Do you remember the first time your parents let you stay home alone? Such liberating times!

I didn't realize each state has laws that establish the minimum age a child can legally be left home alone.

As a kid growing up in Massachusetts, I was never left home alone too often. Part of this was because my brother is five years older than me, so it was like having a built-in babysitter.

Whether or not he actually looked after me is still up for debate (lol).

Here's us before we were old enough to stay home alone (despite our age difference, I'm pretty sure we weighed exactly the same).

Kira Lew
Kira Lew

I'll never forget the first time I was truly left alone. My brother must have been at rehearsal for a show, so it was my time to shine as a solo artist. My mom was just running to CVS down the street and would be back in 15 minutes.

She made sure I was feeling cool and chill about it by asking me 30 times if I was okay before she left.

I vividly remember lounging out on the couch in the living room thinking "I can watch whatever I want! I'm a grown-ass woman!" Big Kevin McCallister energy!

I went back and forth from feeling VERY independent to scurrying to the window to see if my mom had pulled back in the driveway yet. I experienced many different emotions at once.

This may come as a surprise to you, but according to the Washington Post, there is no specific age requirement where a child is allowed to legally be left home alone in New Hampshire. In fact none of the New England states have one!

According to, experts suggest that the age of 11 or 12 is the youngest appropriate age to leave your children home alone but the "right time" will not always be the same for every family/child.

If you are considering leaving your child alone for the first time, it is important to go over the following:

  • Make sure your child is aware of what to do in an emergency and who to call.
  • Review basic first aid and make sure they know where to find the first aid kit should they need it.
  • Set ground rules and establish what is allowed while you are not there, use of appliances, whether friends are allowed to visit, etc.

I also think it varies on how mature your kid is. Some children are self-sufficient and could be comfortable being left home alone at nine or 10, but others really aren't ready until they are 12 or 13 or even older.

Like so many other things, it is a case-by-case basis and depends on the child.

How old were you when you first stayed home alone? Do you feel comfortable leaving your kids alone at the same age you were left alone?

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said that experts suggested age 10 is the youngest age to leave your children home alone. NH DHHS does not list this suggestion on its site.

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