When to let DC be home alone?

(18 Posts)
RoseBaby Tue 26-Apr-16 18:33:15

Brought to mind by another school related thread.

My DS is going into Year 7 in September. The secondary school is a four minute walk away, across a residential area that we back onto. No main roads and though the residential bit gets busy at pick up/drop off it is always full of children/adults walking at these times.

DS will be walking to/from school of course, but I don't finish work until 4pm, arriving home around 4.20/4.30 depending on traffic. He's very sensible and I've been thinking if it would be okay from him to let himself into the house after school until I get home?

He'd be 11 nearly 12 at the start of the school year. My sister thinks it's too young an age to be home for near enough an hour alone?

VinceNoirLovesHowardMoon Tue 26-Apr-16 18:35:22

Of course it's ok! Unless special needs of some sort that might make him less safe.

LineyReborn Tue 26-Apr-16 18:35:57

It's fine.

But ... keys, snacks, homework, walking in to cat vomit, blah blah.

Get him to text you when he gets through the door.

We had so many lost keys, list bags, changing the locks...

LineyReborn Tue 26-Apr-16 18:36:25

*lost bags

Mousefinkle Tue 26-Apr-16 18:39:43

I lost my keys once so was locked out for an hour till my mum got home. Trust me when I say I NEVER lost them again. As long as you trust him not to lose them and not to drag half the school back with him for a house party wink, it's absolutely fine.

RoseBaby Tue 26-Apr-16 19:06:07

Thank you for your replies!

He is very sensible as I said, but he's never been left alone in the house before - it's just never come up really! I think he'd do well but didn't know if there was a common 'age' for this type of responsibility?

LineyReborn Tue 26-Apr-16 19:09:32

Secondary school, usually. A lot of DCs that age are on public transport for an hour each way, without a parent.

CremeEggThief Tue 26-Apr-16 19:09:56

You need to start building up to it, by leaving him for an hour or two regularly. It's not long until September. My DS was left alone from 7.30-5 for 2 days in the September before he started, as his school went back after mine.

LineyReborn Tue 26-Apr-16 19:13:47

Maybe the most important thing is, how does he contact you if something goes tits up? And do you have a nearby friend who you can swap spare house keys with, and who your DC would know to go to?

It's stuff like that, really. I'm a terrible worrier so love having Plans A, B and C.

Looly71 Tue 26-Apr-16 19:15:16

Yes absolutely fine. A few ground rules about what he can and cannot do before you get home. Yes he can make toast, no he can't do any ironinggrin
Only other thing I would say is that perhaps let one of your neighbours know so that if he does have a problem he can go to them if necessary.
He'll feel very grown up that you trust him to do this and that's a good feeling smile

BathshebaDarkstone Tue 26-Apr-16 19:16:33

8, unless they're nervous like DD. hmm

Cantwait4summer Tue 26-Apr-16 19:23:28

Like Liney said they're on they're own whilst travelling to school so if they can do it then there's no reason why they can be left alone for a little while x your dc can text you when they're home to put at your mind at rest x

GeezAJammyPeece Tue 26-Apr-16 19:28:48

If he seems happy enough to be responsible for himself for the hour, then he's old enough.

A few practice runs of being left in the house, then a few where he has to let himself in (with you appearing shortly behind) and he'll be all set come September.

TBH, by the time he gets in, changed, snack & settles down to TV/homework, you'll be pretty much home.

Don't worry!!

Oh, and make sure he knows what to do if....

Hygellig Tue 26-Apr-16 19:47:16

At that age I used to walk back from secondary school, let myself in and then be at home alone (or later with my sister) for about two hours. I think it's fine. It could be worth having a practice run beforehand and building up gradually, rather than him being at home alone for the first time in September.

allegretto Tue 26-Apr-16 19:48:52

Fine. My DS (11) has one afternoon when he has to let himself in and we have an arrangement with neighbours so sometimes he goes around to their house (friends with their son) and knows he can contact them if there are any problems.

Crispbutty Tue 26-Apr-16 19:52:06

He will probably be doing afterschool sports some days etc anyway so you will still end up home before him. I would also make sure he knows not to take his mates home with him (unless you have said its ok).

rainbowunicorn Tue 26-Apr-16 20:03:58

my 10 year old walks to and from school himself and has done for the last year. Over the last 2 months he has been coming in around 30 mins before his older brother 3 days a week and manages fine. He is not allowed to make hot drinks or snacks unless his brother or one of us is in though.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Tue 26-Apr-16 20:15:13

Mine started walking home alone (with friends) in Y6. But were left home alone for an hour or so while I went to the supermarket in early Y5.

DD (12) lets herself in at 4 ish and I'm home about 5.15. She has phone numbers of DM and local friends and has been doing this since she started secondary.

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