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To leave dd1 home alone once a week for an hour while I work?

(131 Posts)
MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 16:31:34

dd1 is just turned 11 & since her birthday I have started to let her walk home from school once a week (ten minute walk, no main roads) let herself into the house & start her homework until I get home from work (she gets home @ 3:15 & I am home for around 4:15, I pop home @ lunchtime & open the door for her so she has no key to worry about losing, & call her @ around 3:30 to make sure she's got home ok & started her homework
I was quite comfortable with this & saw it as her starting to gain some independence, especially since come September she will be needing to travel to secondary school on her own, including unaccompanied on a bus, so I seen it as a bit of preparation one day a week
However I've just had a call from her teacher, asking if I was in need of any "additional support" after school as she was sure it was a worry for me, and did I know they had an after school club?
I was quite taken aback and explained all the reasons I was quite fine with it, which she did agree with, but it did make me a bit hmm tbh
Dd1 is also quite happy with the arrangement btw & is quite mature for her age, she knows not to use the cooker if she is hungry, don't open the door to anyone and my number is programmed into our home phone etc

MissMalteser Mon 02-Dec-13 14:00:47

Thank you everybody for your words of wisdom, it is easy to second guess yourself as a parent even when you have made what you think is the right choice, but as the overwhelming majority on this thread think it's fine I am happy to stick to my original rolly eyes about the call
For the poster who asked the conversation ended ok, she just repeated that the offer for after school care was there and to let her know if I changed my mind, I don't think I'll be taking it up smile

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Mon 02-Dec-13 12:31:56

When I first started walking home at 11 (year 6 - the last term before high school) my door key was left with the lady across the street. She was in all day. There for my mum was certain my key wouldn't get lost, and a responsible adult would know I had got home safely. She then told me not to answer the phone. If Mum was delayed she would ring the lady across the street who would nip over and let me know.

As long as you and your DD are happy with the arrangement, I think it makes sense to start this now, so she is ready for starting high school.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 02-Dec-13 12:18:02

we are talking once a week for an hour for an 11yr - not every night for 4 hrs and younger children - the only thing i would have said is give her a key and not leave your house unlocked, but you have done that now so dont see the problem

11yrs are often walking alone to school/on bus etc - they start secondary school and have to be more independant

differentnameforthis Mon 02-Dec-13 11:26:51

we have an elderly couple next door who are home all day

If you are worried about her having a key, would they look after it for you?

Pagwatch Mon 02-Dec-13 11:05:57

I gave ds1 a key at that age. We got a length of elastic and tied it inside a zipped pocket in his bag. It was loss proof.

NigellasLeftNostril Mon 02-Dec-13 11:02:59

sorry to continue ...yes it was logged and used against me later when my daughters hair was unbrushed at school, I was physically ill, and my house was messy. at that point, with the previous 'home alone' (from a differenct council) was found and added in, it reallly was 'a tonne of bricks' ....it all adds up you see.

NigellasLeftNostril Mon 02-Dec-13 10:58:45

anyway gingee it would depend v much on your area and how busy they are.

NigellasLeftNostril Mon 02-Dec-13 10:57:50

yes but it was logged and used against me later.
just saying.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 02-Dec-13 10:56:52

Given you have now provided your DD with a key I really cannot see a problem with this. I cannot understand why the school (never mind SS) would be even remotely concerned. It sounds like good practice for greater independence at secondary school to me.

TwoShakesOfaWhiskersTail Mon 02-Dec-13 10:45:06

Nigella they sent you a bloody leaflet, please stop being so dramatic about a very small, insignificant incident.

gingee Mon 02-Dec-13 10:38:49

Just to add to my post - I meant by 'ring everyday' that I ring every time she does this, mostly once a week sometimes twice.

gingee Mon 02-Dec-13 10:34:59

Nigella I am a tad confused- you had SS investigating you because you left your 11 year old alone for an hour, and someone reported this and they came down on you? That's eye opening because I thought it had to be repeated factors or a long term thing before they would consider getting involved? I called SS about a little girl I was having daily contact with, I felt very nosy and awful about it but she smelt of marijuana (her clothes/hair) was repeatedly brought late by a stressed out mum who was rude to other parents, swore at child and bragged about how 'off her face' she was going to get that night. They told me to log my concerns me keep an eye on it. Things have improved since but I don't know if they got involved or not?

