Legal Age in California to Stay Home Alone

Legal Age in California to Stay Home Alone

Called “turnkey children” because of the telltale key hanging around their necks, these children go home to an empty house after school or stay home alone in the summer. Some states, like California, offer little advice because there is no minimum age for children to be left home alone. The majority of states with laws cite 12 years as the limit, while some states are younger, including Maryland and Georgia at 8 and Kansas at six. Similarly, California has no minimum age for childcare, and there is no law governing the number of siblings or other family members a child can keep. Use discretion when determining whether or not an older child is mature enough to care for younger siblings. While a 12- or 13-year-old may be responsible enough to take care of themselves at home, they may lack the maturity to care for their younger siblings. The American Academy of Pediatrics lists 11 or 12 as the appropriate age to leave children at home, but only during the day and no more than about three hours. The national KIDS Safety campaign recommends leaving no child under the age of 12 alone at home. California is one of many states that do not have a law that determines the age at which a child can be left alone. But that doesn`t mean it couldn`t be a crime if you do it when he`s too young. The court will decide on a case-by-case basis, and your child`s maturity level is usually the deciding factor. A 10-year-old might be able to fend for himself, while a rebellious 12-year-old might not. Children mature at different speeds and ages.

Somewhere at the end of elementary school, it`s likely that your child will ask you if they can stay home alone because one or more of their friends no longer go to daycare or use babysitters. Or maybe you need to run to a doctor`s appointment and wonder if it`s okay to leave your child home alone. Learn the guidelines and recommendations so you can make an informed and safe choice for you and your child. Tamsin Ing, who has two children, Ollie, 6, and Charlotte, 10, knows all too well the challenges of being left home alone. Since she spent her childhood as a turnkey child of a single mother, she decided that her children wouldn`t pass that too. She jokes that 34 could be a good minimum age. But she certainly intends to wait until he`s at least in high school. Younger, she says, and she would worry that a stranger would realize he was home alone and enjoy it.

Of course, she also points out that leaving teenagers to fend for themselves can also be a recipe for disaster. Does anyone remember “Risky Business”? Schuck noted that there are unique challenges when teens are left home alone: “Poor health choices in choosing what to eat, who to let in when they`re alone, access to tobacco and alcohol.” If you`re able to work or make another commitment where you can`t be with your child regularly when they get home from school, most child care experts suggest looking for an extracurricular activity they can participate in rather than leaving them to fend for themselves. A good choice are art classes, school sports and organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club. Another option is to make an agreement with the parents of a friend of your child, where they monitor your child for a few hours each week in exchange for your other tasks. Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels, including the bestsellers “Comes the Rain” and “With Every Breath”. Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, particularly in the areas of divorce and family law, insolvency and inheritance law. She addresses many legal topics in her articles. The crucial point is that every child is different and everyone reaches the independence phase at different ages. This is one of the reasons why child psychologist Lisa Whitfield recommends promoting independence in children. This could include leaving her alone for short periods of time, starting at age 6 and gradually increasing the duration as she ages, but she cautions against expecting routine self-care.

“Being able to stay home alone and take care of yourself is a healthy part of a child`s development and builds confidence in children,” she said. All the parents were already there. You have to run fast around town to pick up something like a gallon of milk, a dentist appointment, or something at work. You don`t want to bring your child, but you`re not sure you can legally leave them at home. Deborah Lohse was left home alone with her two brothers after school, starting in fourth grade. She remembers a lot of bickering and a “boat full of Brady Bunch.” She and her brothers were also tasked with preparing dinner before their people came home. But she doesn`t feel comfortable letting her 10-year-old daughter do the same. Another East Bay mother, Liz Shipsides, once briefly left her 9-year-old son home alone while dropping off his siblings at school. She came home and found that he had barricaded himself in her room out of sheer terror.

Of course, the idea of leaving a first-grader home alone seems crazy to some parents. Unless you want to go home to find the cat with high heels and a hat. On the other side of the coin, 28-year-old Cody Cook stayed home alone after school at age six because his grandparents, who raised him, both worked.

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