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

LuciusMalfoyisSmokingHot Fri 29-Nov-13 16:35:30

My sister started getting independence at 11, shes nearly 14 now and she happily stays on her own til her parents return, i did the same at 11 aswell, aslong as you give her a couple of rules, and shes shows responsibility, theres no reason why she cant handle an hour alone, unless she has SN or the like.

Ladymuck Fri 29-Nov-13 16:36:07

Certainly I leave ds, also year 6, for up to an hour at a time. But if a teacher had brought it up then I would wonder how they know? Has your dd been saying something that would indicate that she isn't as happy with the situation as you think she is?

Worriedkat Fri 29-Nov-13 16:36:50

You leave the front door unlocked between lunchtime and 3.30? shock.

Apart from that I think 11 is fine to be alone for an hour.

bigTillyMint Fri 29-Nov-13 16:37:16

Mine were left home alone for up to an hour at this age. Never had any problems. I also saw it as a stepping-stone to becoming more independent in preparation for secondary school.

We also had the rule of no cooking!

Trills Fri 29-Nov-13 16:37:21

Give her a key.

5Foot5 Fri 29-Nov-13 16:37:48

It sounds perfectly OK to me. I think you are doing the right thing to start giving her a bit of independence now as it will all help her confidence when she has to start doing more for herself at secondary school.

pollywollydoodle Fri 29-Nov-13 16:38:14

seems reasonable to leave her in those circumstances...the only other thing i would do is make sure she knows she can knock on a neighbour if there is an emergency

LuciusMalfoyisSmokingHot Fri 29-Nov-13 16:38:46

My Sis had rules:

No cooking
No friends round
No answering the door
No answering the phone.

bigTillyMint Fri 29-Nov-13 16:39:17

Missed the bit about the key - do you live on a little island off the coast of Scotland?!

Mine have never (so far!) lost their house keys - 3 yrs for DS and 5 for DD. You could always sew them onto an elastic into her school bag.

GinAndIt Fri 29-Nov-13 16:39:38

I don't see a problem with it. I'm considering doing the same with ds next year, once he turns 11, except it'll be in the morning so I can get an earlier train to work. He'll just need to make sure he slams the door behind him!

The only thing I would be a bit hmm about would be you unlocking the door hours beforehand - I'd be more worried about someone breaking in tbh! Can you get one of those key safe thingys so you don't need to leave the door unlocked?

I think you know your own kids and their level of maturity - I would have no concern about ds as long as I could phone him/he could phone me.

cestlavielife Fri 29-Nov-13 16:40:18

you need to lock the door and give her a key!

or have a number code entry system fitted
www.securitysafetyproducts.co.uk/security/keyless-locks/ssp-upvc-biometric-and-code-door-entry-system-homeoffice.php

pollywollydoodle Fri 29-Nov-13 16:40:21

and i missed the bit about leaving the house unlocked...just give her a key...

bigTillyMint Fri 29-Nov-13 16:40:54

Actually, thinking about it we had the same rules as Lucius.

One time, DS made his friend stand on the doorstep whilst he came in and changed and they went back out to play footygrin

They still have to check before bringing friends back!

MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 16:42:53

She was overhead talking to her friends about why she couldn't go to their house after school apparently, as she had to go straight home and I would worry if she didn't pick up the phone, I have just had a chat with her and the teacher called her out of the room to discuss this!

ApprenticeViper Fri 29-Nov-13 16:45:49

From the age of 11 I would be on my own for two hours, two afternoons a week after school as both DPs worked (one only part-time) and I had my own doorkey. My younger DB would be at a neighbour's (who had a son a year older than my brother) but I was trusted to be on my own in our house. I suppose my DPs felt that I could take responsibility for myself, but it wouldn't have been right to make me responsible for DB when he was three years younger than me plus we would probably have ripped each others' heads off

YADNBU, but my concern is (as mentioned upthread) your house being open from lunchtime onwards! Can your DD lock the door from the inside once she is home?

gamerchick Fri 29-Nov-13 16:45:56

I would give her a key. Walking in on a burglary isn't something I would want to risk.

I don't see the issue other than that.. you know your own kid.

GinAndIt Fri 29-Nov-13 16:48:57

Apprentice, I read that as 'I had my own donkey' grin

Sorry. As you were.

Hulababy Fri 29-Nov-13 16:49:51

1. Why not give her a key? She could have it in a purse or ona long keyring coil attached insie her bag. Do you realise your insurance is probably not valid if you have left your house door unlocked?

