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To leave dd1 home alone once a week for an hour while I work?

(131 Posts)
MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 16:31:34

dd1 is just turned 11 & since her birthday I have started to let her walk home from school once a week (ten minute walk, no main roads) let herself into the house & start her homework until I get home from work (she gets home @ 3:15 & I am home for around 4:15, I pop home @ lunchtime & open the door for her so she has no key to worry about losing, & call her @ around 3:30 to make sure she's got home ok & started her homework
I was quite comfortable with this & saw it as her starting to gain some independence, especially since come September she will be needing to travel to secondary school on her own, including unaccompanied on a bus, so I seen it as a bit of preparation one day a week
However I've just had a call from her teacher, asking if I was in need of any "additional support" after school as she was sure it was a worry for me, and did I know they had an after school club?
I was quite taken aback and explained all the reasons I was quite fine with it, which she did agree with, but it did make me a bit hmm tbh
Dd1 is also quite happy with the arrangement btw & is quite mature for her age, she knows not to use the cooker if she is hungry, don't open the door to anyone and my number is programmed into our home phone etc

Crikeyblimey Fri 29-Nov-13 17:01:54

Ds is yr 6 and has been getting the school bus and letting himself in since sept. he's alone for max half an hour.

We got one of those ski lift pass holder things that has the expanding bit of elastic on (not explaining that well am I?) for his door key and fasten one end to the zip loop in his bag, so he never needs to detach it.

He also has a cheap payg mobile that is off in his school bag but there for any emergency for him to contact us. He's under instruction to text me when he's home (he often rings instead).

Not had any problems.

MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 17:10:49

Ok I will get her a key cut tomorrow and steal one of dh's elastic work pass things to sew it into her school bag with, hadn't thought of that!
Im just so bemused that her teacher found this such a cause for concern... I would have thought most kids of her age are starting to be left alone for an hour or so while their parents popped out shopping etc

ChasedByBees Fri 29-Nov-13 17:12:00

I would definitely not leave the door unlocked. I live on a quiet cul de sac with nosy neighbours. We stil got burgled while we were at work. It was not nice to come home to and freaky to think they might have still been upstairs. Please give her a key. You could also keep a key in a key safe somewhere? Otherwise I don't see a problem with this. I would have loved it at 11.

Topseyt Fri 29-Nov-13 17:12:07

Its fine. I don't really see what the teacher had any issue with to be honest.

I would definitely give her a key though. I would not leave my house unlocked all afternoon whilst I was out.

I began leaving all three of my children alone when they were about that age, and I have never had any problems. My rules are:

1) Doors to remain locked once you are inside and not to be opened to anyone.

2) NO cooking.

3) NO friends allowed round until after their dad or I are back.

MinesAPintOfTea Fri 29-Nov-13 17:21:50

Agree re key: I've be worried that someone could get in and be there when she gets in. But she's olds enough to be in the house alone, yes.

ApprenticeViper Fri 29-Nov-13 17:33:33

GinAnd haha! slight space bar fail there! grin

but actually, yes i did, and it could open the front door with its hooves wink

redexpat Fri 29-Nov-13 18:40:34

The key can go on a string around her neck, tucked down inside her school uniform. Or attached to her school bag. Or on one of those whooshy things you put lift passes on when you go skiing - you know like miniature extendable dog leads.

Nerfmother Fri 29-Nov-13 18:52:00

I wouldn't purely because on a very recent safeguarding course I was told that it wouldn't be okay to leave y6 ds alone for an hour after school. Even after dropping him home. So to avoid any ss referrals, however they would probably pan out, no I wouldn't.

MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 20:24:23

Really nerfmother grin that is so strange why on earth would ss be ok with 11 year olds travelling unaccompanied to and from school on public transport etc but not be ok with them sitting in their own homes for an hour, when I think of the responsibility I had at that age my mind boggles

MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 20:25:34

That was meant to be a shocked face dunno how it came out with that sarky looking grin!

