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AIBU to consider letting my 8 year old be at home for an hour or two alone...

(125 Posts)
missymarmite Tue 06-Sep-11 07:12:42

...every day afterschool.

I cannot continue like this. I cannot make ends meet. Childcare is about the only thing I can think of at the moment to cut. Currently, DS goes to an out of school club every day. We live in a small, rural town. Practically all the kids in the neighbourhood go to the same school. In the morning, I leave him with a neighbour whose daughter is in the same class. Both have been walking to school alone every morning for a few months now, as the school is only a 10 minute walk down quiet residential streets. I don't feel I can ask any more of the parents, but they would be willing to be an emergency safe point for DS. Most of the kids in the street play out every afternoon anyway.

WIBU to give DS a copy of the key to the house, to be able to get in to drop his bag in, until I get home from work, usually around 4-5pm-ish?

rainbowinthesky Tue 06-Sep-11 07:15:12

Absolutely not. You need to sort out childcare. Stupid, irresponsible idea. As a teacher I would report you if I knew you.

rainbowinthesky Tue 06-Sep-11 07:16:11

If I needed to make cuts, the welfare of the most precious thing to me would not be something I'd be looking at.

Ineedacleaneriamalazyslattern Tue 06-Sep-11 07:18:45

I think 8 is still too young for this. I can see why it would be tempting though, my dd is nearly 8 and has suddenly started seeming so much more grown up and responsible but I do feel this is just way to big a responsibility for a child that age.

Mitmoo Tue 06-Sep-11 07:20:30

Eight years old, nope I wouldn't. Too many "what ifs" for me and doing it every day just gives me more "what ifs".

PonceyMcPonce Tue 06-Sep-11 07:21:24

I think 8 is too young. Might be ok on a normal day when everything goes smoothly which lulls you into a false sense of security. Then when it goes tits up with something unforeseen, your ds would be in trouble.

Andrewofgg Tue 06-Sep-11 07:22:37

Not quite. We first left DS alone for a couple of hours with a trusted neighbour over the road as a contact, at 11, and he was mature for a boy of 11.

Not what you wanted to hear, but that is how it is.

ToothbrushThief Tue 06-Sep-11 07:25:12

Sounds tough for you missymarmite but 8 is too young. Any chance of a childcare swop with a another parent?

MmeLindor. Tue 06-Sep-11 07:26:05

I am all for giving children independence from an early age, but I think that 8yo is still to young to leave a child alone on a regular basis.

To those of you ready to jump on the OP, re-read the OP. She sounds quite desperate.

Is there anything else you could save money on? Perhaps we could find another way.

Are you a single parent?

nagynolonger Tue 06-Sep-11 07:28:29

No sorry 8 is too young even with neighbours close by and mobile phones.
Even if all the DC are playing out now they will not be in a few weeks time.
I would cut down on everything else even the food bill first.

StealthPolarBear Tue 06-Sep-11 07:29:45

Is there any chance you can change your hours around at work to help? Or leave work an hour earlier but do an hour and a half in the evening at home? (no idea what you do obviously).

Are there any local responsible teenagers who could help out?

Mitmoo Tue 06-Sep-11 07:37:21

MME good point.

To try to be constructive, I do Avon, it doesn't take much time once you've built your round and brings me in around £120-£130 every three weeks, first campaigns were less but it builds. (I don't get anything from Avon before I'm accused of having a vested interest, I do recruit but only get paid for the representives I recruit personally), anything I get there is on top of the £120-£130 in commissions from direct sales - genuinely trying to be helpful here. I'm only on my third campaign now.

I asked about Avon and Kleeneze on here and Kleeneze had really bad feedback plus they wanted £150 up front for books so went for Avon instead.
Avon give you your first two sets of books free so you don't risk your own money which I liked, because if it didn't work I would have only lost shoe leather.

