How old is old enough?

At what age were you left alone by your parents to walk to school by yourself? to go biking in the streets? or to stay home by yourself?

I remember I was already in High School when I have the freedom to walk home from school by myself, go to Divisoria to buy those cute Sanrio stationaries with friends and rode the jeepney by myself.

Hubby on the other hand started very early. He would ride the bike by himself when he was about my son's age. But this was in a subdivision, where most people knows everybody in the neighborhood and back then it was pretty safe.

My hubby has been wanting to leave my son alone at home. I feel that he is not old enough to be left with such a responsibility. Accidents can happen in seconds and it could be dangerous, don't you think? Or am I just too over protective of my kids?

I know he can take care of himself, he can even make himself sandwiches/toast/popcorn when he's hungry. He knows how to use the microwave. And he can even make mash potatoes.

He and his sister has been walking home from the school bus stop which was just outside our building in Mississauga, and just a few meters away from our present home [no crossing of streets involved though]. Other than that, I'm not sure if he can take care of his little sister. I guess I am more afraid if they fight, because they tend to become physical.

Last week, in the news, I was surprised to learn that a lot of kids ages 8 and up are left alone at home for a maximum of 2 hours everyday. And that there's no specific law in Canada about the age of when you can leave the kids alone at home.

This coming Saturday, my son will be attending a "Home Alone Safety Plus First-aid" program in the community center. Hopefully this program will make him comfortable staying home by himself.

Home Alone Safety Plus First-aid
An interactive safety training program for youths ages 10+. (Younger siblings 7+ may attend and register also). This program prepares our youth for the all important step of Home Alone Safety. Being home alone can be an uncomfortable and unsafe situation with out some basic skills. Those safety, first aid, and comfort skills are covered in this course through interactive games and role playing. Let's work to keep our children safe and confident.


Linnor said...

I understand how you feel Jo. Even at 13, my son has ridden the cab (by himself) only once. And that was just last Saturday.

I kept looking over my shoulder to see if he has arrived.

Maybe I'm just over-protective too. I don't want to regret anything later on.h

Bugsy said...

Jo, you're lucky to have that kind of program there. As you perhaps suspect, there is no such thing here at home. Just the other week, the TV news showed 5 children burned to death when their parents had to go to Divisoria very early in the morning because that's where they make a living.

Maybe some NGOs can take the cue from this website and hold a similar program for our kids here. That would be a good activity for the oncoming summer vacation.

evi said...

from what i know, kids in Canada are allowed to stay home alone from age 13. and to be able to care for a younger sibling, they are required to take a babysitting course if under age 16.

fennymun said...

Hi Jo, just wish we could have that kind of programme here. Anyway, I think the complexity of nowadays' society (human nature, traffic, etc) somehow has urged us to be more protective to our kids than our parents' time in terms of leaving them at home or going out alone. I certainly understand how you feel...

Junnie said...

i was left alone for 2-3 hrs when i was 4 :) that's why im ok staying at home working alone these days - sanay na.

I dont see any problem with Pat and Patricia. They are very responsible as long as they know what is and what is not to be done. Plus the house is fairly secure with all the locks and alarms around right? Try it for a weekend, kunwari wala kayo but actually are in a corner. Tignan for 2 hrs if nothing happens and let each one report what they accomplished in those 2 hrs.

JO said...

Hi Linnor,
Yes, me too. I don't want to regret anything.

Hi Bugsy,
In Ontario, this program is for 2 saturdays, about 8 hours in total. Here, it is just for 2 hours.

Hi Evi,
Some say you can leave them at 10, as long as they are responsible enough to answer the police questions if anything happens... but I do know of some families who leave their kids at home at age 8.

Hi Fenny,
It is really hard to decide when to leave them alone.

Hi Junnie,
At 4??? I may be able to leave Pat behind, but not Trish. I've been wanting to try it out, leave Pat at home alone while I pick up hubby for about 30 minutes, but I just feel guilty doing it I end up bringing him with me.

Love said...


Usually there's a seminar given in school called Home Alone for both the parents and child (age 10+).

You might want to enrol him in a Red Cross babysitting course too.

My kids (10, 8, 6) ride their bikes or scooters to school. Just make sure they know the safety rules.

tani said...

well it's different here in the philippines. and of course, you have to consider the times... it was different during you and your hubby's childhood years... you just can't leave kids ages 10 below alone at home these days... there are break-ins even here and those burglars and weirdos are getting smarter and more confident especially if they know only kids are in the house alone. it's a good thing you have that program at your community center. you should empower your son. :)

JO said...

