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This Seven-Year-Old Boy Got To Stay At Home All Alone — With His Mom's Permission! Would YOU Let A Child That Age Do That?

| Filed under: New YorkFamilyCute KidzPerezcious Parenting

seven year old stays at home by himself

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.]

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15 comments to “This Seven-Year-Old Boy Got To Stay At Home All Alone — With His Mom's Permission! Would YOU Let A Child That Age Do That?”

  1. 1

    Well - I was under 5 when my parents went out at nights and left me on my own… It was common to do so in the 70s. I would never do this but to leave a child some time at home through daytime is ok for me.

  2. 2

    Yes things have changed. I remember going out in the 70's all day long and not returning home until late at night. My parents had no idea where I was but I was just hanging around town and the park and with my friends. I would NEVER allow my kids to do that these days.

  3. bnietzsche says – reply to this


    There wasn't email or texting or face booking in the 70s. Times have changed. It also depends if the apartment was inaccessible from the balcony, assuming there was one. I think there's a lot of different factors that come into play. I.e neighbours, etc..

  4. deftie says – reply to this


    I don't know. In my country it is actually outlawed to let a child under 10 to be home alone. I think it is kind of strict but still I wouldn't let a child home alone purposely.

  5. Marie says – reply to this


    that is standard in scandinavia.

  6. Teresa says – reply to this


    Why the hell is he getting the mail? What is that really going to do for him? This is such a weird story. He shouldn't be alone at that age period and bringing up his bike riding experiences in comparison? Please that's totally different.

  7. Ben says – reply to this


    I would be worried but I also think some children at that age are responsible enough to stay by themselves. I would feel more comfortable with this story if the mother installed a camera that she could see what was going on there from her phone. Saying that, I was allowed to stay at home by myself around done age of 9 when I was home sick from school and my dad needed to go to work for a couple hours. I also lived in a small town Ina safe neighbourhood where my neighbours were
    Ike a 3rd set of grandparents to me.

  8. @v@ says – reply to this


    I think it depends on the area laws, the child's level of maturity and independence, the home setup and the mom's comfort zone. I actually started babysitting other family's young kids down the block evenings when I turned age nine while they bowled from 7 - 9 p.m. in a league. So did my sister.

  9. 9

    At 7 I'd walk to school by myself and have my apartment key hanging on my neck so I could come back home 2 hours before my mom.

  10. 10

    No way my parents allowed us to stay home by ourselves, when they went out we had a sitter up until I was age 11, then after that my Aunt would pop in from time to time to check on us.

  11. jnij says – reply to this


    If you stop reading this you will die. My name is Teresa Fidaglo, if you don’t post this on 20 photos I will sleep with you forever. A girl skipped this and 29 hours later her mom died. I am real you can google me.“

  12. 12

    Re: Anuschka – I was also a parent in the 70's and I don't know where you are from but where I am it was NOT common to leave young children alone. If your parents did that to you they were probably alone in their thoughts and actions of leaving young kids alone. It was not legal to do so.

  13. Kells says – reply to this


    I think what bothers me the most is that there is an article about it with pictures of the mother and child.

  14. 14

    I think I was allowed to be home alone for a few hours at that age, even if my younger brother was there as well. Often my grandparents or a babysitter would come over, but I guess I was a pretty responsible kid. My parents would always leave telephone numbers for us to call, or a baby monitor if they were nearby. I guess these things really depend on the situation.

  15. bucky says – reply to this


    Of course, she goes on to say that she decided to leave her not quite 2 year old daughter home alone with her 7 year old to see how he would do watching her. She came back after 5 minutes and the toddler was out of the apartment and standing by the elevator. The 7 year old had no idea that his sister had left the apartment. I can see leaving a 7 year old alone for a few minutes, but she really has a screw loose if she thinks that a 7 year old can take care of a toddler while she goes out.