Are my DC's too young to be home alone for two hours after school each day?

(13 Posts)
NotMostPeople Wed 30-Jan-13 12:27:16

I'm a SAHM, but have been looking around for a while for a job as my dc's are getting older. I have applied for a term time job that would suit me, but would mean that I'd get home two hours after the end of the school day. DC1 is 14 and gets home at 4.30, DC2 is 11, DC3 is 10 their school finishes at 3.30 and is a few hundred yards from home.

Next year DC2 will be at the same school as DC1 so from September the older two will both get home at 4.30 or they could stay at the school library to do homework and be collected on the way back by me as it's near to the job.

There is a privately run after school club at the primary school, however DC2 is adamant that she doesn't want to go. Do you think that the younger two could go home alone? There'd be an hour before DC1 (14) gets home and then a further hour/ forty five minutes before I'd get back.

Or should I take no notice of DC2 and send the younger two to the after school club? I suspect DC3 would tire of this after a while too.

All three are super sensible and I do leave them for short periods. We've recently started going out locally in the evening and leaving DC1 to babysit and I do leave the younger two for up to an hour alone.

What do you say?

shrimponastick Wed 30-Jan-13 12:30:33

I would say that they would be fine. Are there any neighbours who they could go to in an emergency? Or any family living relatively nearby?

Get some practice beforehand - and go over the 'what if' scenarios.

have they got mobiles?

Gotta learn sometime how to be independant smile

Tolly81 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:35:16

I'm pretty sure the legal position is that there should be someone of at least 14 years or over in the house at all times. I have absolutely no doubt that they are all super sensible but consider that serious burglars watch houses - if they see that there are children on their own in the house all they have to do is knock on the front door and push their way in. How would you deal with security issues like this? Similarly in the winter months what would you do if a perv started following them home from school? I'm not saying don't do it but bad things can happen so you need to have them absolutely prepared. Is it safer to tell them not to answer the door? Do they know the neighbours? Is there somewhere else they could go if they're worried they're in danger/being followed?

RillaBlythe Wed 30-Jan-13 12:42:52

Not too young in my book.

LIZS Wed 30-Jan-13 12:48:50

There is no legal position other than your judgement that they are not at risk. A 15yo looking after siblings seems perfectly fine but would he always be there ?

FadBook Wed 30-Jan-13 12:49:57

Once I started high school (11) my "gift" was a key to the house grin

Same as you, I was back at 3.40 and my DM home by 5.10 as I got older I was expected to start dinner angry

I knew never to open the door, not even to the milkman, cold callers or gas/electric unless pre booked. There was also a spare key with our elderly neighbour in case I forgot mine which happened a lot DM would also call around 4pm to check I was ok.

It's doable if you plan the type of scenarios that might happen, like the pp said.

Kamer Wed 30-Jan-13 12:51:23

I would send the younger two to after school club and leave the 14 yo on own. In September would be fine leaving the 11 and 14 year old high schoolers on own while 10 year old still goes to after school club. I have an 11 yo (y6) DS and while I do leave him on his own in house for short periods, I wouldn't be happy leaving primary school children home alone on such a regular basis. Don't think there is anything outlandish about what you are suggesting and many people would be happy about it but I know I would worry.

5madthings Wed 30-Jan-13 12:51:26

There is no legal minimum age for children to be left at home.

Providing they know who to contact/what to do in an emergency I think it should be finesmile

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Wed 30-Jan-13 13:00:34

If you already leave the younger two at home on their own for an hour or two I don't see how this is any different.

It hasn't got much to do with their ages really - it's just how sensible they are and how likely they are to argue/do stupid things.

You have several options smile

a) Send the younger two to afterschool club

b) Send DD3 to afterschool club (until she's 11) if they are prone to arguing and/or being daft together

c) Send them to afterschool club 3 nights a week and let them come home two nights a week.

d) Let them both come home on the understanding that if there is any messing about/arguing/whatever that they will both go to the afterschool club.

We used to go to a womans house afterschool at that age, but once a week one of my siblings had an afterschool activity so we were allowed to come home that night, then go out to that and Dad would pick us up from there. I wished we could do it every night, but in hindsight, it was probably just as well we didn't... BUT I was 10 and my siblings were all younger - so not quite the same.

Also I would only do this if you are happy for your older DD not to come home some nights (speaking from experience!!) it makes for some shitty teenage years when you have to go straight home from school every night to mind younger siblings and can't go out, go to friends etc. I wouldn't put my kids in that situation - I hated it and felt I really missed out on stuff/friends.

NotMostPeople Wed 30-Jan-13 14:46:38

We have been through all the possible scenarios with them many times, otherwise I would never leave them even for a few minutes. At the moment the rules are not to open the door (unless family), not to tell anyone on the phone that they're alone unless it's family and they know more about what to do in a fire than I do. We also have a friend next door who they could go to if they were worried about anything.

It didn't cross my mind that they could go to the after school club a few days a week home alone some days, that would be a good way of gauging how well both options work out.

Sometimes I wish there was a legal minimum age to be left, it would make all these decisions a lot easier.

PearlyWhites Wed 30-Jan-13 14:53:45

I would say they were old enough , I left my 10 year old on her own after school for 45 minutes. All children are different though, I doubt I will leave my now 8 year old when she is 10 as she is very young for her age.

2kidsintow Thu 31-Jan-13 21:29:00

Separately, my 2 DDs are sensible and trustworthy girls.
I would trust either in my house on their own.

But together they would kill each other within about half an hour - or have so much fun playing boisterously that it would end in tears.

NotSoNervous Thu 31-Jan-13 21:31:35

IMO the older two would be fine but not leaving DC3 alone in the house

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