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When is it OK to leave my child home alone?

All parents eventually face the decision to leave their child home alone for the first time. Before you do, consider your child’s physical, mental, developmental, and emotional well-being as well as their willingness to stay home alone.

Developmentally, children are generally ready to be home alone around the age of 12 or 13. However, children develop at different rates, so use your own discretion, within the boundaries of the law, to determine your child’s maturity level and capabilities.

For example, if you have an impulsive 13-year-old who is a big risk taker, you might be hesitant to leave him or her alone. On the other hand, a thoughtful 11-year-old who has a good track record of following household rules might be ready.

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