National Consumer News

When can you leave kids home alone? Pinterest age guidelines stir controversy


By Theo Thimou,

A mom blogger tried to be helpful by posting a chart outlining recommended ages when it’s okay to leave kids home alone, plus for how long you can be out of the house. But as with most things on the Internet, this chart is not without controversy!


At what age would you leave your kids home alone?

Pinterest guidelines for when you can leave kids home alone

  • Is there a law in your state?
  • Does your child obey rules and make good decisions, even in emergencies? Does the child know when to call 911?
  • Is the child physically and mentally ready?
  • How long with the child be alone? If it’s during a mealtime, can the child fix a meal?
  • How often with the child be left alone?

Parental reaction is mixed

Meanwhile, reaction to the Pinterest chart has been mixed in the comments left on Thirty Handmade Days where the chart originated.

While some parents said the chart reinforced their own rules, other parents were shocked at the implied levels of “helicopter parenting.”

“Helicopter Moms = insecure kids who can’t do a thing for themselves and lack confidence to handle real life. End of Story. Honestly, coddling your children and treating them like they can’t be trusted to be home alone for 2 seconds won’t help them function in society.” – Joni

“Let something happen to one of your kids when you are not there, and Child Protective Services will be taking them into protective custody. And anyone who thinks that you can leave a 13-15 year old unsupervised in today’s world is really asking for serious, life-altering trouble for that child. We do not live in the same world we did 10 years ago.” – Dodie

“If you think that your kid can handle an emergency, you’re wrong. Most adults can barely function during an emergency. As a 911 operator in Los Angeles, I hear the worst of the worst and believe me — you will never forgive yourself IF something happens. Most emergencies happen when adults are present. None of us are exempt from the difficulties of life, but better to be there for your kids than take the chance and be wrong.” – Veronica

“You have to teach your kids what to do and trust that they can do it without you or we end up with ‘children’ in their 30s who can’t do anything for themselves.” – Sarah D.

“Letting your child learn & grow without coddling their every move is a great way to teach independence and responsibility. I can’t imagine the day some of these over-protected kids are sent off to college lol, they’ll be crawling back home in weeks! Let your child learn who they are, and what it means to be responsible… drop the helicopter.” – Blinkly

“What has this country come to. 14 in Illinois??? That is totally overkill. The NYC Department of Education allows kids as young as 10 to go out to lunch during a school day, and expects that 5th graders can get home by themselves… I’m as liberal as they come, but I think in this case, parents know best and we have to stop arresting parents for letting their kids play alone outside.” – Dee Dee.

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