What do secondary (Y7) kids do after school?

(31 Posts)
Vicky13 Mon 15-Oct-12 21:33:00

Sorry for the silly question, but I really don't know. Can 11 yr olds be on their own after school for up to 2.5 hrs?

I have a daughter currently in Y6. She is now at after school club 2 days a week and I work at home the other 3 days but my boss has asked me to work full time in the office from next September. She is assuming that then all my childcare worries will be over.

Can't help thinking though that DD at 11 will still be too young to be home until 6pm on her own.

What do secondary kids do age 11 when parents are at work? None of my friends are in that position - all either work PT or don't work. I know there won't be an after school club at secondary.

I'm worried if it's 5 days a week she'll find it lonely / boring / scary being at home all that time. She's fairly sensible but still at 11 what if she loses her key, hurts herself, has someone knocking on the door and doesn't know how to deal with it. I'm worried I'm going to be a nervous wreck.

Is it normal for Y7 kids to walk themselves home and be in on their own? If not how do you get childcare?

sandyballs Mon 15-Oct-12 21:38:43

My DDs started year 7 in sept. slightly diff for me as there are two of them but I do feel that year 7 is young to left alone for hours, esp with the clocks changing soon and darker evenings. We let them come home to an empty house once a week, the other two days that I work MIL is there when they get in. I will gradually change this over the course of year 7 if they prove they can be trusted and don't mind.

Secondary often has loads of after school clubs and I'm encouraging mine to join, lessening the time they'll be home alone.

sandyballs Mon 15-Oct-12 21:41:06

My work have the same attitude as yours, weird isn't it. 11 is still very young and they're settling into high school etc.

titchy Mon 15-Oct-12 21:41:13

Legally she can, although if something happens you're responsible. Plenty of year 7s will be 'latch-key' kids, on their own.

Only you can decide if that's what you want though. Personally I don't - mine are on their own for up to an hour, but no more. They need to off-load, hae tea, do homework, have friends over, get taxied to variou activities. None of which woul happen without adult input.

However I am sure there will be after school clubs she could do. Most schools also have homework clubs in the library each evening which she could go to.

titchy Mon 15-Oct-12 21:44:51

Can you keep your current hours? If she does a club on the days you work she'll be in her own for.a little while, and if she proves ok maybe build up over years 8 and 9?

Vicky13 Mon 15-Oct-12 21:47:25

Thanks all. Unfortunately no parents or partner around to help out. I do plan to persuade her to join as many clubs as possible, and change her music lesson so she's there one night if I can. Just trying to plan ahead and give my boss enough warning if I can't go full time.

Don't know why but it feels harder to ask for flexible working after she changes schools. My work is approx 1hr commute along a busy stretch of motorway. I'm a long way away if she needs me.

Vicky13 Mon 15-Oct-12 21:51:24

Sorry titchy - X posted.

Yes I could keep my current hours. Would mean turning down a promotion, but I am leaning towards that at the moment. Just trying to get a feel for what my options are.

I don't want her on her own for all the reasons you said. She does a lot of after school activities and no doubt will do even more next year. Even without the leaving her alone issue, it's going to be hard to fit everything in if I'm that late home every day.

bigTillyMint Mon 15-Oct-12 21:53:32

When DD was in Y7, I was at home 2 afternoons a week and then back around the same time as her on the other nights. However sometimes she would be in for up to an hour before I got in - she was absolutely fine smile

One of her BF's was "home-alone" most nights till about 6pm and seemed to love it!

Could you see if there's an older child - 6thformer maybe who would come home with her and supervise until you get back? Or someone who would supervise/clean for a couple of hours?

bigTillyMint Mon 15-Oct-12 21:54:56

My main issue is the DC wanting to be picked up after their sports clubs/matches as the trip home involves a bit of a trek - hopefully you wouldn't have to do that?

LynetteScavo England Mon 15-Oct-12 21:55:05

What is she going to do in the school holidays? Personally I would find a CM for her to walk to after school and for some of the school holidays.

DS is in Y9 and I'm only now comfortable with him coming home with me not here.

pointyfangs Mon 15-Oct-12 22:05:56

After school clubs in our area have an age limit of 12, so we have taken DD out to get her used to it. She comes home to our house with a friend who lives nearby, DD2 (age 9, Yr5) is also there.

We're lucky in that DH gets home about 4.30 so they are not alone for as long, I would not be comfortable with waiting until y6 and I understand your anxiety.

