When can a parent leave their child home alone unattended? It’s a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. A quick Google search reveals that there are only three states with specific laws defining the age of readiness for a child staying home solo. In Illinois the legal age is 14 years, Maryland children can be left alone by the age of 8, and Oregon says 10 years is okay.
Does your child know how to take care of themselves without adult supervision? Do they know how to make something to eat, use the restroom unassisted? Can they close and lock doors? Do they know how to call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency? Does your child feel comfortable staying home by themselves? Do they follow rules, and know-how to practice safety when someone they don’t know comes to the door or calls on the phone?
Is there a form of communication for them at the house in the event that they are scared and need to call for help? Whatever the child needs emotionally is part of the readiness test to ensure that staying home alone is a positive experience rather than a negative one. For most children, staying home alone signals that they are growing up and their parents trust them. It’s a rite of passage that all children must go through at some point in time, and done with care when a youngster is ready, can be an exciting memory for life.