It's a bit of a joke these days really knowing what's best. Friggin minefield. I let my y6 walk home with a friend, let herself in get changed and get a small snack and watch a bit of tv until half 4 when she gets collected by neighbour who is one of my best friends and has dd one year younger, she takes them to dance class. I ring everyday and she's home for like 40 mins. However there are kids we know her age who's parents are still having them dropped off and picked up by childminders, grandparents etc and that's fine but some of their parents treat them like 4 year olds, they wouldn't even know how to make themselves a drink, a packed lunch, where they need to be/what to bring, just totally in cloud cuckoo land. They need independence. A kid in secondary who isn't allowed to the corner shop or to go to a friends for tea without mum coming in to check things are 'ok' for half an hour scoping the place out, is not going to do well.

Thatisall Mon 02-Dec-13 10:22:39

We have started doing this exact same thing!! Only sometimes it is two hours. My work hours are u predictable but dh is home at 5.30.

We leave a key hidden for dd and she gets in around 3.45 with similar rules to you and a phone call from me. Like you it's once, occasionally twice a week.

I have however worried about what the teachers think but then I consider that next year she'll be in high school.
Initially I booked her into after school club but she was embarrassed as nobody else her age was there,

What was the outcome with the teacher? Of course you explained your reasons but what did they say?

MammaTJ Mon 02-Dec-13 10:02:02

Nigella, really? You think a letter a phone call and a leaflet is them coming down on you like a tonne of bricks! Hilarious!

They actually visited me, having been called and had a complaint made about me. They were perfectly lovely and reasonable.

I wouldn't even call that them coming down on me like a tonne of bricks.

I know someone who had three children, the oldest is 8. She gets up and changes her brother nappies in the morning, because her mum is still in bed. The baby has 'developmental delay' and every time I pick him up, he stinks of dope! Fair to asume that any delay is due to him being stoned. SS have been informed on many occasions. They have not even come down on that mother like a tonne of bricks! They are going to be so uninterested in the OPs DD being left home alone for an hour at her age!

candycoatedwaterdrops Mon 02-Dec-13 08:32:58

A letter, phone call and leaflet is not "social services involvement". hmm

NigellasLeftNostril Sun 01-Dec-13 14:40:13

I sound paranoid?
After my experiences with SS i probably am, but justifiably so...

AmberLeaf Sun 01-Dec-13 14:39:46

Ok, yes that makes sense on reading back.

Groovee Sun 01-Dec-13 14:39:20

My 11 year old walks home if I do extra days. His key fits on a keyring inside his school bag. He comes in and does his homework or chills on the ipad if no homework. He gets in about 3.30pm, I'm home no later than 4pm but sometimes I am home before him.

MissMalteser Sun 01-Dec-13 14:38:37

No amberleaf that comment was not to you

NigellasLeftNostril Sun 01-Dec-13 14:33:12

low crime rate of were we live yes well there was an incredibly low crime rate on the Bryn y Gog estate and look what happened there.

AmberLeaf Sun 01-Dec-13 14:29:49

I sound paranoid?

No, I just take my childrens safety seriously. I don't want to be burgled either.

AmberLeaf Sun 01-Dec-13 14:28:38

So did your daughter tell her teacher about that part?

Ive just read the whole thread now before my first post, I can see that you are now going to give her a key.

I just don't get why the risks didn't even occur to you initially?

MissMalteser Sun 01-Dec-13 14:27:31

And you sound paranoid

MissMalteser Sun 01-Dec-13 14:23:40

Amber I do believe the unlocked house situation was resolved over 24 hours ago, yes I have taken on board it was very naive of me, and rectified the situation as soon as it was pointed out, however as also explained above I underestimated the risks due to this being an hour, once a week, in broad daylight and with neighbours who are in all day on either side, and as much this it is hard to believe in this day and age, I could guess at least 75% of the people in my area do the same, due to the layout and low crime rate of were we live

chocolatespiders Sun 01-Dec-13 14:21:59

Key safe on wall for £50 would keep the key safe

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