Home Alone

Is your preteen ready to go without a sitter?

As your children grow older, you may be eager for the days when you can grab dinner with friends or run errands without hiring a babysitter. If you are looking for guidance, New York State has no legal age requirement that governs when children can be left unsupervised.

Maturity level is the primary indicator. Look for the following characteristics that may indicate a stay-at-home trial run is in the cards:

Sound judgment.  Preteens who make good decisions and follow the rules at home and school are generally ready for a few unsupervised minutes or hours. But a child who is often in trouble probably isn’t.

Responsibility.  Is your preteen’s homework regularly finished on time? Does your child have the skills needed to safely manage a knock at the door or a ringing phone? If so, a short solo stay at home may be possible.

Comfort.  Is your preteen comfortable with the idea of staying home alone? If not, don’t force the issue — continue hiring a sitter until your preteen feels confident enough to go it alone.

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