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AIBU in thinking that it would be ok to leave son home alone after school ?(55 Posts)
Thinking in advance for September.
Son will be 11 in September - but in year 6. I will be working till 5pm every night (getting home at 6 ish). He HATES after school care so I am considering an alternative....
We live 5 miles from school so walking home is not an option but a school friend drives past my house on their way home.
So 2 questions ...
Would i be taking the piss asking them to drop son off every day (if their child is ill (or whatever) my son could do the after school care.
and ... although not ideal .. is it ok to leave an 11 yr old home alone for 2.5 hours per day? (Son is happy with the idea / calm child / sensible etc - however due to circumstances he has never really been left alone for more then 10 minutes at a time)
Like most people on here I see the transport as more of an issue than the home aloneing. DD1 has been doing this since the last 2 weeks of Yr6, but she and her friend walk home from school. DD2, who is now in Yr5, joins them so there's three of them, and DH gets home half an hour after they do, so a slightly different scenario. I also leave them to make their own way to school in the morning (and they do dishes!)
But with a 5 mile journey and no bus in the mix, I wouldn't be happy.
I think it's too much to ask the friend tbh. What if she wants to nip to the supermarket, visit the grandparents etc and if her dc wants to take part in after school activities, she might feel she can't let him as she has to take your ds home.
I think ask the potential lift giver if she likes the idea at all. And offer to make it up to her in lots of ways, including any she can think of. She may jump at the chance if there is a unique favour that you could do for her in return. Give her the choice.
I think the lift thing might be tricky- and I am a profliate and by mumsnet standards deeply weird lift giver- unless your ds and the other boy have exactly the same interests. My ds is in year 7, and he rarely comes home at the same time two days running- after school sport and matches and so on- this week, for example, he has had two training sessions, two matches and a party. So he has been home at 4.30 twice, 5 once, 6.30 once and he's not home yet today!
I think he will be absolutely fine, and the lift is fine too.
I would make sure you keep expressing your gratitude in whatever way the lift-mum would appreciate. Also, I would make sure you check regularly that there are no bad / awkward feelings between the boys, and make sure your son always thanks her.
I would phone him every day, and I would make sure you keep talking about what he should and shouldn't be doing.
I would make an effort to have his friends over or make a date for him to go to someone's house whenever it is possible.
I wouldn't leave my child alone for that length of time every day and I couldn't ask someone to give my child a lift every day.
Honestly, the lift won't work unless neither of the boys does anything after school.
I personally would feel it was too much if I was asked to drop someone at home every night for reasons mentioned by another poster and would find it too restrictive (what if I want to go off somewhere at short notice in completely the opposite direction? I wouldn't have the freedom to make these last minute decisions). Can he get a bus home? I walked home from school (15 mins) at that age but there were lots of kids who got a bus (admittedly senior school but some wouldn't have been 12 til the summer) although of course there was usually a lot of them - what do the other kids do? How close a friend are you? If you're close then perhaps put it out there as a hypothetical and see he your friend offers - s/he will know what you're angling for and if it's a viable option s/he'll make the offer.
Your son may hate afterschool care but really does that come into it? I'm sure he hates lots of other things but I bet you still make him do them. If you're trying to foster more independence in him then great but I would think carefully about it because there is a big difference between 10 mins and 2.5 hours. He might think he's up to it but he might actually get a bit freaked out after the initial excitement has worn off. In the very least if you plan to leave him you need to start extending his time alone.
You're clearly in two minds so don't rush into anything
My eldest son started getting the bus home from school and looking after himself the term he turned 11. He was summer born and in year 6. He hated after school club as it was a bit young for him but he needed to practice before starting secondary schools anyway. He enjoyed the time by himself and was confident in the house by himself. My younger one has a very different personality and I can't imagine him being happy to do that at the same age.
I think 5 days a week sounds like a big ask from a friend. How about asking two days a week? That way your son isn't home alone every day, he has some respite from after school club and its not too much an ask from a friend.
