Summer will be here before you know it and parents across the Dallas - Ft. Worth, Texas area will be grappling with what is the appropriate and legal age when they can leave their children home alone.

As our kids age, they gain more knowledge and a sense of independence, and we begin placing more trust in them and their decisions. There will be a point when you'll want to leave them home alone by themselves.

Plus, with the skyrocketing cost of daycare in Tyler and Longview, many parents will be looking to cut the cost of daycare as soon as they can, but at what age is it that your child can be left home alone unattended?

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

Whether you need to make a quick trip to the grocery store to pick something up go back to the office to finish up a project or leave them alone while school is out for a day or the summer, parents wrangle with when is it appropriate to leave their child alone and not be breaking the law.  In Texas, there is no specific law stating how old a child must be before they can be left home alone.

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Texas and 33 other states have no statute stating an age, 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

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, the time will come when you start thinking about leaving your children at home alone and you will know if they are ready for the big responsibility. My wife and I wrangled with this same topic with our daughter. You know your kids and 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 for the summer.

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