2. Have you considered maybe a cheap PAYG mobile phone? Then if she does want to go to a friend's house maybe she could call you to check if it was okay first.

MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 16:50:36

Sorry lots of crossposts
Yes we live in a very small culdesac, we have an elderly couple next door who are home all day and are the ultimate nosey neighbours so very little chance of anything untoward happening smile maybe the key is a better idea, though she is terrible for losing things so we would have to find a hiding place for it

BackforGood Fri 29-Nov-13 16:53:09

The only bit in the whole scenario I'd be concerned about, is the leaving the house unlocked between lunchtime and her getting home shock. Just give her a key!

bigTillyMint Fri 29-Nov-13 16:53:21

MissM, now is the time to instil in her the need to NOT LOSE THINGS! Get her started now in preparation for Y7wink

Euphemia Fri 29-Nov-13 16:53:45

My DD is 11.5 and has been left alone before and after school since the start of the school year in August. We leave a key in a secret place - safer than risking her losing it at school!

She's on her own for max. 45 mins in the morning and one hour at night. She doesn't really like being left alone, but she's coping fine with it.

PuppyMonkey Fri 29-Nov-13 16:54:00

Leave the key with the nosy neighbours and she can pick it up from them each day??

My house is in quiet area with lots of nosy neighbours about. We got burgled in broad daylight while DP was on the school run.

BackforGood Fri 29-Nov-13 16:54:13

x-posted.
Put it on some string tied into her school bag, or, even leave it with the neighbours. I wouldn't want my dcs to be going into a house that anyone could have walked into over the previous 3 hours.

Crikeyblimey Fri 29-Nov-13 17:01:54

Ds is yr 6 and has been getting the school bus and letting himself in since sept. he's alone for max half an hour.

We got one of those ski lift pass holder things that has the expanding bit of elastic on (not explaining that well am I?) for his door key and fasten one end to the zip loop in his bag, so he never needs to detach it.

He also has a cheap payg mobile that is off in his school bag but there for any emergency for him to contact us. He's under instruction to text me when he's home (he often rings instead).

Not had any problems.

MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 17:10:49

Ok I will get her a key cut tomorrow and steal one of dh's elastic work pass things to sew it into her school bag with, hadn't thought of that!
Im just so bemused that her teacher found this such a cause for concern... I would have thought most kids of her age are starting to be left alone for an hour or so while their parents popped out shopping etc

ChasedByBees Fri 29-Nov-13 17:12:00

I would definitely not leave the door unlocked. I live on a quiet cul de sac with nosy neighbours. We stil got burgled while we were at work. It was not nice to come home to and freaky to think they might have still been upstairs. Please give her a key. You could also keep a key in a key safe somewhere? Otherwise I don't see a problem with this. I would have loved it at 11.

Topseyt Fri 29-Nov-13 17:12:07

Its fine. I don't really see what the teacher had any issue with to be honest.

I would definitely give her a key though. I would not leave my house unlocked all afternoon whilst I was out.

I began leaving all three of my children alone when they were about that age, and I have never had any problems. My rules are:

1) Doors to remain locked once you are inside and not to be opened to anyone.

2) NO cooking.

3) NO friends allowed round until after their dad or I are back.

MinesAPintOfTea Fri 29-Nov-13 17:21:50

Agree re key: I've be worried that someone could get in and be there when she gets in. But she's olds enough to be in the house alone, yes.

ApprenticeViper Fri 29-Nov-13 17:33:33

GinAnd haha! slight space bar fail there! grin

but actually, yes i did, and it could open the front door with its hooves wink

redexpat Fri 29-Nov-13 18:40:34

The key can go on a string around her neck, tucked down inside her school uniform. Or attached to her school bag. Or on one of those whooshy things you put lift passes on when you go skiing - you know like miniature extendable dog leads.

Nerfmother Fri 29-Nov-13 18:52:00

I wouldn't purely because on a very recent safeguarding course I was told that it wouldn't be okay to leave y6 ds alone for an hour after school. Even after dropping him home. So to avoid any ss referrals, however they would probably pan out, no I wouldn't.

MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 20:24:23

Really nerfmother grin that is so strange why on earth would ss be ok with 11 year olds travelling unaccompanied to and from school on public transport etc but not be ok with them sitting in their own homes for an hour, when I think of the responsibility I had at that age my mind boggles

MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 20:25:34

That was meant to be a shocked face dunno how it came out with that sarky looking grin!

