At What Age Can You Leave Kids Home Alone Over the School Holiday Break in Texas?
The holidays can create quite a conundrum for parents. Schools shut down for a long winter's nap, leaving parents to find ways to keep their kids busy and out of trouble for at least 2 weeks - sometimes without parental supervision.
At what age is it okay to leave a child at home alone? Is 10 too young? What about leaving a 14 year-old in charge of an 8 or 9 year-old?
Whether you need to leave the kids at home all day over winter break because you can't take the day off from work or find/afford a sitter, or choose to leave them behind for a few hours so you can go Christmas shopping and run related errands it's a question many parents grapple with over the holidays.
What Age Can I Legally Leave My Kids Home Alone In Texas?
Most experts agree your child's maturity, and your state's laws are the best ways to determine when it's OK to leave kids home alone.
In the Lone Star State, that means it's basically a parental decision. Per the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website:
Texas law doesn't say what age is old enough for a child to stay at home alone."
In other words, in Texas there is no minimum age requirement. However, leaving a child or children alone with the TV on and a few Hot Pockets in the 'fridge could result in an investigation or charges if it's determined the kid is not being adequately supervised.
The DFPS considers your child not being adequately supervised as “neglectful supervision," which it defines as "placing a child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child's level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or substantial risk of immediate harm to the child."
Things to Consider Before Deciding to Leave Your Kids Home Alone
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services recommends taking several factors into consideration before making your decision, including the age, emotional maturity and capability of the child; whether he or she has any mental, physical or medical disabilities; how long and how often the child will be left alone; and the child’s ability to respond to an emergency.
Have Questions or Suspicions?
If you need further clarification or if you suspect a child has been abused or neglected or have any questions about a situation you think might be abuse or neglect, call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.