debbie greenhouse

Deborah Greenhouse, M.D.

When is my child old enough to stay home alone? This is a challenging question and decision for all parents. While the age for leaving a child at home varies greatly from child to child because of a number of factors, including the child’s maturity and ability to handle responsibility, Deborah Greenhouse, MD, offered tips to help parents decide when a child is ready.

According to Dr. Greenhouse, a child younger than nine years old should not be left home alone, even for a short period of time. At approximately 10 years old, a child who is responsible may be left for 30 minutes, but no longer than one hour. During this time, the child should be able to keep in contact with a parent.

“The decision to leave your child at home alone, even for a brief period, should be based on common sense. You need to establish a very well-defined set of ground rules.” Dr. Greenhouse suggests that parents do some role-playing activities with their child and ask them questions to find out how they would handle situations that might arise.

Read the full story from Prisma Health, where she details those guidelines and rules that can help a parent make the right decision.