Now that summer is here, some parents across East Texas are grappling with the question of when it's appropriate along with the legal age that they can leave their children home alone unsupervised.

Parents are contemplating this because of the skyrocketing cost of daycare around Tyler and Longview. When you're on a budget, daycare can be expensive and it will eat away at that budget rather quickly. If parents can cut out daycare and leave their kids home alone legally, that will save the family a lot of money each month.

As our kids age, their sense of independence grows along with their responsibilities and we begin to place more trust in them and their decision making. When we feel like they've matured enough then we begin to contemplate that question of leaving them alone at home.

In Texas how old does your child have to be before you can leave them alone?

Parents often test the waters and leave their kids home when they need to make a quick trip to the grocery store to pick something up or go back to the office to finish up a project. Parents wrangle with when is it appropriate to leave their child alone and not be breaking the law. Well, in Texas, there is no specific law stating how old a child must be before they can be left home alone.

Texas along with 33 other states has no statute stating an age that a child can be left alone without adult supervision. However, that's not the case in other states. In Illinois, a child has to be 14 before they can be left alone and children as young as 7 can be left alone in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and 6-years-old in Kansas according to imom.com.

Things you should consider when it comes to leaving your child alone:

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services says you should ask yourself the following questions and make a sound judgment.

  • How old, emotionally mature, and capable is your child?
  • What is the layout and safety of the home, play area, or other setting?
  • What are the hazards and risks in the neighborhood?
  • What is your child's ability to respond to illness, fire, weather, or other types of emergencies?
  • Does your child have a mental, physical, or medical disability?
  • How many children are being left unsupervised?
  • Do they know where you are?
  • Can they contact you or other responsible adults?
  • How long and how often is the child (or children) left alone?

I was 11 when I was left at home alone.

Thinking back to when I was a child, my mom began leaving my brother and I home alone when I was about 11. She had a job that required her to work evenings, but if anything were to happen we had some trusty neighbors that we could call upon if we were ever in a situation where we needed assistance with anything. Thankfully we didn't need them though.

Responsibility and common sense are key.

As a parent, you will know when your children are ready for the big responsibility. My wife and I wrangled with this same topic with our daughter. You know your kids, their maturity, their responsibility level, and whether or not they can handle being home alone.

Although there is no specific age stated by the state, as a parent, you are still responsible for them and you too will need to use your common sense and know when it's safe to let your kids stay home alone while you run errands or leave them home this summer.

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