I should have invented a slide rule for this sort of thing.
At what age should you leave your kids alone at home? This slide rule could have a side for age, one for maturity quotient. One for boy craziness, probably, couldn’t be discounted. What of that kid in your brood who fosters a healthy obsession with setting things aflame?
(Is that just us?)
There’s serious stuff to consider, outside of the kids destroying my stash of graham crackers and provolone (Not together. That’d be gross.) There’s opening the door to strangers, unsanctioned living-room MMA, or setting a Betty Crocker cookbook on a hot stove (okay, that one was me.)
In 47 states, and, I presume, Guam and Puerto Rico, when to lets the kids fly solo at home falls solely on those who raise them. Three states actually have laws for when you can leave your kids home alone.
In Illinois, it’s against the law to leave a kid at home alone before they turn 14.
Oregon’s law sets the age at 10.
As long as your kid’s 8 in Maryland, you’re all set.
3 kids home, ages 4, 8 and 11
“The first time I got left home, with them,” Grace said and pointed to Marie, “I learned to write my name. All over the dresser.” She was 4, Marie 8, and Elise 11. Grace’s age, now. Who taught you to write your name? I asked.
Marie smiled at pointed at herself.
I remember how it shocked Grace that we implicated her so easily. Marie, too. It’s not what the girls will do, it’s what they won’t do that gets them in trouble. Just unload the dishwasher, or pick up your beads and strings from those girl jewelry-making kits.
Try not to break shit, okay?
Only, when we got home, we’d find them vegged out, open mouthed, watching Zach and Cody bewilder and dumbfound every adult in that damned hotel (and cruise ship). When it comes to knowing what age to leave the kids home alone, I just went by feel.
Like this cool blogger here.
So far, no EMT visits
What did my dad senses tell me? Dad senses are to mom senses what a butter knife is to a machete, but they’re there. They’re the Buffalo Bills of parent senses – in the same league, but not really. Anyway, so far, no EMT visits during kid-alone-time.
Also, I’ve never had to tell one kid how to set a bone in a compound fracture for a sibling.
Grace got left home recently and felt compelled to text me at work to tell me. “I’m going to invite lots of boys over and order pizza!” her text bragged. Kid knows I’m a state away at work, and probably entrenched in a grueling bowling match at any given time.
Or on a porch eating a slice of pizza, myself.
“I’ll come there and grind those boys into a pile of stinky boy dust,” I retorted. “And I’ll steal your pizza.” Grace knew I meant business. For the record, we settled on an exclusion of boys and a 50/50 split on the pizza.
No slide rule required.
So at what age did you leave your kids home alone? Link the news story to it if you have one.