AIBU to think that kids in year 7 upwards don't require after school care?

(69 Posts)
Blueskiesandcherrypies Thu 06-Mar-14 12:34:40

Or do they? Genuine question as mine aren't at that age yet but I would like to go back to work when my youngest starts school, my eldest two will be in years 7 and 8. I will send youngest 2 to after school club (foundation and yr1) but am unsure whether older two will need some sort of club/childminder? They are sensible kids. Is there a law or guidance?

meditrina Thu 06-Mar-14 12:49:52

"I thought you had to be twelve or fourteen before you could be left alone in law."

There is no law in any of the jurisdictions win UK which specifies an age. The parent is however responsible if any harm comes to their child when left alone, if the circumstances in which they were left was deemed neglectful.

So it's up to the individual family to take responsibility for deciding at their DC are ready for. I found that my DC were fine to be home alone after school. It's a bit nerve-wracking when you first trust them with keys, but if you have drilled them well in emergency procedures and also permitted/banned activities whilst you are out then it really will be fine.

There isn't a law but the second something goes wrong you can be prosecuted.

I'm not really allowed to leave under 18's alone as a carer - SS are very, very risk averse now.

BirthdayMuppet Thu 06-Mar-14 12:50:13

I think for two days a week, if it wasn't for more than two hours at a time, I'd probably be prepared to leave an 11 & 12yo if I were confident they were sensible and happy to be left. What time is the first adult home likely to be back at on those two remaining days?

Kamer Thu 06-Mar-14 12:54:21

I leave my yr 7 DS to let self in a couple of days a week when working. On one of those days DH is home around the same time as him, on the other he is alone from 3.45 to 5.15/5.30ish. He is fine and there are friends and neighbours nearby he could call on if there was a problem. There isn't any childcare for this age group where I live so I would be in the ridiculous situation of having to stop work as my DC became high school aged!

MrsJoeHart Thu 06-Mar-14 12:54:30

My 11 year old is on her own for half an hour before the 12 year old gets in, then a further half an hour later the 14 year old comes home. They are all very sensible, no not to open the door etc. I work very locally, so in an emergency can be home very quickly.

Over the Easter hols they'll be on their own for one of the weeks, but I will be able to pop home for lunch and possibly every now and then. I know my dc's and am happy for them to be left under these circumstances. However DH recently wanted the pair of us to go to a city 200 miles away for the day for a special event, which would have meant leaving them from 9am to 10pm on a Saturday. I said no. The probably would have been fine, but it just felt like to much of a risk to be so far away and for such a long time.

Kewcumber Thu 06-Mar-14 12:54:45

I think the change to secondary is a big one for many children and I know paretns who have had to cut back on hours for a year or so afetr starting secondary because their child was struggling with the transition and leaving them alone afetr school for several hours wasn't ideal.

I suspect it harder to deal with this than a confident 10 year old in a primary school where they are stable and "top dog" and still don;t have much homework and there is probably afetr school care avaialble than an 11/12 year old just moved to secondary.

Blueskiesandcherrypies Thu 06-Mar-14 12:55:11

Thanks for all the replies.

Birthdaymuppet, on the remaining two days it's unlikely DH would be home later than 5.30.

ReallyTired Thu 06-Mar-14 12:58:07

It is hard finding the balance between encouraging independence and risk. Eleven years old is a high risk age for getting run over. It is a high risk age for children to take up smoking. Once pubety kicks (typicaly 13) in then there is the risk of teenage pregnancy and STDs in feral teens.

Its not just the risk of pregnancy and getting drunk, but teens often need someone to talk to. They need to know what to do in an emergency.

I think its a petty the OP can't get an Au pair to help with after school supervision.

PowderMum Thu 06-Mar-14 13:06:45

Just for balance, each of my DD came home to an empty house on the bus and the were alone for around 2 hours. DD2 had the advantage that usually DD1 was home with her. We never had any problems and the are now nearing the end of their secondary education.

GrendelsMum Thu 06-Mar-14 13:10:56

It worked for me when I started secondary (arrived home between about 4.30 and 5.30), home alone for between 1 and 2 hours, and I just made some toast and sat down and did my homework. But I had the choice to go to a childminders if I didn't feel happy, and a neighbour over the road was there in case of any problems. I only needed to ask her for help twice in all the time I was at secondary school.

Weegiemum Thu 06-Mar-14 13:15:16

I'm usually in when my dc get home. We're in Scotland - dd1 is 14 in S2 (Y8), ds is 12 in P7 (Y6) and dd2 is 10 in P6 (Y5).

Dd2 never lets herself in, ds has once or twice, dd1 has a key (and ds will in August when he goes to High School).

I'd happily leave dd1 home all day, ds maybe a few hours (totally glued to the coveted ps4) and dd2, I've left her when she's been off sick and I really had to pick up a prescription/buy actual food etc!

As a child, after my mum walked out I was at home 3.45-6.00 pm every weekday with my sister. I was 12 in S1, she was 10 in P6. My wee brother went to a childminder. I always felt horribly responsible.

I'd trust my dd1 and ds. Dd2 is a bit too ditzy yet - hopefully another year will help. I'm very lucky to have a school hours/terms job so I'm usually home.

Dd1 gets 2 buses across Glasgow city centre there and back every day and has since she was 12 in S1. Not a lot (drunks at 8.15, drug dealers, little old ladies with opinions !! scare her!

