Sensible 9 year old in the house on their own for ten minutes

(45 Posts)
bonjourno Tue 18-Feb-14 09:04:03

Would this be reckless or overcautious?! We live in a small village but have neighbours either side and are about 100 yeards away from the shop, who know DS. I often pop to the shop for milk while he is in the house on his own (or send him). It is three doors down with no roads to cross. He is deparate for me to leave him for ten minutes or so while I give the dogs a quick run after work/after school club, in the playing field at the end of our road. He is drilled on not to anwer phone and door, what to do if something catches fire, and has practised ringing my mobile from the landline. All he would do is play on minecraft, so would not be trying to cook stuff or anything. He is 9 and a reasonably sensible only child. If I try this will someone report me to SS?!

uberalice Tue 18-Feb-14 09:05:32

Sounds OK to me.

bonjourno Tue 18-Feb-14 09:07:44

It would only be in daylight as well, he doesn't want me to do it in the evening when it is dark.

NoIamAngelaHernandez Tue 18-Feb-14 09:12:00

Sounds fine to me too.

wonkylegs Tue 18-Feb-14 09:13:18

Fine with me.

drivenfromdistraction Tue 18-Feb-14 09:21:58

I think that's fine. You've got to start sometime, and this sort of small, phased increase in independence is important.

He needs to know what to do if you didn't come back (in, say, half an hour) too.

MrsBodger Tue 18-Feb-14 09:26:06

Yes, but maybe just make extra sure he understands the rules.

I came home to find 'sensible' DD2 (age 11? 12?) had answered the door to the postman. 'But if I hadn't answered the door he wouldn't have been able to deliver the parcel . . .'

Good grief.

Katisha Tue 18-Feb-14 09:26:11

If he's on minecraft he will hardly realise you've gone! Anyway yes, I would say its fine.

Yes its fine, i did the same, i was more worried about what would happen if i was knocked over by a car and didnt come home, than what the kids would be up to, make sure he knows what to do if you dont come home.

NickNacks Tue 18-Feb-14 09:32:31

I think the biggest gauge of 'is this ok?' Is if the child themselves is ok and happy with it.

We started leaving our ds1 at 9.

Indith Tue 18-Feb-14 09:39:11

I've been leaving my 5 year old for 5/10 mins while I take her brother to Beavers since she was 4. Similar set up, small village, kids all used to playing out on their own anyway, village hall where Beavers is within spitting distance and just over our side street not the main road (which the children know they are not allowed to cross themselves).

muminthecity Tue 18-Feb-14 09:43:47

Sounds fine to me. I leave my 8 year old for longer than 10 minutes sometimes, and we don't live in a village, we are in London!

bonjourno Tue 18-Feb-14 09:48:19

Brilliant, thank you everyone. I was talking about it to a GP at work and she was incredibly sniffy about, and I wondered if I had got it wrong! DS is really keen for me to do it, I wouldnt do it otherwise.

Martorana Tue 18-Feb-14 09:48:33

Yes of course. And a 12 year old should answer the door to the postman too, for heaven's sake. Mad ax murderers don 't usually knock!

This sounds OK to me, especially as you have prepared him and explained what to do in various scenarios.

AtiaoftheJulii Tue 18-Feb-14 09:56:32

That's pretty much when and how I started leaving mine. It's a short enough time that if you were worried you could not necessarily talk on the phone the whole time, but you could keep an open phone line so you could hear what was going on! I haven't done that though.

Indith Tue 18-Feb-14 09:58:45

Mine are currently 7, 5 and 23 months. They have answered the door to the postman plenty of times! I'll come out of the shower or something and find that they have taken in a parcel grin.

Biscuitsneeded Tue 18-Feb-14 10:01:16

Yes, fine. I leave my 8 year-old while his brother and I cycle to beavers and back - about 20 mins. He's quiet happy, and if I leave him on minecraft he hasn't even moved a muscle when I get back!

tess73 Tue 18-Feb-14 10:04:05

I leave dd1 at home for short periods (max 15 mins). She is nearly 10.
She has to be upstairs.
She has the phone and knows not to answer the door or even go downstairs if the door goes.
I think it is ok. She is sensible. I mean next year she'll be getting the train to school without me. Has to start getting some independence/responsibility .

Dwerf Tue 18-Feb-14 10:05:07

I'd do it, happily leave my ten year old for ten or fifteen minutes, the twelve year old I left for the first time for a couple of hours last week. She was fine watching minecraft vids (mobiles written down, non-resident dad aware she was in on her own, door locked but she has a set of keys)

dobedobedo Tue 18-Feb-14 10:28:15

Totally fine if your child can be trusted. Ds is 9 and I leave him on his own occasionally. He has to reply to every text I send him immediately, he's only allowed to leave the room he's in for the bathroom and he isn't allowed to eat anything. That last one is probably just me being neurotic, but I'd be afraid of him choking if I wasn't there! Also obviously he isn't allowed to answer the door or phone.

exexpat Tue 18-Feb-14 10:30:33

Absolutely fine. Within a couple of years he will be expected to be out on his own to get to and from school (well, in most places anyway) so 9 is certainly not too early to start learning a bit of independence and responsibility.

Redtartanshoes Tue 18-Feb-14 10:36:53

You have left a 4 year old???!!! Seriously???!!!

Jesus. Words fail me

Indith Tue 18-Feb-14 11:08:51


Because it works for us and I am happy to do so with my child and in my circumstances taking into consideration the journey I take (a 30 second walk. Honestly, 30 seconds away), the area I live in and the potential risks. The set up is similar to the OP's which is why I mention it. I would not say "oh it is fine I leave my 4 year old" to an OP asking if it ok to leave a child at home for half an hour in an urban area while they went out in the car because that would involve completely different risks.

