When Is it Okay to Leave Your Kids Alone?

Calling all moms, aunties and grandmothers! Today’s post is actually why I started WomenOnTheFence.com in the first place — to provide a safe and inclusive community to share and learn from like-minded women all working toward the same goal — to be the best and happiest woman that they can be.

The idea behind today’s blog post stems from a conversation that took place a few weeks back. Girls night, actually! I think most of my readers know I need my girls like I need oxygen. While my husband provides a lot of stimulation (get your mind out of the gutter), it’s not the same kind of stimulation that my girls provide. And when this particular group of girls get together, we’re usually stared at for being LOUD. We just can’t help ourselves — it’s two hours of pure LOUD laughter and LOUD talking! And we love every minute of it.

Now stay with me here — all of our eldest children are ages 10 or 11. And I don’t remember who started the conversation, but it went something to the tune of — at what age do you start to leave the kids alone in the house? Or at what age do you let your kids walk or bike to the park alone or with a friend? What is the age of aloneness — when do you leave them alone, unsupervised, either at home, or out in the real world?

I was SHOCKED to learn that most of the kids my son’s age are starting to stay alone for bits at a time. They are also biking with friends and walking to the park with friends. Some of them even going alone. Maybe it’s my Jewish Mother neuroses — but I hardly even leave my kids alone in the driveway. And it’s not because I don’t trust them — it’s the crazies out there I don’t trust.

I then brought this discussion to another group of friends because I needed another sounding board and their response was, “When I was 9 or 10, I was taking the bus home alone and letting myself in the house after school!” They then continued, “It’s a different time today. I wouldn’t let them take the bus home alone yet, but I’m trying to give them more independence and that means leaving them home alone if I have to run out to the pharmacy for 30 minutes, or allowing them walk to the park without me.”

Today parents, I don’t have the answers, and this is a very subjective topic after all. I just know that I am not at all comfortable yet with any of the above. And I’m on the fence — am I neurotic and unreasonable, or is it justifiable to err on the side of caution?

I truly would love to know: At what point do YOU let your kids stay home alone, and for how long? And at what age do YOU let your kids walk or bike to the park either alone or with their friends? I want my children to grow up to be independent thinkers and I do want to loosen the reins a little, but I don’t want to jeopardize their safety.

I’d LOVE you to weight in below, because even life coaches and experts don’t have all the answers. I know that if I’m unsure, someone else is too.

Have a beautiful weekend. It’s JUNE for crying out loud. When did THAT happen?!


About Erica Diamond