Every parent dreams of the day when they can leave the house to run errands and not have to drag the kids along with them. But deciding when they're ready to be left alone can be difficult. While every child is different in terms of when that level of trust can be established, every state has some type of information in place that, at the very least, provides guidance to parents looking for assistance on the subject. Some of those same states go as far to have laws on the books listing a specific age you can legally leave your child home alone without having the cops called.

When my kids were 12 and 10, and my wife and I only started feeling comfortable enough to leave them at home by themselves while we run to grocery store or wherever. Of the two of us, I'm a little more leery of leaving them alone for an extended amount of time only because I often think in "worst case scenarios" and I'm waiting for the day when I come home to a house engulfed in flames because one of them put a fork in the microwave just to see what happens. Thankfully that hasn't happened yet, and as time has gone on, I've become more comfortable leaving them for a couple of hours.

The website, iMom, lists of all the states in the U.S., they're laws regarding leaving kids at home by themselves, and in the case of 15 states, the ages lawmakers in those states have decided it's okay for them to be by themselves for a bit. For example, if my lived in Illinois, we'd be in trouble for leaving a 12 and 10 year old home alone as their law sets the minimum age at 14, the oldest of any state with a minimum age restriction.

But we don't live in the Land of Lincoln. No, we reside here in the great state of Indiana where there is no restriction. Now, that doesn't mean you can leave a 3-year-old at home while you go watch a movie and grab dinner, but what it does mean is that the state is leaving it up to you to decide when your child is ready.

If you need some help deciding when the time is right (whether that's now or later), the state does offer some tips in the form of questions to ask yourself and your child, as well as things you can do around the house to safeguard it and your child from any potential issues.

[Source: iMom via Channel 95.7]

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