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Kidsit Babysitter with baby

What Age Do You Stop Needing A Babysitter?

(Age & Maturity Guide)

As a parent, I know it can be hard to decide when your little baby is finally ready to stay home without a sitter. What happens if something goes wrong? And how do you know that it's not too early?

What age do children stop needing a babysitter? Some kids are ready to stay home alone without a babysitter as early as 11. Other kids might need to wait until they're teenagers. There are signs of maturity that you can look for to suggest that your child might be ready to go it alone.

Learn what age kids stop needing a babysitter, how you know they're ready to be left alone, information and tools to leave them with, and more.

What Age Do Kids Stop Needing Their Babysitter?

As a nervous first-time parent, your answer to this question might be when they're 18 and move off to university! But both you and your child know that isn't really realistic.

Unfortunately, there's no magic age where all children instantly become responsible and mature.

Some kids are willing and able to be left alone at age 10 or 11. Others might be teenagers before either they or you feel comfortable leaving them unsupervised for long periods of time.

What Does The Law Say?

The laws regarding leaving your child alone can vary a lot depending on where you live. Some places only give suggested ages, while some have firm limits in place. There are also differences in how long you can leave your child alone during the day or night.

Rather than list the specifics for each country and state here, I'd recommend doing a quick Google search yourself to confirm by searching something like "leave child alone age legal (your country or state/province)"

What Do Experts Say?

Most child experts think it's okay to start leaving your kid alone for short periods of time around 10 or 11, starting with less than an hour at a time and only during the day.

12 or 13 might be okay ages to start leaving your child alone at night if they've had previous experience being home alone during the daytime. You shouldn't leave them alone overnight at that age, but they should be fine if you need to go to a movie for a few hours.

Of course, there's the caveat that you should think they're mature enough to handle it and won't be scared.

Signs of Maturity That Show Your Child Is Ready To Stay Home Alone

Before you consider leaving your child home unattended, you should make sure they:

Things Your Kids Need To Know

In addition to your child being mentally ready to be left home alone, there's some critical knowledge that you'll need to share with them.

They should know emergency numbers. Your child should know 911, 999, 000, or whatever your country's emergency number is to contact fire, ambulance, and police (See emergency numbers for your country). They also need to know when it's appropriate to call and when it isn't, and what information like your home address they'll need to share with the dispatcher if they ever call.

They should know how to get help if they need it. They should have a way to reach your family, friends, or a neighbor they can trust if they run into any problems they're unable to solve themselves, like if your basement starts flooding.

They can prepare food for themselves if they get hungry. Whether that's just getting simple snacks or preparing basic meals like sandwiches or reheating leftovers in the microwave. (They also need to be responsible enough to not eat an entire block of cheese, or container of whipped cream while you're out!)

They need to know how to clean up a mess. Accidents happen, but it's important that your child can deal with it on their own. As opposed to just letting orange soda soak into your carpet for three hours until you get home.

They need to know how to follow the rules. They need to follow the same rules that would be expected of them when a parent is around. For example, no friends over without permission, no wrestling, limits on TV or video games, etc.

They need emergency plans. For example, what will they do in case of a power outage, fire, or severe weather? Be sure to have flashlights and fire extinguishers around your house in easy-to-find places. As well as a first aid kit stocked with bandaids, disinfectant, and other medical supplies.

Information To Leave For Your Child When They're Home Alone

You should have a basic list with all of your emergency numbers in one place that's easy for your kid to find and access, for example, stuck on the refrigerator.

Include emergency phone numbers like: