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Coincidentally, the very first time was today! My son, just turned 11, came back from a residential outward bound school trip last night and was exhausted. School gave them today off. I had to take my little one to nursery and didn't want to drag him out with me. So under instruction not to answer the door, not to make toast and to just stay put until I returned in about half an hour, I left him in the house. We live on a busy street where he knows the neighbours and knows how to work the phone.
I think he's old enough and sensible enough now to leave him for short periods of time but not too long. I wouldn't be happy with him being there for several hours without an adult.