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To leave 8yo ds at home alone for 10-15mins

(55 Posts)
bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 04-Oct-12 15:00:13

Ds is my oldest pfb so I am honestly a bit unsure. I need to pick up dd1 from an after school club once a week at 4.30pm - the school is 5 min walk away. Ds 1 is always really unwilling to come - whines and moans then begs to be allowed to stay at home, as he is comfortable and happy to play on the PC or watch tv while I go out with dd2 (3) to get dd1 - I have always dragged him with me but I wondered whether to leave him this week.

I spoke to dh about it - he suggested consulting the MN hive brain.

So leave him - with a phone strapped to his wrist, access to door key and emergency numbers!!? Or continue to drag him along, or sign him up for an after school club on same day?

OldCatLady Thu 04-Oct-12 15:03:22

Drag him along! As much as he would be happy and responsible enough to play nicely. What if there's a fire, burglar, he falls and cracks his head open etc etc?

Plus, I'm sure legally he has to be older than that to be left alone, can't be bothered to double check though.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 04-Oct-12 15:05:14

A sensible 8yo should be fine for 10 mins IMO. I would happily leave my 7yo in that situation because I know if she promises to stay sitting on the sofa that is exactly what she will do.

My DC2 is too young at the moment but he is the sort of person to plot and plan what he will do the moment I am out, so probably when he is 8 he won't be safe to leave for 10 minutes in case he's decided he wants to test the electric carving knife or see if plastic can catch fire, or something.

alarkaspree Thu 04-Oct-12 15:05:42

I have an 8 yo dd and I would be happy to leave her at home alone for 15 minutes. The people who recommend against this are going to be concerned about what happens if you are unexpectedly delayed for some reason in picking dd1 up, or have an accident on the way home, or for some reason it ends up being longer and he gets worried.

Could you arrange for a neighbour to be available to him in case of emergency?

Annunziata Thu 04-Oct-12 15:06:03

He should be fine.

Lueji Thu 04-Oct-12 15:08:01

I'd say fine.

I have been tempted to leave 7 year old DS at home when going to the supermarket (less than 1hour).
But I haven't done it yet.

Because I have left him for 5 min to put the trash down the road (that's how it works here) and when I return he has opened the door even if I don't say anything.

I'd say test it and then decide if he can be left alone.

bradbourne Thu 04-Oct-12 15:08:25

I'm sure he'll be fine. Take you mobile with you so he can call if needs be (or you can call him if you get held up). And maybe advise of a neighbour he could call on in an emergency.

Whoknowswhocares Thu 04-Oct-12 15:08:26

Yes he should be fine. Although is it really such a bad lesson to learn that sometimes we need to do things we don't want to and the world doesn't revolve solely around us?

Goldpippin Thu 04-Oct-12 15:09:43

I leave my ds who is 8 at home for 5-10 mins, he is quite sensible and we have rules about not answering door, going in the kitchen and how to call in an emergency. I have just started to let him go to the local shop which is about 3 minutes away but out of sight and across a road. I think he is old enough to have this little bit of independence.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 04-Oct-12 15:11:33

I think if a boy with 2 younger siblings hasn't learnt that by the time they're 8 they're probably never going to Whoknows grin

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 04-Oct-12 15:14:33

There is an ellement of battle choosing here - ds1 is goingthrough an awkward sod stage and is far too reliant on tearful raging... but he is also very responsive to being given responsibility and usually rises well to it. He likes to be in charge of bedtime drinks and reads an extra story to dd2 most nights, makes breakfast (when he can be bothered) so it means we are often at odds. In a way it would be nice to give in to this demand to show we do listen to him and give his ideas consideration.

jazzandh Thu 04-Oct-12 15:15:51

I would if he was engaged in something already. I often walk DS2 down the road to meet DH for 10/15 minutes before tea. DS1 is generally watching TV or playing with lego and barely notices we have gone.

If he was generally moping around and looking for mischief I wouldn't leave him at that time.....

Play it by ear perhaps?

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 04-Oct-12 15:16:27

God yes Turnip poor old DS has sat through too many Barbie films to think he is centre of the Universe!

5madthings Thu 04-Oct-12 15:19:26

i would leave him and did leave my elder two at that age (they are now 13 and 10) my ds2 sounds very similar, in the rising to the responsibility thing and tho it seems ages away in a few years he will be at high school, imo its good to start letting them have these little bits of responsibility and you are not going far or for very long, he will be fine smile

PostBellumBugsy Thu 04-Oct-12 15:22:37

First of all it would not be illegal.
Secondly, if you feel ok and you've taken some sensible precautions it should be fine. You know your son best.
You are talking about a very short period of time and I think that is a very sensible way to start introducting your DC to being responsible about being on his own.

NatashaBee Thu 04-Oct-12 15:31:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OhSoSimple Thu 04-Oct-12 15:41:25

I think it all depends on the child. Personally I would never do it as I am a total smotherer and would just be stressed about it for the whole time! Also my DD is totally irreonsible and I dread to think what could happen if she had 10 mins home alone!

You know your DS best and if your DH is happy too perhaps you should give it a test run?

ClippedPhoenix Thu 04-Oct-12 15:42:56

I'd say it would be fine OP.

dexter73 Thu 04-Oct-12 15:45:53

I would say he would be fine too.

RubyFakeNails Thu 04-Oct-12 15:48:07

Sounds fine. I would leave DD2 who is 6 for that long.

You can always try it one week and if theres an issue change it that he has to come too.

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 04-Oct-12 15:48:10

Can he use a mobile and read a clock?

I wouldn't have left DD1 at that age to pick her younger sister up, she'd have been at a loss to know if I'd been 10 minutes or 40.

I was perfectly happy to vanish into the garden or for a quick walk up the hill, because if she was worried she could come and find me.

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 04-Oct-12 15:49:29

Ds has been told he can stay at home next week if he wants to. He said he was 'excited and a bit sad' and he would like the option to come with us if he wants. I bet he ends up coming now but (hopefully) minus the sullen moany-ness grin

picnicbasketcase Thu 04-Oct-12 15:49:37

If he knows what to do if he needs any help, and can sit and do something that keeps him out of trouble, and is largely reliable and sensible, then yes.

justmyview Thu 04-Oct-12 15:59:10

I'm surprised how many people think it's OK. I don't think an 8 year old should be left alone.

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 04-Oct-12 16:00:45

Thank you all for your opinions - really helpful thanks It is a tricky business letting them do stuff alone and trusting them etc. I am never going to be ready so I have to unclench a bit I think. It is going to be harder for ds as he is the eldest and the one I am learning on. The dds will have the added pressure of overprotective Dad though hmm

He will be given the option by his school (with permission from parents) to walk to and from school alone in the spring as preparation for middle school next September. He will have to go to school and return by himself then as I will be taking dd1 and 2 (who is starting lower school then) to their school.

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