ShadowOfTheDay Thu 06-Mar-14 13:15:22

My girls are 11 and 13 and are home alone 2 days after school - til about 5.30.....

It is the little stupid things that go wrong... the window cleaner came.. they know not to let him in and he will post a card in the door to say he's been... but he left the gate open, they let the dog out to wee in the garden and he ran off down the road....

the girls corralled the neighbour (who we asked if they would be a point of contact before we decided they would be ok to be left) and the window cleaner (who had moved on to next door), and another neighbour into catching the dog - so no big problem... but the dog "could" have been run over/escaped forever, been taken etc etc

but - if the kids never meet adversity - how will they learn to cope? they did the right thing - ish - and learned to check the gate before they open the door...

5Foot5 Thu 06-Mar-14 13:18:24

I think it depends on the child.

When DD was approaching secondary school age I was unsure as to whether to put her in the after school centre neare her High School but she was adament she did not want to go there and wanted to be able to come home.

She is a sensible kid so in the end we agreed. She had her own key and would let herself in, get a snack and do homework etc. For the first few weeks she had to ring me as soon as she got in so that I knew she was home OK and, as I only worked a mile from home, I could have been back fairly quickly if she had a problem.

There never was a problem.

Her friend's mum didn't want to do the same for her DD so she re-arranged her working hours so she could be home earlier and would not give her DD a key for a long time because she didn't like the idea of her being in the house alone. But when the mum got held up, which happened fairly frequently, the poor girl ended up having to sit on the doorstep to wait. I know which I prefer.

TamerB Thu 06-Mar-14 13:20:17

Mine wouldn't have wanted to go to child care by then. They had a key and were much happier at home.

AphraBane Thu 06-Mar-14 13:24:12

Just to put this in perspective, the UK is currently much more risk averse than many other European countries on leaving older children alone. In Germany, for instance, there is still a widespread belief that in small villages at least, DC can go to and from school by themselves at 6 (although this is rare in big cities) and childcare is not generally available after the age of 10 for NT children.

In practice, many parents still feel a bit uneasy with DC at home alone all day during the holidays or for several hours every afternoon until the oldest DC gets to 11 or 12, but it wouldn't be illegal. It's also not an issue for us because I work from home so am always there, but we have no problem with them being on their own for a few hours as an exception (that started when they were 11 and 8).

It's also interesting that children from countries where DC are given that extra responsibility at an earlier age do appear to be more mature and reliable than those who are babysat into their teenage years. But that's just been my experience.

kernowal Thu 06-Mar-14 13:29:24

We've had to do this since September. DD cycles home, unlocks & puts her bike away. She knows that once she is home, she mustn't answer the door to anyone and she must get on with her homework. She likes the responsibility. She also has to send us a text message to say that she has arrived safely & everything is OK. Our next door neighbour is usually around in case of emergency and I'm sure friend's parents would help if they could get to her more quickly than we could.

She's rarely at home alone for more than an hour, but she is booked in at a holiday club for school holidays, because I think a whole working day is simply too long for a 12 year old to occupy themselves.

Mmmbacon Thu 06-Mar-14 13:29:57

Dd is a latch door key kids now, we are rural so she 12.5 gets the school bus home and leaves herself in, its about 2 hours a day, she makes a snack, no cooking, and.does her homework,

I wouldn't have done it last year, but she is grown up so much in last year, we also have great neughbours and she gets off the bus with 3 others, we have built in safety such as going to next door if she forgets key etc, but so far she has never had to do this, we also have house alarm so again added security for her,

I would also teach them how to make a snack carefully too....

Stinklebell Thu 06-Mar-14 15:30:09

I have a 12 year old in Y7. She's left at home for shortish periods, she doesn't like being left for too long though, and is not keen on us being too far away.

She's fairly sensible and quite mature, I trust her not to set the house on fire and have neighbours on hand so I would be quite happy if it was a couple of hours + but she gets a bit worried if I'm more than an hour or so

Totally depends how long it would be until one of us got home and how far away we were (I work from home so it's not a problem for us)

kentishgirl Thu 06-Mar-14 15:31:47

I think it's very normal for a secondary school child to look after themselves for a couple of hours.

mouldyironingboard Thu 06-Mar-14 15:32:45

My children are adults now but thinking about this it really does depend on how sensible they are. Among my neighbours, I know of 14 year olds who really can't be trusted and 11 year olds who can.

Chunderella Thu 06-Mar-14 16:02:53

It's a tough one isn't it. Assuming NT, I think it depends a lot on the maturity of the child and also what trouble is freely available. Do their schools do any after school activities like sports, drama, film club etc? That might be an option if you're worried.

whatever5 Thu 06-Mar-14 16:07:39

Do their schools do any after school activities like sports, drama, film club etc? That might be an option if you're worried.

I don't think that's a good option as in the winter they would then be walking home/catching the bus by themselves in the dark.

OwlCapone Thu 06-Mar-14 16:10:06

It depends entirely on the child.

Is working in the school library likely to be an option? DSs are allowed to stay in their's until about 5:30 and it gets some HW out of the way with fewer distractions. Obviously you won't know this until you know which secondary school smile

OwlCapone Thu 06-Mar-14 16:11:09

I don't think that's a good option as in the winter they would then be walking home/catching the bus by themselves in the dark.

How times have changed. smile We used to do this all the time when I was at school.

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