The Legal Age You Can Leave Your Children Home Alone in NH Might Surprise You
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
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 5 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.
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).
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 was going to 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 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, and then again maybe it doesn't because "Live Free or Die", 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 the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human services, experts suggest that the age of 10 is the youngest appropriate age to leave your children home alone. 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.
In my "not a parent yet and don't really know what I am talking about" opinion, I think it also varies on how mature your kid is. Some children are self sufficient and could be comfortable being left home alone at 9 or 10, but others really aren't ready until they are 12 or 13. Like so many other things, it is a case by case basis and is dependent 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?