Maybe start to leave him for increasing amounts of time and to how he gets on. My son was happily being left at the weekend before he started making his own way home from school.
Wow, do all of you have y7s who do lots of at-school immediately after school clubs? DS1 does none & I'm sure DS2 will be the same. I just discovered someone else who does lift shares with 2 or 3 other parents to the same secondary school, they don't find it that tricky.
DD probably will do a club or 2 from y7+ but I have told her that she'll have to limit the days due to transport issues, too.
If he can follow how to behave at home it should be ok. On asking the other parent this is tricky for them to have a commitment but if you say contribute to costs and only if it's no trouble and offer to help her as well
It is asking the mum and her ds to commit to him not doing any activities after school for a whole year: personally, I'd find that a bit much. Fair enough to ask your children to limit their activities because you don't want to drive them, but to ask somebody else's child not to do any activities at all merely because your son doesn't like after school club- I can see my (usually very compliant) children give a robust answer to that one. It's not as if you are stuck and there is no answer, it's just about your son's preferences.
So if your child was asked to represent his school at a sport he'd have to say no?
I wouldn't do it. Too much that can go wrong.
My DS is home for about an hour and a half to two hours after school. He is in year 7, but a late July birthday, so still 11. It's not perfect but it's how it works for us. We did build him up to it gently.
However, he is under his own steam. He gets a bus, or a late minibus if he is staying after school for a club.
Two issues here.
Home alone isn't a problem.
The transport is and that could cause major problems, ill child, after school club, and also it is a big ask for someone to be responsible for getting your child home every single day.
He hates the after school care, is the problem that it's too childish? Is he stuck with much smaller children? If he's 11 in September I can see probably where he's coming from. Is there any other club he could do after school, or somewhere else he could go?
I think you might have to tell him to put up with it unfortunately
2.5 hours ever day is too much. Thats 12.5 hours a week on his own. Can't he do some clubs?
why not pay a friend to have him for a couple of days? He can hang out with mates then?
No it's too much to ask a friend to do and will cause resentment and its too long to leave him at 11. What about winter and dark nights?
I did this when DC1 was 11. Like your DS he hated afterschool club, and was sensible, capable and very happy to be home on his own. I was home at 5.30 so it was 1.45-2 hours rather than 2.5 hrs, but not far off it.
When he went to afterschool we had to get a taxi to collect him from school and take him there as his school had no arrangement with the local afterschool club (don't ask!), so maybe you could see if your friend would be happy to give him a lift a couple of days, use a taxi firm another 2, and send him to afterschool one day?
I think it would only need one thing to go wrong to cause a problem for your friend or your son.
Can he stay in the school library and do his homework?
Have I missed how he would get home from school if he didn't get a lift?
I agree with Redsky on both the lift and the time spent at home alone.
Also, sometimes a child's teacher needs to tell the carer something after school or there are incidents etc. It would be an imposition on your friend to have to do it every day.
I sympathise with your position. I have left a 13 year old alone for an hour or hour and a half, but even that was a long time if it was more than once or twice a week. It didn't work. Kids get lonely and isolated. And what would he do all that time (2.5 hours a day is a large chunk of his day at that age)? If he's anything like my son, he'll be on his computer/phone or watching TV.
Why does your son not like after school club?
Could you get a local student to pick him up from school and take him to your home and stay with him?
Are there any local (to the school) childminders for older children?
Could you go to work earlier and get home earlier/do some work at home in the evenings?
I'm sure you've thought about all of the above, but imo, leaving him for 2.5 hours a day would be the worst option.
I don't think there is anything that says leaving an 11-13yo has to be a disaster; it depends on the child. It worked well for us.
My nephew was perfectly happy practising his violin and composing music, my niece used to cook herself a meal (she was very reliable and mature), ds possibly has been known to spend rather too much time watching inane television programmes but he certainly doesn't get lonely or unhappy. When I was that age, as a member of a lovely but large and noisy family, I used to look forward to afternoons alone as a special treat.
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