Monday, July 11, 2011

Home Alone

Timmy and I were discussing at what age is it appropriate to leave the boys home alone. I looked up Florida law, and as it turns out, there is no minimum age set for our state. If the child is mature enough, and understands the rules and what to do in an emergency, it's ok to leave them alone. That's not to say that you can't still be charged with neglect, for leaving an obviously too young child unsupervised, but it's at the parent's discretion.

So knowing that, how can I tell if my children are mature enough to handle being unsupervised? It's a tough question to answer.

I would say that right now Nico, at seven, would do just fine being left alone for short amounts of time (an hour or less). But not if Lucas were also home. They have this way of antagonizing each other, that I'm sure all siblings share. Nico and I have had many talks about what to do in an emergency situation. When to call 911, how to get a hold of me and his daddy, and when to go to a neighbor for help. Lucas is always present for these conversations, but I'm not sure how much actually sinks in. I think he would be more likely to panic in an unexpected situation, and thus it's going to be some time before he is left on his own.

Nico has been asking for this little bit of freedom and independence since he was five. I have yet to let him try it, but that day is approaching. Perhaps within the next year? We may start off with a half hour trip to the grocery store, and see how he handles himself. It's going to be a good two to three years before I would consider leaving the two of them alone together, though.

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