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5-Year-Olds Left Home Alone

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This and parent groups urges letter-writing campaign to Congress to curb alarming new trend.


According to, more than 14,000,000 school-age kids are on their own after school, and more than 40,000 of those children are kindergarteners. It's even more disturbing considering there are so many after-school programs that provide affordable childcare.  Unfortunately, time may be running out for these programs. President Bush proposes slashing federal after-school funds by $300 million. If Congress approves this proposal, then thousands of schools would be forced to shutter their after-school programs.

Rather than sit back and let lawmakers decide the fate of the nations' school children, Moms Rising and the Afterschool Alliance are taking action this week by urging their subscribers to send a letter of protest to Congress to stop the proposed cuts. You, too, can stand up and take action! If you would like to find out more about the proposed cuts, visit the Afterschool Alliance.

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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous February 27, 2008, 4:01 PM

Have there been any incidences where kindergarten children left home alone have been injured or worse? I would like to know some stats on that subject and perhaps hear about those scenarios. In addition, it would be interesting read some interviwes of parents who’ve left kindergarden age children home alone and find out why why they did so.

Wendy February 28, 2008, 11:19 AM

If that many young children are already being left home alone with the availability of “affordable, quality after-school care”, I don’t think that one can automatically conclude that this would get significantly worse if school programs close. There are a variety of other options available. Responsible parents, who already have their kids supervised, would seek other venues such as private childcare centers, YMCA, etc. Irresponsible parents would continue to leave their kids home alone. Please don’t tell me they have no other option. After all, I’m sure that they didn’t leave the child home alone as an infant - somewhere at some point, they had childcare. Perhaps we should seek to understand why parents make these choices - I know of parents who have done that not because they could’t afford care but because they would have rather used the money for something else. Perhaps we need to look at mandating supervision for young children which is a shame since this should be a no-brainer.

Starr September 30, 2008, 2:35 PM

Ok, I’m a stay at home mome, mostly because I’m disabled. But I know of other parents, especially those that are single parents that are having a terrible time just making ends meet. Paying for what some call “affordable programs” are way out of the ball park for these parents.
Plus employers just won’t listen to “I need to be home for my child at 3pm can you adjust my schedual?” If you could get more flexability from employers then maybe these parents would be able to be at home for their kids.
Maybe they had somebody that was watching the child before, a grandparent or friend. Well, truth be told people die and/or move away. What is a parent to do when that support system disappears?
When I was 6yrs old in the 1960’s my mother worked the night shift at a factory cause it was good money. But in the daytime she’d send me to the corner store to get groceries! I had to cross a highway to get there-four lanes a median and four more lanes. We were right off a major parkway in a cheap apt complex. I didn’t have a bedroom, just the couch. It was a one bedroom with kitchen, bath & livingroom. But it was all that good job could get us.
I made peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for us for dinner. But then I was reading at 4yrs old, plus traveling all over the U.S. in a station wagon with my mom for years before we got the apt. Sometimes she’d get work as bartender for a while, just to get up enough money for a motel room for the weekend & get us food.
She may not have made the best choices as a mother, having me at 20 and not married. But she kept me and did the best she could to figure out how to raise a kid alone. Me on the other hand, I’m a bit “overprotective” of my own kids. LOL

Tami February 5, 2009, 10:11 AM

Stupid $$%^#’s who is hell leaves a 5,6,7,8,etc…. year old child alone EVER? These children should not be with these parents - to the mother who thought it was ok to leave her 7 year old daughter because after 6 years it was ok? Are there really people that STUPID that are caring for children? And WHY are they allowed to have them? So many wonderful would-be parents and people out there that could give a child a good home, what is wrong with society today? People like her should be steralized and have her daughter taken away and given a proper home.

Sarah February 25, 2009, 4:46 PM

You need a license to drive a car, own a gun, put up a fence in your own backyard for goodness sake, but anyone who’s willing can have a child! I don’t have children yet, as much as I would love to be a mother, because it would be irresponsible of me to do so right now so I am choosing to wait until I am financially able to do so, as much as it pains me. While I can remember a few occasions of my mother leaving me home alone in my preschool years for all of 15-20 minutes so she could run to pick up my siblings from school… I don’t think it’s right nor do I think it’s legal… maybe it varies from state to state or maybe I’m completely wrong for thinking this but I was under the impression that it is ILLEGAL to leave a child under the age of 13 home alone. If you can’t figure out how to care for your kids, you don’t deserve to have them. Bringing life into this world shouldn’t be a right, it should be an honor and a privilege!

Micaela February 25, 2009, 5:06 PM

5 yrs is entirely too young, & for some kids, 10 or 12 is too young. It does depend on the maturity of the child also. My 5th grader started going home this year & we had had long, in depth conversations about it, all the “what if’s”, & a list of what he is NOT allowed to do, what we expect him to do, all of our ph#’s, our address, etc. He is to call as soon as he walks in the door, he is not allowed to walk home by himself-there is a group of kids. He is not to answer the door or phone, unless it is us. I was really against this, but he begged & pleaded, & we couldn’t afford to put him in any of these “affordable” after school programs as they are not affordable, & of course we are a two income family so we don’t qualify for ANYTHING, & what we could afford was not fair to him-a day care with a bunch of babies & they were not even allowed to sit on the couch! Yes, we previously had daycare for him-but how do I get him from school to the babysitter????? And grandma decided to go back to work at the last minute…I am so sick of people here being so high & f’ing mighty stating “affordable”-WTF? Obviously affordable is different for everyone, of course I don’t believe a 5 yr old should stay home alone. maybe t hey should have a message board @ school &/or on the school website to try to have parents coordinate with each other?

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