Bonsoir Fri 29-Nov-13 20:30:54

I agree with others - all this is fine except for leaving your door unlocked. Presumably your DD can call on your old neighbours if anything awful happens?

pointyfangs Fri 29-Nov-13 20:41:23

My DDs have been home alone in the morning for about an hour and again for about half an hour after school since September last year, when DD1 was in Yr7 and DD2 in Yr5. They both have keys, DD2 managed to lose hers once but it was found again and the emergency telephone system for contacting me and backup worked flawlessly.

nerfmother really? A yr6 child is 10/11 years old, I think it's mad that it isn't OK for them to have an hour at home alone. When I was that age I most certainly did, and by the time I was in Yr7 I was cycling to school by myself 3 miles each way and having an hour at home alone at the end of the day as well. When are we supposed to let them learn independence?

YANBU, OP, just let your DD have a key.

nerfmother I did have an ss referral from my ex about leaving dcs home alone. They were 6 or 7 at the time and I'd leave them for 15-20 mins while I popped to the shops. I spoke to ss on the telephone after they'd written to me regarding the report, and said that I was doing this as part of an ongoing program of fostering the childrens independence in and out of the home. Ss where in total agreement with me that it was perfectly reasonable. I am now in a position where the dcs are almost 9 and can happily be left for up to an hour/hour and a half with strict intsructions not to open the door or use the kitchen. They are fine with this. Where we live at 11 they will be expected to make a cross city trip using buses to get to high school. The school strongly encourage parents to allow the dcs to make their own way to school. I think it would be irresponsible for me to suddenly expect the dcs to be able to handle this without a well thought out plan to be independent in and out of the house having been in place for some time.

VikingLady Fri 29-Nov-13 20:44:10

I did it at that age. The rules were to close the curtains if it was dark so people couldn't see I was alone, and to call DF immediately. Absolutely fine.

MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 20:51:47

Yes bonsoir there's her friends mum 2 doors up, the kids are in and out of both houses regularly, and I work literally three quarters of a mile around the corner, so could be there in less than 5 minutes if needed.
I could actually get her to walk to my work to meet me and wait for half an hour for me if needs be, but it's just so unnecessary when the house is closer, and I think she quite enjoys the peace from dd2 tbh lol!

handcream Fri 29-Nov-13 20:56:39

Please don't leave your house unlocked. Everyone thinks burgalaries only happen to others. Any insurance claim will be invalid.

RhondaJean Fri 29-Nov-13 21:08:08

I'm often shouted down on threads because I am uncomfortable with small children being left alone at home but I would be totally happy with this. In fact we starts doing Thr same ŵith our oldest daughter at around the same age. But yeah getting the door locked and supplying a key is a better idea than leaving it unlocked.

boodles Fri 29-Nov-13 21:44:54

We have tied my sons keys onto a string in his backpack or he would lose them (he is 13)
One hour in the evening is fine.

monicalewinski Fri 29-Nov-13 22:29:07

I've attached a key to the inside pocket of my 11 yr old's schoolbag, it never comes off (he loses everything and hasn't lost it yet).

YANBU apart from the unlocked house (but you've already read that several times now grin.

Nerfmother Fri 29-Nov-13 22:31:04

Sorry, vanished to the amazon thread! Yes, really what was said and so I don't because I don't want the hassle of a potential referral NOT because I agree iyswim?
Apparently risks of walking home alone are much much less than risks of being home alone.

Caitlin17 Fri 29-Nov-13 22:35:55

And a spare key with a reliable neighbour just in case she does somehow lose or forget it.

jellybeans Fri 29-Nov-13 22:40:12

I personally wouldn't do it at that age but each to their own. Would also worry re the leaving doors unlocked.

Longdistance Fri 29-Nov-13 22:46:02

Go get her a key cut at Timpsons, and let her choose a key ring.

My mum worked, and both me and my db had keys to the house with key rings. We never once list them. We were 11 and 13 at the time.

WorraLiberty Fri 29-Nov-13 22:46:40

I would have no problem with this at all as your child seems fine with it.

Apart from you leaving the door unlocked, because you don't know what she might possibly be walking into.

But I see you're going to give her a key and I second what Caitlin says about leaving a spare key with a neighbour.

