Hillary Chybinski: home alone. . .

Thursday, July 15, 2010

home alone. . .

what age do you think it is ok to leave your child (children) home alone?

i don't mean grabbing your spouse and flying off to Paris (does that sound like heaven on a stick to anyone besides me? ) - I mean dropping off a prescription or picking up milk. . . just a quick errand - an hour or less of "gone" time.

i have an almost 10 year old and an almost 4 year old. . .and these are the questions i'm pondering. 

for the first time, i left my almost 10 year-old in the car while I went into his little brother's school to drop him off.  I have never let him stay in the car by himself - ever.  he was surprised - but so happy to be old enough for this. I put the window down a bit and locked the doors - taking the keys with me.  He was parked in front of the building entrance - in plain view of the receptionist.

but still. . .

alone out there in the car. . .

what are your thoughts on this? how do you decide when is a good time for what?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

catch you soon -


  1. At age 10, you should be leaving him for short amounts of time, to do errands in the neighborhood. It's the first step in his independence and gaining that confidence. Middle school is right around the corner and this is the time for him to earn your trust. It's hard with the oldest, but you'll feel comfortable with it in no time ;-)

  2. I don't think there is a clear answer for this. There are so many considerations, including the particular city/neighborhood and safety issues, maturity level of individual children, etc. Each of us have to consider all these things and make a call factoring in the whole picture.

  3. I think I was 12 when I started babysitting... think I was at home by myself (for very short period of time before my mom would come home from work -- we're talking 10 minutes max) in third grade, but there was a neighbor who was aware and I could go to. We moved by 4th grade, and I was letting myself in every afternoon for at least a half hour or so, but I had my grandmother across the street. As Erin mentioned, there is no clear answer for this... it depends on the child and situation.