Wild Brothers Home Alone

I drove my wife to her  Wine Club last week and left my 6 and 8 yr olds home alone while I made the 3km journey there and back.

If we lived in Rhode Island, there are some who’d want me thrown in jail right about now. Check out this proposed law that was debated in their legislature last week:

1 SECTION 1. Chapter 14-1 of the General Laws entitled “Proceedings in Family Court” is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

Age restrictions for children. – Children under ten (10) years of age shall not be left home alone.

Children at least ten (10) years of age and not more than twelve (12) years of age shall  be allowed to stay home alone for brief periods of time, but not after 9:00 pm.

Children over twelve (12) years of age may be left home alone, but not overnight.

Parents and legal guardians should use their judgment to access the maturity and responsibility of their children and to discuss safety procedures and precautions before deciding whether to leave their child(ren) home alone.

But I live in Calgary, so I’m not in jeopardy of going to jail. But I could still be found guilty in the court of public opinion.

Let me explain to you, the judging parents of the internet what happened and why I did what I did.

Zacharie, my oldest (8), really wants to be a babysitter. Charlie, my youngest (6), really enjoys Home Alone. They’re not entirely equipped to look after themselves, but still they fantasize.

So, on this night we (my wife and I) decided to throw them a bone and let them try it out – for 10 minutes.

I drove my wife to her Wine Club at a neighbour’s house a few blocks over, and came home. It was 10 minutes by my watch door-to-door-to-door.

To keep tabs on them, I had them on speaker phone in my car. This way they could experience at-home ness without all the weird quietness of truly being home alone. The boys watched a show, and talked to us the entire time we were out of the house.

It was no big deal, although I also concede it wouldn’t have been a big deal to bundle the kids in the back seat to drive Mama over to her Wine Club either.

But the kids wanted to be home alone, so we tried it – for 10 minutes. We employed some ad lib parenting techniques, gave our kids a chance to experience some short term independence, and we made the experiment as controlled as possible.

And nobody got thrown in jail.

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