Bonsoir Fri 29-Nov-13 20:30:54

I agree with others - all this is fine except for leaving your door unlocked. Presumably your DD can call on your old neighbours if anything awful happens?

pointyfangs Fri 29-Nov-13 20:41:23

My DDs have been home alone in the morning for about an hour and again for about half an hour after school since September last year, when DD1 was in Yr7 and DD2 in Yr5. They both have keys, DD2 managed to lose hers once but it was found again and the emergency telephone system for contacting me and backup worked flawlessly.

nerfmother really? A yr6 child is 10/11 years old, I think it's mad that it isn't OK for them to have an hour at home alone. When I was that age I most certainly did, and by the time I was in Yr7 I was cycling to school by myself 3 miles each way and having an hour at home alone at the end of the day as well. When are we supposed to let them learn independence?

YANBU, OP, just let your DD have a key.

trashcanjunkie Fri 29-Nov-13 20:44:06

nerfmother I did have an ss referral from my ex about leaving dcs home alone. They were 6 or 7 at the time and I'd leave them for 15-20 mins while I popped to the shops. I spoke to ss on the telephone after they'd written to me regarding the report, and said that I was doing this as part of an ongoing program of fostering the childrens independence in and out of the home. Ss where in total agreement with me that it was perfectly reasonable. I am now in a position where the dcs are almost 9 and can happily be left for up to an hour/hour and a half with strict intsructions not to open the door or use the kitchen. They are fine with this. Where we live at 11 they will be expected to make a cross city trip using buses to get to high school. The school strongly encourage parents to allow the dcs to make their own way to school. I think it would be irresponsible for me to suddenly expect the dcs to be able to handle this without a well thought out plan to be independent in and out of the house having been in place for some time.

VikingLady Fri 29-Nov-13 20:44:10

I did it at that age. The rules were to close the curtains if it was dark so people couldn't see I was alone, and to call DF immediately. Absolutely fine.

MissMalteser Fri 29-Nov-13 20:51:47

Yes bonsoir there's her friends mum 2 doors up, the kids are in and out of both houses regularly, and I work literally three quarters of a mile around the corner, so could be there in less than 5 minutes if needed.
I could actually get her to walk to my work to meet me and wait for half an hour for me if needs be, but it's just so unnecessary when the house is closer, and I think she quite enjoys the peace from dd2 tbh lol!

handcream Fri 29-Nov-13 20:56:39

Please don't leave your house unlocked. Everyone thinks burgalaries only happen to others. Any insurance claim will be invalid.

RhondaJean Fri 29-Nov-13 21:08:08

I'm often shouted down on threads because I am uncomfortable with small children being left alone at home but I would be totally happy with this. In fact we starts doing Thr same ŵith our oldest daughter at around the same age. But yeah getting the door locked and supplying a key is a better idea than leaving it unlocked.

boodles Fri 29-Nov-13 21:44:54

We have tied my sons keys onto a string in his backpack or he would lose them (he is 13)
One hour in the evening is fine.

monicalewinski Fri 29-Nov-13 22:29:07

I've attached a key to the inside pocket of my 11 yr old's schoolbag, it never comes off (he loses everything and hasn't lost it yet).

YANBU apart from the unlocked house (but you've already read that several times now grin.

Nerfmother Fri 29-Nov-13 22:31:04

Sorry, vanished to the amazon thread! Yes, really what was said and so I don't because I don't want the hassle of a potential referral NOT because I agree iyswim?
Apparently risks of walking home alone are much much less than risks of being home alone.

Caitlin17 Fri 29-Nov-13 22:35:55

And a spare key with a reliable neighbour just in case she does somehow lose or forget it.

jellybeans Fri 29-Nov-13 22:40:12

I personally wouldn't do it at that age but each to their own. Would also worry re the leaving doors unlocked.

Longdistance Fri 29-Nov-13 22:46:02

Go get her a key cut at Timpsons, and let her choose a key ring.

My mum worked, and both me and my db had keys to the house with key rings. We never once list them. We were 11 and 13 at the time.

WorraLiberty Fri 29-Nov-13 22:46:40

I would have no problem with this at all as your child seems fine with it.

Apart from you leaving the door unlocked, because you don't know what she might possibly be walking into.

But I see you're going to give her a key and I second what Caitlin says about leaving a spare key with a neighbour.

Whocanfixitnow Fri 29-Nov-13 22:48:13

Isn't there a recommended age from the nspcc re leaving children home alone? I think 11 at secondary is fine but wouldn't do it at primary , but then we live in the middle of the countryside

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