My ten-year old daughter really wants to babysit. “Really, really, really bad.” But, she’s 10. The American Red Cross offers babysitter training classes, but they are aimed for kids 11-15. Her desire for freedom and independence – because you know that’s what this all boils down to – brought me to the question: At what age should you leave your child alone?
The folks at Web MD say you can leave a 10-year-old alone for an hour or so during the day, to test the waters. The article runs through a litany of questions you can answer to gauge if your child is truly ready to be left alone at home. It asks about alarm systems and crime rates, but then it hit one that might impact my daughter’s chances.
”Has your tween shown signs of responsibility in the past? Examples include finishing homework on time without having to be asked and doing chores around the house.”
Busted. Her room is a mess. I could tell her until I’m blue in the face to put her clothes away. She will. That one time. Then, the next day, or sometimes even that same day, it’s right back to where we started.
The thing that gets me about all this is she doesn’t really need to be left home alone. Not at this point at least. But, this is important to her. She wants to show how she’s getting older and can take on responsibility, like watching her younger brothers. That Web MD article also suggests not leaving her to watch their siblings until she’s 12 or 13. I have friends who have left their kids home alone to do basic errands at a much younger age. So far, so good.
What do you think? At what age have you left your kids home alone? What about watching younger siblings? Oh, and more fun, when you have left kids alone – what kind of messes did you have to clean up on your return?