No. of Recommendations: 1
12 or 13!!!!!

I have not thought that far ahead at all, but sheesh, that seems old. I remember coming home by myself when I was 11 and with my two years older sister as young as 8. Is that not allowed any more? I guess I never thought about it before (I'd be happy if we could just get potty trained) but it is scary to think about leaving them by themselves...

It depends on the kids. Around here, the kids age out of after-school care at 6th grade, which is 12 years old. By that time, my kids were antsy to be on their own, and so when they were about 10 or 11, we started letting them come home on the bus 2 days a week, and going to after-school care the other 3 days. But by then we were also living in a neighborhood with lots of people home during the day, so there was a support system if something went wrong.

And from a kid's perspective, all kinds of things can go wrong. We had the power go out before the kids got home from school, so the garage door opener didn't work and they couldn't get in the house. They just went to a neighbor's house, and we put house keys on very long tethers in their backpacks so that the key stayed connected to the backpack while they used it. They need to know what to do if they break a glass, for instance. What happens if the toilet backs up? There are all sorts of normal, daily occurrences which are not typical for kids, and they need a back-up plan.

For the record, though, we were leaving the kids home alone by the time they were 8, but there were 2 of them, and DD was pretty mature, so it was doable.
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