NigellasDealer Tue 18-Feb-14 11:09:35


devilinside Tue 18-Feb-14 12:12:31

I do, although the local gossip commented when I allowed my sensible nearly 9 year old to go to the shop on her own

uc Tue 18-Feb-14 12:22:57

Yes. My 9 year old goes to the shop with a little list for me sometimes. He also plays out with friends in the park, goes to call for friends.

Indith, I understand what you are saying. I used to leave DS, aged 5, watching TV while I went to meet other DS from a club after school, which is 100 yards away. It is nearer than the end of the garden.

I would also expect both of mine to answer the door to the postman to take in a parcel. I wouldn't expect them to answer the door to someone they had never seen before. They know this, and can understand the difference.

usuallyfoundinthefastlane Tue 18-Feb-14 12:24:01

I left my DS1 aged 9 for the first time the other day whilst I took DS2 to a club (out of the house max 15 mins). My main concern was if something happened to me and no one knew he was alone. I wrote down my mobile number and told him to only answer the landline if it was me calling (to say I was going to be late). If I wasn't home by an agreed time, he was to go to the neighbour (who we know and was definitely in). He was fine and I will start doing it more regularly.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Tue 18-Feb-14 12:39:58

I nearly passed out that my 12 year old DS had answered the door to the postman and told him he was in alone. Feeling slightly better now it wasn't the huge deal I felt it was.

cory Tue 18-Feb-14 18:05:41

Toffee, I wouldn't feel bad at all

if your ds is at secondary school, surely his day involves making his own way to school, going shopping on his own, going out with his mates- all sorts of occasions when he'd be engaging with other adults without your watchful eye?

my ds is 13

he left early this morning (halfterm) to take his girlfriend out

I'd be pretty cross if he was too lazy to make his way to the front door and take a parcel in

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Tue 18-Feb-14 18:13:28

Yes fine for 9 year old.

No way for the 4 year old!!!

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Tue 18-Feb-14 18:14:13

I was thinking safety but then it is highly unlikely the postman is going to burgle us blush.

bonjourno Tue 18-Feb-14 19:47:07

Thanks for your opinions everyone

joanofarchitrave Tue 18-Feb-14 19:50:07

Currently leaving our 10 year old for up to half an hour. He's allowed to answer anything if it's light outside.

MrsBodger Wed 19-Feb-14 07:35:32

Didn't realise about the mad ax murderer etiquette about knocking - thanks.

The thing about her answering the door to the postman was that I had told her not to answer the door. To anyone. And we often have different postmen, and I'm not sure she would have differentiated between a proper postman and a random delivery person, and if she thought it was ok to answer the door to someone she thought was the postman, who else might she think was ok?

So rather than going in for a long list of who is and is not ok, I preferred to stick to the 'just don't answer the door' thing.

But probably the OP's DS has a better understanding of basic English than my DD, so no worries.

baby0684 Wed 19-Feb-14 08:48:50

I have been thinking about this with my DD who is 8yo.
She plays out on the street with her friends. But its a cul de sac with about 50 houses on. She cannot go past the end of the green. I do keep checking where she is and what sh is doing. And if I cant see her, I worry.

We dont really live near school friends, one does live a 15 min walk away, and she would like to walk there herself. There is just 1 busy road, but with a pelican crossing. Same with closest shop.

I would like to nip to the shop in the eve when in bed. But i have a 2yo too. So maybe not!

Martorana Wed 19-Feb-14 08:52:11

No, mad ax murderers never knock.

Aliens tend to, because they've studied Earth customs so they can blend in. Apart from the long thin ones that just slither in through the letter box......grin

Sorry, MrsBodger- I didn't know that your dd doesn't speak English- that does make things a bit different. Have you got a chain on the door?

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Feb-14 08:56:25

Sounds fine to me. I'm sure my dd would be fine in that kind if set up and she's 7. And no I don't do it but I'm sure she's manage just fine if I did.

Nocomet Wed 19-Feb-14 09:04:18


Nocomet Wed 19-Feb-14 09:04:37


MrsBodger Wed 19-Feb-14 09:22:55

That's ok Martorana. She does speak English, but it seems her understanding is a bit random.

Perhaps I should try showing her a dog biscuit while talking to her. The dog gets every word when I do that.

And come to think of it, I've been leaving the dog home alone since he was a tiny puppy and he's never opened the door to anyone . . .

Martorana Wed 19-Feb-14 09:31:50

"And come to think of it, I've been leaving the dog home alone since he was a tiny puppy and he's never opened the door to anyone . . ."

Really? Ours would open the door to the great train robbers for a Bonio........

MrsBodger Wed 19-Feb-14 09:37:21


cory Wed 19-Feb-14 09:43:45

having said that, I had a knock on the door at 11.30 last night, just as I was going to bed (having both dh and ds at home to protect me I answered it, thinking it might be a neighbour who'd been taken poorly)

shifty looking old codger in a Royal Mail uniform wanted to know if his friend Daniel was there

I disclaimed any responsibility for Daniel and hinted that perhaps this was a little late to go looking for his mates in random houses

now what do you reckon, folks? alien or burglar? grin

yummystepford Wed 19-Feb-14 10:04:00

Sounds fine, at 6 I would have been out on my bike all over the place and a lot (most) of us would have had a similar childhood so try and relax.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now