Whocanfixitnow Fri 29-Nov-13 22:48:13

Isn't there a recommended age from the nspcc re leaving children home alone? I think 11 at secondary is fine but wouldn't do it at primary , but then we live in the middle of the countryside

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 29-Nov-13 22:53:54

Depending on the 11yr old, I would be fine with this. Ds1 is 11 and started yr7 in Sept. He gets the bus - he has a mobile phone and I'm always home to let him in. We'll get him his own key if/when he needs it.

I would say your dd needs a phone and her own key - then I'd be fine with it smile

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 29-Nov-13 22:54:46

*I'll just add I wouldn't be happy for her coming home to an unlocked house - she should have a key.

Abra1d Fri 29-Nov-13 22:57:17

YANBU.

candycoatedwaterdrops Sat 30-Nov-13 11:33:21

Social services would not be interested in you leaving your 11 year old for one hour once a week. Sometimes I think these safeguarding courses do more harm than good if people are being told crap like that!

WidowWadman Sat 30-Nov-13 11:36:36

What is it with not allowing children to answer the phone? Will some sprite come through the line and grab them? If worried about answering door, use one of these chain things which stops the door from being opened more than a bit.

11 is old enough to have a key.

Bonsoir Sat 30-Nov-13 11:44:17

WidowWadman - here in Paris parents are advised to tell children not to answer the home telephone when alone at home because there are problems with break-ins when there are no adults around. I know teens who have been bound and gagged at knife point while the apartment has been robbed of technology.

TeacupDrama Sat 30-Nov-13 12:03:34

SS would not be remotely interested unless other much bigger issues

whatever5 Sat 30-Nov-13 12:34:13

I would say that it is fine except that if you don't feel she can be trusted with a key, you shouldn't trust her to look after herself for an hour. I don't know where you live but I'm not surprised the teacher is concerned if your dd has told her that she goes home to an unlocked house. I wouldn't hide the key anywhere either unless there is no chance that someone could see her collecting it.

Rufus44 Sat 30-Nov-13 12:38:53

YANBU

I would give her a key though, as others have said anyone could be in the house

NigellasLeftNostril Sat 30-Nov-13 12:39:21

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
be careful then, the school's next step could well be to call SS with their concerns.
and BTW you can be found guilty of neglect if anything happens.
just saying.

NigellasLeftNostril Sat 30-Nov-13 12:39:57

and yes they would be interested, teacupdrama

ll31 Sat 30-Nov-13 12:40:07

You're not fostering too much independence if you're showing her you don't trust her with a key.
Plus it seems crazy to leave door open. Think that is completely mad. Give her a key

MammaTJ Sat 30-Nov-13 12:52:51

I started leaving DD1 at home for half an hour while we nipped to the shops, then gradually for longer.

Not sure I will do the same with DD2 though.

I would say your DD is certainly old enough at 12 though.

Nigellas, stop with the 'child snatcher' scenario!

OP, how did you feel the conversation went with the teacher? Did you feel they were still concerned, or reassured by the chat?

whatever5 Sat 30-Nov-13 12:55:57

As others have said, whether it's okay to leave an 11 year old home alone for an hour depends on the maturity of the child. You have said that she is quite mature for her age but maybe her teachers think otherwise. The fact that you don't trust her with a key at the age of 11 suggests that she isn't as mature for her age as you think.

Rubybrazilianwax Sat 30-Nov-13 12:56:31

Key on one of those telephone cord key rings. Sew onto inside pocket of blazer or front pocket of school bag. My ds (11) is very prone to losing things but this way I know he won't lose his key.
I wouldnt worry about her being left alone but would worry about leaving house open. We live in a very safe area, one crime every 3 years type place! But you still just don't know who is about

NigellasLeftNostril Sat 30-Nov-13 12:56:48

mamma what 'child snatcher' scenario? confused
i was just saying that social services would be interested, not what I think about children home alone - everyone has to make their own choices based on their own child and circs - who would I be to judge?

I was saying on a different thread recently that SS came down on me like the proverbial bricks when I left two 10 or 11 year olds (cannot recall exactly) alone, as a one off, for approx one hour. I think other parents should be warned.

MyBachisworsethanmybite Sat 30-Nov-13 13:04:32

Definitely agree about giving her a key.

It doesn't preclude burglary, though. When I was 12 I came home from school at the end of term to an empty house which had been burgled in the morning.

