to try to work out the "boundaries&quo
t; of how far away you can be from your child?
I have a 6yo and a 3yo. The 6yo is very sensible for her age, the 3yo is very crazy, even for 3.
I am completely against leaving them in the house alone - I would be more likely to send DD1 on a minor errand if need be, although obviously the first preference is for me to go and take both children. In our old town we lived on an estate where she could avoid roads entirely and she had loads of freedom, but here it is a grid system so she can't get far without crossing a road, so I've clipped her wings a bit while I check her road sense and get her a bit more streetwise.
So, I would never go to the shop at the end of the street (5 small terraced houses and across a road away) leaving children in the house. I would never take or collect DD1 from school or rainbows (maybe ten houses away) without taking DD2 too.
But I would leave them in the house, with the front door open, while I knock on next door for a parcel - although they do tend to follow me out.
I would leave them in the house while I put the wheelie bin out the back gate into the ginnel for the binmen.
In my mums house, I would go and sit in the granny flat with my nana, while the kids are asleep in the spare room in the extension at the other side of the house, even though that is about as far away as a different semi detached house (ie bigger than the terrace I live in - it would be about next door but one here, because these houses are quite tiny)
The other week, I missed the recycling van, and without thinking left DD2 in the house (door open, if that makes a difference) while I ran up the street with the boxes - the van was parked next to the corner shop.
It was only later on that I realised that wasn't a good idea. I think it was because I didn't have shoes on that I didn't click that I was still effectively leaving my baby unattended.
Also, why do I feel happier sending the 6yo out than going out and leaving the 6yo in, even if we take the 3yo out of the calculation?
so, we need a hard and fast rule. What is acceptable, what isn't?
Not possible to have a hard and fast rule, as all kids are different and all streets are different. However I don't think ANYONE should leave a 3yo alone in a locked house for any length of time. Obviously taking out the bin or whatever is different as you're within earshot and if "something" happened then you'd be aware of it. But you wouldn't be aware of it if you were in the shop across the road, iyswim.
It's the time factor. You know you'll only be a.minute when putting out the surprised you'd leave a six year old in unaccompanied though, same with the granny flat, or am I just overprotective?
I wouldn't leave her in unaccompanied, but I would send her out. Not to the shop, because of the road, but that distance - I used to send her on errands of that distance on our old street, and there was a little gang of 5 and 6 year olds playing out all the time so it was safe.
The granny flat thing... I dunno, it "feels" safe - they are the same house, if one of the kids came downstairs they would just have to turn left instead of right. My mums front room is almost underneath the kids room, but then so is my nana's kitchen. But it still is quite a distance if you ignore that it is the same house.
PS the granny flat sounds a bit far but I'd probably take a baby monitor with me
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