PM   #4
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We will allow our ten year old son to stay at home for a few hours at a time. I think 12 is when I would be comfortable with him riding bus home and being unattended until I got home from work.
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Old 11-16-11, 11:04 PM   #5
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I was 11 and taking care of my siblings, cooking dinner, helping with homework, etc. Then I hit my teenage years and all hell broke loose, smoking, drinking, the whole nine yards. My kids are 3&4 right now. I'm looking forward to the narrow window of 10-12 when I can trust them to be home alone
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Old 11-16-11, 11:36 PM   #6
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Well... my kid can make hot pockets and reheat sandwiches but that's about it when it comes to cooking.
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Old 11-17-11, 12:27 AM   #7
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My 10 yo comes home alone after school, starting this year; he is solo 2 hrs tops usually more like 90. He has been really responsible so far about chores and homework vs DS time. The almost-7 yo goes to Y-Care after school, she's too much of a maniac to ask her relatively staid big bro to supervise her. But maybe next year...
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Old 11-17-11, 12:46 AM   #8
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Well I was home with my sister after school for a few hours growing up. But that isn't necessarily a good thing. When I was younger (8-12) my sister would beat me me pretty hard and I don't mean sibling rivalry but that was what my parents wrote it off as until they figured out she was a little ill.

I think I could have hacked it alone at home by around 10 years old, but at that point I was living in the burbs and was a pretty good kid IMO.

wow, over share in Foo on my life history, but I'm just saying growing up being alone wasn't my issue, the older "responsible" kid was.
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Old 11-17-11, 02:13 AM   #9
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i was home alone with my little brother starting at around age 10. at the point, i could make pancakes, eggs, ramen noodles, soups, etc. i thought i was a little chef lol.

but then again, it was a country, rural texan small town. Everyone knew everyone. Like someone said above, had anything happened, my neighbor across the street would have called my parents. Or, i could have just walked to any of my other neighbor's houses. Gotta love the country, lol.
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Old 11-17-11, 07:45 AM   #10
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Another thing was later on, I was like 12 I guess, I was allowed to get out and ride bikes for an hour after I got my homework done. I would get home, do my homework and then get out and ride bikes with neighboring kids. The gang, about 30 kids or so, like to ride away from the neighborhood for a few blocks (out of neighboring snitches view) then behave badly (bullying other kids). I didn't like being part of that and I stopped riding with them altogether which made kinda an outcast in my own hood. You know, "you must be with us or against us" kind of thing. There was a bad period when I could not even get out of the house because they would throw rocks at me. And with their parents being good persons and friends with mine, mom and dad thought I was exaggerating the issue. One by one they were shipped out to juvi, died of drug overdoses, gunned down, etc. Before high school was over I was the only one left alive among the free society. By the time I reach college, I was the only one alive, period. It could have easily gone the other way.
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Old 11-17-11, 07:49 AM   #11
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I was home alone from age 6. I wouldn't recommend it for kids that young. I got into lots of trouble.
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Old 11-17-11, 08:16 AM   #12
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When we found Sparties we started leaving our son at home alone at around 6 months. Sometimes we wouldn't get home from the video poker casino for a couple of days.

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Old 11-17-11, 08:42 AM   #13
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I was babysitting neighbor kids when I was 12. My daughter started staying home alone for short periods of time when she was 11. She started babysitting other kids when she was 12.
That's about what I was thinking.
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Old 11-17-11, 09:21 AM   #14
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We started leaving my daughter home when she was 12. It probably depends alot on the personality of the kid. My daughter is big on following rules so I don't have to worry very much.
However, growing up my friend was left alone at an early age and he liked to experiment with lighting stuff on fire. I was the responsible friend who usually kept him out of trouble.
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Old 11-17-11, 09:25 AM   #15
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I was the responsible friend who usually kept him out of trouble.
That's an interesting point. I've heard it's a good idea to put two kids together. That way, they both have to buy into a crazy idea before it's acted on. Chances are one will lose his or her nerve before they burn the house down.
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Old 11-17-11, 12:03 PM   #16
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guess my parents are different. in the mornings my grandmother woudl be there but by the time we left for school she had gone home. i started staying home alone at 8 years old with my brother who was 6 at the time. we got home at 2pm. there woudl already be a meal for us in the fridge, we woudl do our homework then watch tv. we coudl play outside if there were other kids outside playing (i lived in apartments). my dad woudl come home around 5 pm.
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Old 11-17-11, 12:34 PM   #17
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At what point do they finish school? 18? 23 for a bachelor's? 37 for a M.D.? That's about right. 37.
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Old 11-17-11, 05:28 PM   #18
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Hell, I'm 32 and it's still not safe for me to be home alone.
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Old 11-17-11, 05:53 PM   #19
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Hell, I'm 32 and it's still not safe for me to be home alone.
Same here bro, same here... trees falling down, catching on fire, cars asplodin' and stuff, not safe at all.
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Old 11-17-11, 05:56 PM   #20
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I was raised by wolves. I wasn't allowed to leave the pack until I was about 12.
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Old 11-17-11, 06:02 PM   #21
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I'm also counting on this year's 10 yr old biking 2 miles to and from middle school next year as an 11 yr old. I expect to be able to ride with him in the mornings but he'd be coming home solo (or with a friend who lives along the route). Then I am hoping he'd be able to ride by his old school to pick up his sister and bring her home and stay in charge until a parent can get there. It's entirely possible when we get closer to next year that it will be apparent that is not feasible.
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Old 11-18-11, 07:22 AM   #22
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Old 11-18-11, 12:00 PM   #23
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Its never ever a good idea to leave your kids home alone. Not safe. They'll have plenty of time to stay home alone when they're old enough to get thier own place, and even then you'll worry!
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Old 11-18-11, 12:02 PM   #24
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I'm also counting on this year's 10 yr old biking 2 miles to and from middle school next year as an 11 yr old. I expect to be able to ride with him in the mornings but he'd be coming home solo (or with a friend who lives along the route). Then I am hoping he'd be able to ride by his old school to pick up his sister and bring her home and stay in charge until a parent can get there. It's entirely possible when we get closer to next year that it will be apparent that is not feasible.
Make sure little sister understands that big bro is in charge by parental holly mandate. Around here, the little girl tends to be quite bossy and defies/questions brotherly authority unless previously stated by parental decree in family meeting, specifying the start/end times of brother's reign/rule along with a list of how far does the brotherly authority extends and what would be the possible conditions that might allow her for a civil disobedience action or a right out rebellion/mutiny.

Obviously, my girl will be a republican... :\ but that could be discussed in P&R, lol.
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Old 11-18-11, 12:04 PM   #25
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Depends on the kid. We have 7 year old twins. One I'd be fine with leaving for a few hours right now. The other, I'd probably wait a few years.
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