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7yo often home alone in the morning, WWYD? If anything?

(589 Posts)
Hufflepuzzpig Thu 14-Jul-11 14:20:00

I genuinely don't know. Neighbour's DS (nearly 8 but acts very young for his age) always goes in the car with his mum in the evening to pick up his dad from work, and he's not allowed to stay home/on the shared front lawn on his own while his mum goes.

In the mornings though, DH has noticed the DS is never with them, so the mum comes back and then takes him to school. I guess he must still be asleep or just doesn't get dressed on time or doesn't want to go.

Is that ok at that age? I wouldn't leave a 7yo home alone, but I expect many do and I don't think it's as terrible as DH does. He is generally more paranoid/helicoptery than me though. I know it's a really subjective issue, and the age at which parents let DCs be home alone varies massively.

I'd be happy for him to just come over for that time (about 30mins) in the mornings, even if he's in his PJs, should I suggest it? We don't know the parents that well, they are lovely but very shy and his mum in particular struggles with English. I could suggest it to the DS though, he likes it here.

I guess what I'm basically asking is - is nearly-8 old enough for this to be absolutely none of my business and I (and DH!) should chill because it's fine? Or is it a bit young to be home alone even for a short time?

FebreezeYourJeans Thu 14-Jul-11 14:21:20

I'm going with absolutely none of your business grin

Insomnia11 Thu 14-Jul-11 14:24:04

I think it's fine if that's what the parents have decided to do and he's ok with it. Also you can't be sure he is actually on his own anyway.

oohjarWhatsit Thu 14-Jul-11 14:28:06

do you have your noses pressed to the window, timing her grin

Hufflepuzzpig Thu 14-Jul-11 14:31:29

Fair enough grin

I do know he is alone, nobody else lives there and you can hear/see when someone visits (tiny houses with very thin walls!). I was wondering if he even knows they've left (ie maybe he's not even woken up, and might wake up and worry) but I guess he must do as it's an everyday thing.

I shall butt out then smile

Hufflepuzzpig Thu 14-Jul-11 14:34:27

Haha not exactly oohjar, their front door is right next to the living room window (as I said, tiny houses), car goes right past etc.

Maybe it's less in the morning (not rush hour) but it is about 30min in the evenings anyway. I know because when he is at our house and he has to go my DD whines the whole time until he gets back grin

RitaMorgan Thu 14-Jul-11 14:34:28

Leave them alone - 30 minutes for an almost 8 year old who is probably still in bed is fine!

allthefires Thu 14-Jul-11 14:38:26

No it's not acceptable and a referal to childrens social care is required. Let child protection investigate the circumstances.

ImperialBlether Thu 14-Jul-11 14:40:03

Why do people think they should ignore potentially dangerous situations?

OP, I would offer to have the boy in your house, in his pyjamas if necessary. If you have noticed he's on his own for that half hour, then other, less scrupulous, people might notice too.

What's that saying about "It takes a village to raise a child"? We shouldn't live in isolation, just saying "It's none of my business" if you see something going on that shouldn't go on.

Rita, would you leave your 7 year old (who as the OP says, is young for his age) every day for half an hour? Really? Do you believe you will never crash your car? Do you have such faith in your own safety and his own well being?

Abra1d Thu 14-Jul-11 14:40:21

It's fine.

CoffeeOne Thu 14-Jul-11 14:40:48

It doesn't sound like you know for sure what the arrangements are. I do know however (professionally) that should something happen to him during that time (accident etc) the authorities would definitely take issue with a 7 year old being left home alone, so no YANBU.

coccyx Thu 14-Jul-11 14:43:41

think 30 mins is ok. Bit mean to say its none of your business. Maybe say that if he has any problems/concerns to knock on your door.

littleducks Thu 14-Jul-11 14:45:22

Perhaps you could offer to be a back up, so if she did not come home one day (like someone suggested above) he would know to come and knock on your door/phone you. Otherwise I would leave it.

MorticiaAddams Thu 14-Jul-11 14:48:21

I think 30 minutes is fine at that age. Depending on the time he's probably either in bed or getting ready for school.

I don't think you should offer to look after him but it would be nice to mention that you have noticed he is left alone and offer your house as somewhere he can come to if she is delayed or something happens.

Hufflepuzzpig Thu 14-Jul-11 14:51:11

See that's why I started the thread - it is such a divisive issue and I have no clue really, other than knowing what I personally feel iyswim? IIRC there are no actual laws about leaving DCs alone, only NSPCC guidelines? So it's not black and white, or obviously wrong (saw a thread recently about an 18mo being left alone)

I like the idea of being a back up, and making it clear he's welcome to pop over if he doesn't want to be on his own.

allthefires Thu 14-Jul-11 14:52:10

No wonder there are so many serious case reviews- I'm disgusted the consents it's okay.

It not and that my opinion as a professional and as a parent.

allthefires Thu 14-Jul-11 14:53:17

Consensus not contents.

littleducks Thu 14-Jul-11 14:54:00

But other parents (and prob professionals) have other opinions.....is that so awful?

Hufflepuzzpig Thu 14-Jul-11 14:57:59

What profession allthefires? (genuine q, as I am utterly clueless about the law etc on this subject) smile

CoffeeOne that's useful info about the authorities thinking 7 is too young IF something were to happen - but, say they just heard of a 7yo being alone for half an hour (ie nothing bad happened) would they do anything?

RitaMorgan Thu 14-Jul-11 14:58:30

There is a reason why there is no legal guidance on when I child can be left - it is deliberately left up to parental judgement.

This mother knows her child and knows the circumstances, let her judge if it is safe.

"What if you had a car crash" - you're right, much better to have a child in the car with me.

allthefires Thu 14-Jul-11 14:58:55

You can have your opinions but when the safety if a 7 year old is at risk I cant abide the laissez faire approach.

Op - make that call. It's not you'd place to seek to ameliorate the situation with personal favours. You don't know what is really occurring in the household- the fact that this is happening so frequently leads me to consider what other risks this child may be subjected to. Will the parents soon think he can be left alone at the evening collection

scottishmummy Thu 14-Jul-11 15:00:31

no specifc legal age when child can be left alone
depends upon interpretation of context,the adults,the child. how enduring is the arrangement,what alternatives are there etc

RitaMorgan Thu 14-Jul-11 15:01:43

What age is a child safe to be left in your opinion allthefires?

littleducks Thu 14-Jul-11 15:02:39

I would also like to know what 'profession' allthefires is and what age she thinks is acceptable, as I am really hmm at her comments!

I think a sensible 7 yr old would be fine, though a child with a different temperament would not be fine till later, maybe even 10.

I remember staying home all day when I was off school ill, with a cold or somethin not seriously ill, at age 8 and my parents were at work.

Insomnia11 Thu 14-Jul-11 15:02:40

46, Rita. smile

What if they do, allthefires?

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