North Dakota, What Age Is It Legal To Leave Your Kids Home Alone?
On Tuesday, AP News reported teachers in the Minneapolis School District walked off the job. That's 29,000 kids with no school tomorrow. In neighboring St. Paul, teachers and administrators were able to hammer out an agreement to avert a strike in their schools. It probably doesn't hurt that the annual salary for a teacher in St. Paul is over $85,000 while teachers in Minneapolis average $71,000 a year.
With no school, parents are left to scramble for child care services.
Parents have certainly recently faced a similar situation with distance-learning school scenarios. As Minneapolis families are now searching for hard-to-find childcare opportunities many may be wondering- what if I just left them home alone? Would they be safe? Is it against the law? From what I saw in Minnesota there is no designated legal age but dependent upon the situation parents and/or guardians could easily find themselves open to endangerment or abandonment charges.
At what age can kids be left home alone in North Dakota?
I'm a native North Dakotan and I'm trying to remember what age I was when first being left alone. Problem is that was a long time ago. Could be that I've got a sister who is two years older than me so maybe it never was an issue. Could be that there were no snowflake kids or helicopter parents when I was young. But the general consensus on almost everything I read was 9 years is the minimum age a kid can be left alone.
It's really not a law- more of a suggestion.
The age of 9 is a recommendation and of course, all kids are different. Here's a brochure from the State of North Dakota with guidelines and safety tips. Again while not legally binding, you'll find more information at BismarckND.gov
The guidelines affirm that children 8 years and under should be supervised at all times with a caregiver available. An 8-year-old should not be left in charge of other children. In other words, never home alone.
Children who are 9 years old should not be left unsupervised for periods greater than two hours during the daytime. A child of this age should not be unsupervised during sleeping hours. Children this age should not be responsible for younger children. Continuing with the ND guidelines, children who are age 12 years and older may be permitted to act as babysitters.
Most states do not have a legal age requirement or for that matter no official guidelines to follow. So parents you're pretty much on your own when it comes to determining the responsibility level of your kids. But if you'd like to read some tips about gauging your kid's readiness click here for areas of discussion on I Mom.com.