I think my mum made record time home from work that day when I phoned her. She sent me to wait at a friend's and got the next door neighbour to take their Very Large Dog all through the house before calling the police.

The issue we've had with answering the phone is scam callers - the sort who call to tell your PC have been infected with a virus. DS is bright enough to know that they're scammers but a couple of times they were really rude and he was quite shaken.

He has a mobile - problem solved.

whatever5 Sat 30-Nov-13 13:20:12

We have phones with "caller display" so dd knows whether me, her father or grandparents are calling. Otherwise she doesn't answer the phone. She also has a mobile but I like to be able to contact her via landline as well as it's more reliable than a mobile (sound is not always on her mobile, reception is not always good etc.

MinesAPintOfTea Sat 30-Nov-13 13:22:19

MyBach what giving her a key precludes is the burglar being able to get in and neatly close the door behind themself without anything looking untoward. She's far more likely to notice (and go to a friend/elderly neighbour instead) if the door has been forced etc. than if someone just walked in through an unlocked door.

Orangeychoc Sat 30-Nov-13 13:26:35

The only thing which would worry me is her walking into an unlocked house with anyone potentially inside. I assume she can lock the door from the inside when she's in?

Oblomov Sat 30-Nov-13 13:46:01

Nigella' spots re SS came down hard on her:
See, you think you are doing the right thing, encouraging independence. Then you are told not to.
How are you supposed to know what to do?

MyBachisworsethanmybite Sat 30-Nov-13 14:44:28

Minesapint - no. True. Though I was home about half an hour before I noticed anything was wrong. The smashed windows weren't in rooms I went in first.

The silver cutlery canteens were out but I thought that someone must have used them for some reason.

MammaTJ Sat 30-Nov-13 15:01:50

I was saying on a different thread recently that SS came down on me like the proverbial bricks when I left two 10 or 11 year olds (cannot recall exactly) alone, as a one off, for approx one hour. I think other parents should be warned.

Nigella, please explain.

MissMalteser Sat 30-Nov-13 15:15:46

I am not worried about a call from social services tbh, though I will be sorry they have wasted their time of course, as stated before I am very comfortable with the situation and the only thing that will be changing is I have got her a key cut that attaches to her bag
I completely disagree with the posters who said if she can't be trusted with a key she can't be trusted home alone, she has a habit of tidying things away and never finding them again, but this does not mean she is incapable in other aspects of her life, I am also her mother and know her strengths and weaknesses and I know that if I had any doubt at all she wasn't ready for it then she qould go to her grans the way she does another 2 days a week
How on earth are we meant to encourage independence then if we can't use our own common sense and build these small steps into their everyday lives?

PopiusTartius Sat 30-Nov-13 15:29:05

"I will be sorry they have wasted their time of course, as stated before I am very comfortable with the situation"

Yes, because parental comfort is the bar for Social Services decision making.

MissMalteser Sat 30-Nov-13 15:34:20

Sorry mammatj I missed your question, well I got the sense I said all the right things, if that's the way to put it, I thanked her for the option of the after school club but explained our reasoning for doing it this way was not due to lack of childcare but to encourage independence, I assured her dd1 has emergency numbers at hand, and that I work very close to home and can be there in minutes if needed, but I probably did also come across as very incredulous

MissMalteser Sat 30-Nov-13 15:39:47

Popius... I think you have misread how I intended this to come across, I was stating ss will have wasted their time DUE to me being comfortable with the situation, and i have no intention of changing it, not that they would be coming out so assess how comfortable i am with it hmm

PopiusTartius Sat 30-Nov-13 16:48:23

My point is that you are completely misunderstanding how SS work. It doesn't matter whether you are comfortable with it. What matters is the hell they can make your life if THEY are not comfortable with it.

And whilst I don't personally have a problem with what you are doing, it seems the school might. And other posters on this thread have said that SS might well be interested.

DeWe Sat 30-Nov-13 16:55:48

I would give her the key, if only because I hate walking into our house unlocked. Dh has an awful habit of forgetting to lock the door, and I loathe coming bakc and finding it's unlocked. I have the creepy, what if there's someone upstairs feeling until I've checked. We're in a low crime rate area (one of the lowest) and I still feel that way.

