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At What Age Do You Let Kids Stay Home by Themselves? [POLL]

Girl and boy playing video game
Jupiterimages, Brand X _Thinkstock

There comes that time when parents begin to wonder if their kids are really ready to be home alone without a babysitter or parental supervision. And let me tell you, that’s a scary thing. Nothing short of a thousand “what-if’s” will run a continuous marathon through your mind.

And that’s just for a 3 hour night out for mom and dad. What about summer break? For most parents, that means 3 months of wondering if you made the right decision by letting them stay home unsupervised. Of course, there’s Lief Ericson Day Camp. There’s a week or two where parent’s can finally breath a little easier – but what about the rest of summer?

It all comes down to maturity. No one can tell you the exact age at which kids are ready to tackle the responsibilities of making their own lunch, caring for a younger sibling, knowing what to do if the doorbell rings, better than mom and dad.

For us, it was when we saw our oldest take more responsibility. Doing homework without being asked, not having to reminding him about time spent on video games, and just taking the dogs for a walk. We also watched how he interacted with his little brother and sister. When we saw that he was becoming more mature in his decision making – and at the age of 12, we felt he was ready.

Of course, there was a lot of rules – and there were consequences if they were broken. There were chores that needed to be done daily. There was a myriad of safety lectures how to get a hold of mom and dad if anything should come up. It’s also very helpful and calming to have a few close neighbors nearby in case of emergency.

It all comes down to responsibility and maturity levels – and some kids mature later than others. Don’t sweat it. It will come.

We asked our Facebook followers about when they thought kids were ready to go it alone and there were a variety of responses, with the most common response of age 12, or “When they’re ready to have their own cell phone.”

What do you think?

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