Look and Money Saving Expert website, there are ways on there to up your income and cut your costs, you might hit on something there that helps.

cory Tue 06-Sep-11 07:55:26

Even I think 8 is too young for being alone on a regular basis. Apart from the safety side, imo they still need a lot of adult support at that age.

DilysPrice Tue 06-Sep-11 08:04:25

As a one off, in an emergency, maybe. Every day, no it's just not fair.
Have you checked that you're claiming every benefit you're entitled too? Can you get help with childcare costs? And yes, try moneysaving expert for more ideas.

GooseyLoosey Tue 06-Sep-11 08:19:28

Ds is 8 and I wouldn't do this. Second the suggestion about seeing if a local teenager (preferably one who you know) would be willing to help out. Sorry.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Tue 06-Sep-11 08:30:20

I'm sorry, you sound like you have a problem but I really think 8 is too young.

I have a nearly 9 yearbold and I cpwill leave him for 30 mins tops. I work nights and have gone to sleep upstairs while he is downstairs a couple if times, but he knows he can get me. I wouldn't leave him any longer, honestly.

Both my ds's play without me for fairly long periods now but they would notice if I wasn't around.

ihatecbeebies Tue 06-Sep-11 08:33:38

Too young sorry, yabu. Could you not apply for tax credits to help you with childcare? Have you checked if you are entitled to housing benefit, if you are struggling that badly to make ends meet you might be entitled to some sort of help?

Bellavita Tue 06-Sep-11 08:35:42

Far too young. Sorry.

gillybean2 Tue 06-Sep-11 08:48:31

What childcare do you use currently?
School may have some after school clubs that don't cost or you may find it cheaper to have a childminder.
If the childcare you use isn't OFSTED registered and you get help with childcare costs as a lone parent perhaps it is time to swap to ofsted registered so you can claim up to 70% of it back.

Personally I wouldn't leave alone at 8.
Crunch the figures, you may be better off dropping an hour at work each day if your WTC goes up enough (bearing in mind your tax & childcare will go down)

Maryz Tue 06-Sep-11 08:49:28

It's a shame, because you do sound pretty desperate, but I too think 8 is too young. Maybe for a day a week, or even now when the evenings are long and light. But it will be getting dark by 4ish soon, and then it wouldn't be a runner at all.

The difficulty with a "local teenager" is that usually the secondary schools finish later than the primary schools so that wouldn't work either.

Would a childminder be cheaper than after-school activity? Are there any parents who would look after her for the hour or two for less than the club?

If you are really desperate is there any chance that a couple of good friends (either hers or yours) would do a couple of hours once a week each? I'd do this for a friend if I was asked (whereas I wouldn't want to commit to every day).

What do you do during the holidays - can that be extended.

Sorry, I'm sure you have thought of all of these.

mummytime Tue 06-Sep-11 09:37:10

Okay are you claiming all that you are entitled to? I'd suggest CAB if you are not sure.
How much is the after school care you are paying for? Would a child minder or some other solution be cheaper? Would a parent look after your LO for less? Are there any other after school activities that cost less?
Can you cut down on car use? Save money on food bills (do more cooking from scratch, freeze ahead).
Can you (or your partner if you have one) get an extra job which doesn't need more child care?

mariebl Tue 06-Sep-11 09:37:24

Check what the law says regarding supervision of children. It doesn't take into account the maturity of a child, how quiet it is where you live etc its black and white and they seem to take a pretty dim view if its not stuck to.

margerykemp Tue 06-Sep-11 09:47:40

Go to cab and check you are getting the right amount of tax credits/ benefits.

MangoMonster Tue 06-Sep-11 09:51:44

I think 8 is too young. Appreciate you must be finding it hard though.

happystressedmum Tue 06-Sep-11 09:56:16

I personally think it depends on the child as some 8 year olds are more mature and sensible than others. I think for an hour or so is okay IF the child is sensible and they have a neighbour to call on if they were concerned about something.

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