Every parent eventually faces the decision to leave their child at home for the first time, whether its going to the store, or just leaving them alone during after school hours. But you need to make sure your child has the right skills and the right maturity level to be left home safely.
New Bloomfield School Counselor Lyndsey Horine said, You could begin by leaving them alone for small periods of time like maybe a trip to the mail box or a trip around the corner."
She said there are a number of things to consider when you're thinking about leaving your child at home, and age wasn't the first thing that came to mind, It depends on the student and their maturity level, and how many other siblings or children are in the home."
Debbie Hamler with the Speical Learning Center in Jefferson City said certification classes are offered for babysitting at age 13 so she thought that age would be appropriate, "Somewhere around the age of 13 it's posssibly ok to leave your child alone but I think you have to look at each individual."
Leaving your child is ultimately a decision you have to make yourself but the child welfare expertrs suggest, a trial period, maybe role play to see how your child would react in an emergency, establish basic rules, and of course ask your child how they feel about staying home alone.
According to the Missouri Department of Social Services there is not an age in Missouri that is illegal to leave your child alone. But other states do have such laws. According to the web site Latchkey Kids.com the laws vary by state. For example in North Carolina and Maryland children can stay home alone at age 8. In Illinois the legal age is 14.
How young is to young to leave your kids home alone? In tonight's Facebook story of the day we'll talk to local school's to get their professional opinion.
Also, find out what the law in Missouri says about leaving your child at home alone.