MissMalteser Sat 30-Nov-13 17:48:41

Popius, what on earth leads you to believe I am misunderstanding how ss work? the decision I have made is not illegal, is completely within the guidelines given by nspcc, and given there are no other issues for concern I am pretty sure ss have other more important cases they could be looking at, but hey, let's not let that little fact stand in the way of a good ss witch hunt hmm

Ragwort Sat 30-Nov-13 17:57:30

Popius do you really think SS would get involved? I have now mentioned this on 2 different threads but got no response grin - I became aware of a possible safe guarding problem recently (young child being in the sole care of an alcoholic relative) - I contacted SS and they told me 'there was insufficient evidence and they would not investigate' hmm. I find that incredible when there is so much in the press about society 'turning a blind eye' to these sorts of situations.

You keep reading on mumsnet about the 'threat' of SS involvement but where I live we could do with a bit more support from SS. The person I spoke to sounded like a bored teenager - when I asked to speak to someone senior she went away & then came back to say it wasn't possible. I have now raised this incident with a different agency & hope it gets followed through.

candycoatedwaterdrops Sat 30-Nov-13 18:03:58

Those who think you will be visited by SS and had 'your life made hell' for this are really deluded or seriously biased due to their own (SN aside) is not at risk of significant harm if they are left home alone for 1 hour. hmm Unless you are leaving out other details such as; you live in a brothel. wink

mirry2 Sat 30-Nov-13 18:07:25

Amazing how precious we've all become about children being home alone while having no problem (I assume) if they go out to play in the park or communal areas.

Snog Sat 30-Nov-13 18:09:23

Give her a key and a plan for if she loses it.
Provided your dd is safe and feels comfortable with being left alone there is no problem here imo.

Madmammy83 Sat 30-Nov-13 18:12:06

How many people have sat on a laptop in one room while their 11 year old (or younger) is alone in another room for more than a few hours? Worth thinking about.

Personally I think 11 would be too young for my son but you know your own child and you know if they're responsible enough to be left. Definitely get a key though. Also, just curious as to how her teacher actually found out? She's not afraid on her own or anything is she?

gettingeasiernow Sat 30-Nov-13 18:16:09

If you think the child is mature enough, it's absolutely fine. It's far safer to be home than in communal parks etc. I tell mine he can't go in the kitchen (my irrational fear is that he would knock into the cooker and turn the gas on by accident), and leave water and a snack out.

MissMalteser Sat 30-Nov-13 18:18:18

Madmammy her teacher overheard her telling her friends she had to go straight home from school as I would worry if she didn't answer the phone when it rang, she is not uncomfortable at all, she enjoys the peace and quiet smile

I think this is fine at 11, if she is generally sensible.

From age 8 upwards if I was off school ill, my parents had to go to work so they would leave me at home in front of the TV all morning, pop home at lunchtime, then I was alone again til 3.45/4ish.

I do remember on one occasion the headteacher phoning home (about something else) and I had to say my mum had just nipped to the shop, then ring her at work so she could ring him back! So they must have felt that others may frown on this tactic. I was always fine though as I was very sensible.

birdmomma Sat 30-Nov-13 19:00:58

This is completely fine. I used to work as a social worker in the UK, and they would have zero interest in this as a child protection issue. It is laughable to think of this as something SS would be interested in.

greenfolder Sat 30-Nov-13 19:01:45

We live in an area with middle schools. So they move for year 5, when they are 9. My elder dd used to walk to after school club at her old lower school, but this was further from home. And if she was late all they could do was ring me. So I just let her go home and I would get in at 5. A fair few parents did this (it would depend on the child)

NigellasLeftNostril Sun 01-Dec-13 13:07:10

It is laughable to think of this as something SS would be interested in no it is not, when I left my 10 or 11 year old twins home alone, for about an hour, v much a 'one off' somebody from the school phoned for me and when they heard i was out they phoned SS.
I then received a letter from them, had a v nasty and judgemental phonecall, and was sent a leaflet on neglect.
that was Brighton and Hove SS if anyone is interested.
Be warned.

NigellasLeftNostril Sun 01-Dec-13 13:09:09

and from what OP has said, the school are already aware. she should tread carefully.

lilyaldrin Sun 01-Dec-13 13:15:31

Sending you a leaflet is hardly threatening to take your kids, is it?

I think some posters must have very underworked SS departments where they live. I have some contact with SWs due to my work and the challenge is usually getting them to take action! The thresholds for child protection are a lot higher than most people would expect.