Hi Love,
You must have trained your kids at a young age. I feel that I can leave my son alone for a short while, but not my 6 year old daughter. Thanks, will look into the babysitting course too.

Hi Tani,
Yes, time sure changes a lot... I'm just starting to train and prepare him to be home alone, as to when I will leave him home alone, that I don't know... maybe in a couple of days or months or years to come... hehehe

MrsPartyGirl said...

maybe this article will help. i'm sure you're nothing like this couple i read about who left their two kids (5 & 9) for the weekend while they went off to celebrate new year's in las vegas. kawawang kids they were living on cereal and frozen food :( ang only bantay nila ay si bantay, their dog. weirdo yun, grabe!

i think you have to ease this on gently with your kids, na tipong the first time you leave Pat alone, 10 minutes lang, then 20 then 30, until he builds confidence that he can be left alone. tapos you have to have rules talaga like don't let anybody in, or tell anyone on the phone na you're just in the bathroom, or don't cook anything, etc.

as for biking or walking, it would be better if you could find a group of kids your children can walk or bike with, para they can travel as a group and you won't have to worry that they'll be alone.

vernaloo said...

Hi Jo

I can't remember exactly. Everytime I wake up when I was still in elementary, my parents are always present. Even during weekends...they're always home. The school is just a walking distance from our house but I believe I learned to go to school alone when I was in grade one...7 years old. But then again it was safer during those times and walang cars..pedicabs lang.

I think it's okay to be a bit protective kasi iba na ang panahon ngayon.

Heart of Rachel said...

That's a great program Jo. I wished that kind of program can be widely incorporated in Philippine schools. It's a good way to teach our children the importance of responsibility and safety and it will also be a good way to introduce some sort of independence.

I remember that until high school, my yaya would bring me to school (it was just walking distance from our house so I didn't require to take the service). It was in college that I learned to be more independent but there were still times when she took me to school when I didn't have carpool. :) My yaya since I was a baby, is still with me. I guess she spoiled me a little.

It was different with my younger brother. He took the service until he was in grade 6. When he reached high school, he requested my parents if he could go to school on his own by commuting and my parents allowed him. My younger brother is more independent compared to me. He's 3 years younger than I am but he is more like a kuya because he seems more responsible than I am.

My husband, on the other hand, had been independent since grade school.

I admit that I seem a little overprotective over my 3 yr-old son. I don't let him go out on his own even though I see other kids his age playing in the village by themselves.

fayenget said...

just like you I was in high school when I experience riding a jeep alone. nowadays, esp here in the phils. it's not safe.

JO said...

Hi Meeya,
Thanks for the link and your suggestion. And no, I will never leave my kids just so that I can have some fun.

Hi Verns,
Pampered din ako, kasi I have 3 older brothers and sister who walks with me to and from the school... naging independent na lang talaga ako when I was in high school. But still I don't commute much, I'd prefer to walk than ride the jeepney.

JO said...

Hi Rach,
I hope Patrick will be more mature and responsible after taking this program. Have to wait and see. Hirap talaga maging mommy no?

Hi Faye,
Iba na talaga ang panahon ngayon... hirap lang mag regret later on...

Analyse said...

frenchguy's niece and nephew, ages 12 and 10 are being left alone no problem.. pero sa umaga lang as they dont know how to prepare lunch yet.. there's no school on wednesdays here so they're obliged to stay alone while parents are working... in fact, they have the choice to stay with the nanny but they preferred to stay at home.. so yun.

Francesca said...

my kids were alone at ten years old even in the evening while thier father is with mistress.
It breaks my heart and I thank God, He looked after them.

I think, time and occurence that we cannot avoid happens.

But assure our kids, that we do the best we can as parents to secure them and make them confident.

ann said...

We don't leave our kids at home alone and regret if something happens. Besides, being a stay home mom I'm with them all the time.

JO said...

Hi Analyse,
I wish I could do that too... leave my kids at home without the feeling of guilt and/or endangering their life.

Hi Francesca,
I guess I just have to find a job that will suit the sched of my kids.

Hi Ann,
I just wanted to start working full time so that we can afford to buy a house. Hirap din naman mag hanap ng full time job if I have time restriction di ba? haaaayyyy... we'll see how it goes.

ghee said...

my mom and my siblings allowed me to play outside freely,but there was an edge.late na rin ako nakapag commute mag isa,siguro when i was 15 or 16 na :)

JO said...

Hi Ghee,
Time change... back then, it is safe for us to play outdoor.