However, DD1 does find independence liberating and she has a club every single day, so in practice is home at the same time as DH. DD2 has also joined two after school clubs. Neither of them ever walk home alone after club, their friends who walk home with them go to the same clubs and club attendance is negotiated among the DCs and the parents to make sure this happens.

There is a silver lining to this IMO - DD1 is at the age where doing sports becomes 'uncool' - but she has chosen all sports clubs, which I think is great and I am making my approval very plain. She has now been chosen for the Yr 7-8 netball team smile as well, so that's really positive. DD2 is doing athletics and ICT club.

I don't think the coming home to an empty house is so much the issue as how long they are going to be alone at that age. It's a difficult one.

dollybird Mon 15-Oct-12 22:10:34

DS is in year 6 and has just started walking home with his friend who lives on the same estate two nights a week. He is only home for half an hour though and he's happy with that but don't think he would like it to be any longer! i have DD aswell who is in year 5 but I wouldn't trust them to be at home together for that long just yet - he enjoys the independence from his sister anyway.

mummytime Belgium Mon 15-Oct-12 22:19:27

My DCs school has a homework club in the library each evening until 5pm. Or if you can speak to her on the phone when she gets in you might both feel happier.

marriedinwhite Mon 15-Oct-12 22:32:52

Ours are 17 and 14 now. I think your dd will need you the first term or two of secondary. Even if you can't get back at 4 every night can you have a flexible working arrangement for the first two terms where perhaps you pay for childcare from about 4.30 - 7.30ish so you can work a couple of long nights and work a couple of shorter ones. I'm sure there will be at least one after school club which will mean a 5.30 return home once a week. By about the end of Feb the nights will be drawing out again, she will feel more settled and you will both have a better routine.

I know this sounds awful, but if you chose a school with a bit of a journey she will spend even less time at home on her own.

Our Dd did need me in Yr7 and she had a big brother. It is a big step for them - although dd was very unhappy until we moved schools at the end of Y8. However, even in Y8 she was doing some activities a couple of evenings each week and grew up a huge amount in that first year. By the time she was in Year 9 she was doing activities that meant she wasn't home until 7.30 three evenings a week. In Yr 10 she's still doing those activities and often will drop into a friends or have a friend here for an hour or so if she's home straight from school

bigTillyMint Tue 16-Oct-12 06:24:14

pointyfangs when does doing sport become uncool???shock It is the cool kids that do sport in my DC's experience!
And well done to your DD for getting in the netball teamsmile

Yes, yes to speaking on the phone - I forgot to say that when DS was first in Y6 and was coming home at 3.30, he had to ring me when he got in. By the spring-time we had stopped that as he went to the park with his mates till well after I got backgrin

married, how did your DD fit in her homework if she got in at 7.30 3 nights? DD was in a bit of a panic last night after getting back from a friends at 6.30 and realising she has footy training tonight, match Wednesday (both home about 5.30 though), babysitting Thursday and gym Friday!

Vicky13 Tue 16-Oct-12 09:49:08

Thanks to everyone for the info. I'm sure plenty of kids must do it, but I think I will do all I can to avoid for at least the first year if not 2. School she is going to is a split site with the Y7 & 8 kids in the next village. It's a good 40 min walk including a stretch across open fields and an industrial estate.

The local kids seem to get together in groups of 4 or 5 to walk together so encouraging her to go to after school activities might mean her being on her own and in midwinter it would be after dark. There's no way she'll be able to walk that on her own even in Y8.

By Y9 school is much more local, she will be old enough to be on her own after school, and I'll be much more relaxed. A child minder is an option (although she'll hate it!)

I guess I've got quite a few months to think about it.

Lynette - her school holidays are very busy and likely to stay that way. She spends a fortnight with her dad and his family on holiday, a week or two on hols with me, and both her grandmas always want her to stay. Plus at the moment I can work my days off as often as I like and take time back in school hols so I do almost termtime working (except for when she's away with dad / grans). Another reason to stick to the hours I'm doing now!

Madmog Tue 16-Oct-12 10:58:37

Personally I wouldn't be happy leaving her that long on a regular basis. I left my daughter on her own recently for nearly two hours (the first time) and I didn't feel comfortable with it, even though my neighbour was an standby in case of any problems and I was 5 mins away at work.

