Is it legal for a seven-year-old child to stay at home by themselves? According to the laws of New York, it is.
While many parents may think seven is far too young to leave their child at home alone, Lizzie Heiselt, a mother of three young children does just that — but not after doing some considerable research herself!
At first, the mommy blogger had some hesitations when her eldest child asked to stay home and not have to go out and run errands with his mom and two younger siblings.
Naturally, Lizzie started to worry about what her neighbor would think, a possible run-in with CPS, things that could go wrong without an adult in the house, etc.
Once she got past all of those worrying thoughts, Lizzie decided to give it a trial run. After all, she says she can relate to her son because she was a homebody when she was younger!
Lizzie explained on Babble.com:
The goal was for him (and me) to be comfortable by himself in and around our apartment. We needed to cover things like knowing the rules for being home alone (no answering the door, no TV or video games), knowing who and how to call if necessary since we don’t have a house phone (a quick FaceTime lesson on our iPad took care of that), and being able to handle the responsibility of going to get the mail by himself.
…Even though my son is only 7, I have seen his frustration and disappointment at not being trusted to do things that he thinks he is capable of. When he was nearly 5 and I was teaching him to ride a bike, he called me out a couple of times for not giving him the chance to do it on his own. So even though it made me nervous, one afternoon last week I gave him the key to our mailbox and told him to go down to the mailroom six floors below to get our mail.
I talked with him about what to expect, how he should handle people’s questions if he ran into anyone, and that I would come find him if he wasn’t back in a couple of minutes. The task itself is one he’d done with me many times, so I wasn’t worried that he couldn’t handle it.
The result: he handled it beautifully. In fact, he made friends with another family in the elevator and was responsible enough to come back and tell me about it before asking to go out and play on the front steps with them — which we did.
…Yes, he can handle himself at home alone for short periods of time. Yes, he can be trusted to run errands inside our building. But for now, that’s it.
He’s a homebody. He’s bookish. He’s responsible – but, for now, only for himself.
It's great that Lizzie received a positive outcome from that experience, however we should stress that the results aren't always the same for everyone!
What do YOU think, Perezcious readers? Would you leave your child at home by themselves at such a young age??
CLICK HERE to read her whole experience!
[Image via Lizzie Heiselt.]
Tags: apartment, cute kidz, family, home alone, new york, perezcious parenting, scary, seven years old