Leaving a Child Home Alone or What Age to Babysit?

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Leaving Kids Home AloneMost States do NOT have regulations or laws about when a child is considered old enough to stay home alone or to babysit other children. Some states have guidelines or recommendations.

It is estimated that over 40% of children are left home at some time, though rarely overnight. Following are links to resources and guidelines helpful to parents in making decisions about leaving their children home alone while they go to work, run errands, attend social events etc.

The National Network for Child Care offers a Home Alone publication, which covers things families can consider when deciding to leave their children at home alone. The publication also features a Readiness Checklist as a tool to help parents consider the appropriateness of self-care for their children. This should be used as a guide only, NOT as a deciding factor.

Note, resources are provided here for information sharing purposes only. Inclusion of resources does not constitute an endorsement or imply any guarantee related to content.

We need to carefully consider the tremendous responsibility we have to protect our children when deciding to leave them alone.

When a child has been left by their parent in circumstances where the child suffers serious harm, or the parent has failed to maintain contact with the child or to provide reasonable support for a specified period of time this is called abandonment.

From Professional Learning Board’s online continuing education course for teachers: Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse

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4 Responses to “Leaving a Child Home Alone or What Age to Babysit?”
  1. Heather says:

    The readiness checklist is great. I know when my daughter goes to visit her dad, he leaves her alone a lot. I know she is not ready for that. This is a great way to have some common ground as to when she will be ready. Also, I will be using this as a reference for the families in my class.

  2. We’re so glad you found the readiness checklist helpful! We did too. Thanks for you helping to tell others about it.

  3. Blessy Smith says:

    Perfect topic to talk about, and thanks for sharing that Readiness Checklist” guide this would be a great help for some parents who are in doubts or thinking to leave their kids home alone. I am a single mom and I have two kids ages 9 and 12 year old .However, I do not leave them home by themselves. If in case that I am not around due to some work related reasons I asked any adult in our family to look after them. Since as parents our top priority is the safety of our kids. I provide them also a safety solution to protect them wherever they go. It’s a mobile personal safety application that has a direct access to 911. The good thing of the service is that, I can locate my kids current location. I find this very useful for the safety and protection of my kids. For more on your child safety just check this out http://Safekidzone.com/

  4. Thanks for letting our readers know about this tool.

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