If you do have to increase your hours, I would suggest you leave it until October. My daughter's new school emphasized it's a good idea to return to during their first few weeks - my daughter is in Year 7 and I can see why. She's very chatty about her day and can't wait to tell me about it, and we've had to spend time working out the homework system, making sure everything is up together and going through things to remind her to do the next day (they have a lot of new things to think about and don't always know where to do to find the answer in school) etc. Just found out a friend's son is totally the opposite, he's shutting himself in the bedroom for a couple of hours on return - obviously somethings not right there, but at least she is in the house and can give time towards being supportive.

Blu Tue 16-Oct-12 11:26:06

I would leave increasing your hours until after the easter of her first year, if i were you, and if possible.

By then, she will have stablished a schedule of after-school clubs to go to - in DS's secondary there is a variety of clubs every night, in addition to the fallback Homework Club. She will also know whch of her friends attend after school clubs and can arrange to walk home with them afterwards, and by then the nights will be getting lighter again.

Can you work f/t but compress your hours and take short lunch breaks, or start earlier? I do agree, I am not comfortable leaving my summer born 11 yo Yr 7 DS for longer than about half an hour after school.

Vicky13 Tue 16-Oct-12 11:54:15

Yes Blu

I have been thinking of starting early and maybe just asking for slightly reduced hrs eg a 6.5hr day instead of 7. That way I could work 8.30 - 3.30.

That would mean leaving the house at 7.30 so she'd have to get herself out the door and lock up, and I'd be home for 4.30 so she'd be at home for just a few mins on her own.

I think that feels like a better option. I'd still be around long enough to check she'd eaten some breakfast but she'd have to take a bit of responsibility for remembering her own things etc. Probably wouldn't do her any harm! they all meet up for about 8.00 ready to walk to school anyway so it wouldn't be that long.

Thanks for all your help. I've got a meeting later in the week to discuss the new role so it will be good to go in armed with a plan!

x

MoreBeta Tue 16-Oct-12 12:03:10

Yr 7 seems to be the age around here that working parents basically decide they can drop the cost of childcare as their children don't need looking after as much. As a consequence, I see a lot of children hanging around in the streets or in McDonalds after school waiting for their parents to come home.

We chose DSs school partly because it runs a homework club, activity clubs, sports clubs after school until 5.30 and that is where ours stay until we can pick them up. If school did not have that we would not have sent them there. I don't want our children doing that.

DW spoke to another working parent this morning and she said she does not want her Yr 7 - 9 DDs hanging about in town either so we are not alone.

Blu Tue 16-Oct-12 12:06:22

DS secondary is open for breakfast, too - I thnk they can go into the library form 8am. Some go in early and have a bacon butty!

Have a look at the website fro the school she is likely to go to and see if it lists all the clubs and activities before and after school, you may find it helps you.

I work part time. For half the week he lets himself into the house and is on his own from about 3.15 to 5. He is yr 7 and 12. I gave it a trial run as i was worried and he is absolutley fine.

My dd still goes to the childminder - she is yr5.

Are there any after school clubs available - they do a few at his school which would mean less time on her own.

Pourquoimoi Tue 16-Oct-12 12:12:53

Your latest plan sounds very sensible.
DS1 has just started y7 and comes in on his own occasionally but not regularly.
I am lucky in that I work for myself and mainly from home so can arrange things around the kids. Both DSs used to go to the childminder one day a week just to give me a longer day an DS2 (8) still does that, but if I'm out that day DS1 comes in in his own and quite likes that. His school is 2.5mile walk though so he doesn't get in until about 4 and DS2 has to be picked up by 5.30 so it's only for an hour or so.
I agree that y7s need their mums around to share stuff with, it's a big change.
Good luck!

pointyfangs Tue 16-Oct-12 18:32:04

I definitely would not want my DCs hanging around in town! On days they have no clubs, they are expected to go straight home, and because DH comes home so early we can keep tabs on that.
Tilly I'm glad to hear that it's different at your DCs' school, but it's common for girls in their teens to disengage from sport. It certainly happened at my school, where it was social death to admit you enjoyed PE. I was a social zombie, obviously grin.

marriedinwhite Tue 16-Oct-12 19:35:53

The homework gets fitted in because on one activity night the activity starts at 5.30 and she can use the library from 3.30-5.30; and because homework is usually set several days before it's due she can get on with it to keep in light or non existent on the late nights. Lucky that she doesn't procrastinate and is quite organised. Also not many of them are on the bus for the last 20 minutes and she tends to do half her maths or learn her verbs during that time.

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