NigellasLeftNostril Sun 01-Dec-13 13:17:43

well no of course not, but still.....once they are aware of you it is not good. And yes there are underworked SS departments out there, where we live now SS are un-fucking-believable - their child protection thresholds are a lot lower than people would expect.

mumtobealloveragain Sun 01-Dec-13 13:33:46

OP. As long as your DS is happy being left, knows the rules, is trusted and sensible enough to stick to them and to use the "fallback" arrangements if anything happens ( she gets scared, locks herself out etc) then you're doing nothing wrong!

I'd also be a bit miffed about the teacher taking her out of class to discuss it!

Trashcanjunkie- It's absolutely not the same as you leaving a 6/7 yr old home alone for 15-20mins. No wonder there was a SS referral! Totally irresponsible. At that he fostering independence in them should be keeping their rooms tidy, learning how to safely cross the road for the future etc. Not being left home alone without an adult. A 6/7 yr old even a very mature one is far too young!

MissMalteser Sun 01-Dec-13 13:55:13

I am treading carefully nigella, this is a very recent and considered move since dd turned 11, and I don't mind at all if ss become aware.
I am happy to explain the measures I have taken to make sure she feels comfortable and secure, and I am fostering independence, I am sorry you have had a bad experience with ss before, however as stated above I am working within recommend guidelines and I feel you may be projecting slightly, dd is not 'ten or eleven' she is eleven, and has not been left alone as a one off, but as part of a routine that she is fully prepared for, it is a different situation to the one you encountered and therefore can't be compared to the outcome you had

NigellasLeftNostril Sun 01-Dec-13 13:57:47

i am not 'projecting' I am trying to warn you.

IloveJudgeJudy Sun 01-Dec-13 13:58:09

I think it's perfectly fine. YANBU. I would just like to add my experience to the mix. When DC were in Y5, I allowed them to walk home alone. There were always other friends, or for DS1 I was walking the other DC home, anyway. DD and DS2 had a different teacher, who was really not happy that I was not at the school to pick them up. I was very happy with it as there were always people around, in particular, friends who were walking the exact same way home with their DC, or I was walking their DC home. I think sometimes teachers get a bit concerned when they don't need to be.

rubbish mumtobe I had an excellent conversation with ss when I spoke to them. The complaint was made by my abusive ex, so ss were obliged to make contact with me. I told them exactly what I was doing and why, and they agreed I was doing a fantastic job raising my twins and well within my rights as a responsible parent to leave them for short periods. I had already done this with my elder dc. I have also had child protection training so am completely aware of the law on this issue.

NigellasLeftNostril Sun 01-Dec-13 13:59:46

all situations are different, the one you have outlined with the teacher phoning you and you leaving an empty unlocked house for your daughter to return to, sounds v v close to ss involvement. And they will not care how smug or middle class you are.

bigbrick Sun 01-Dec-13 14:00:36

Would your house insurance be invalid if the door was left unlocked knowingly when no one was at home?

AmberLeaf Sun 01-Dec-13 14:13:44

I know that some people have commented on this aspect of it already, but seriously, do you not see what a monumentally stupid and dangerous thing it is to leave your home unlocked for several hours, then have your 11 yr old daughter come home alone?

I just can't believe any parent could be so lax with their childs safety, never mind the issue of your house being burgled.

Did your daughter tell her teacher about that aspect of this situation?

MissMalteser Sun 01-Dec-13 14:14:09

Let's not resort to insults please hmm
I am neither smug nor particularly middle class, I am a parent trying to do what is best for their child, I have taken advice on this thread and have had a key cut so she will no longer be coming home to an unlocked house, which you would know if you had taken the info given by me in previous posts, and your 'warning' in regards to ss involvement carry no weight as I AM WORKING WITHIN RECOMMENDED GUIDELINES
Bigbrick indeed it might have been but although it was a very small risk as I left the house at 2:30 and dd was home an hour later, I have taken on board the more sensible option of getting a key cut

AmberLeaf Sun 01-Dec-13 14:14:34

bigbrick, yes leaving an empty house unlocked would invalidate house insurance.

NigellasLeftNostril Sun 01-Dec-13 14:18:25

your 'warning' in regards to ss involvement carry no weight - keep telling yourself that even though her teacher has phoned you and quizzed your daughter.
Sorry but you do sound a bit smug.

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

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

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

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

And you sound paranoid

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?

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.

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.

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

No amberleaf that comment was not to you

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.

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

Ok, yes that makes sense on reading back.

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

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

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

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

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!

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 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.

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.

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?

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

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.

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

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