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To leave 10 yr old alone for two hours a day?

(74 Posts)
financialiasco Sun 12-Mar-17 07:56:35

This is thinking ahead to the autumn, when ds1 will be in Y6. He and his brother currently attend the after school club two nights a week - they are at their dad's for another 2 and I leave work early to collect them from school on a Friday.

Ds1 hates it because he is always the oldest one there. He's right - no other kids from either Y5 or 6, and very few from Y4 are ever there. I think he's correct that he would be the only Y6 child there. He is already asking about the next school year and whether he will still have to go. I work 30 minutes away 2 junctions down the motorway and, though theoretically I can leave work any time after 3.10 (teacher), I really need to be there as late as possible as often as I can. I can't leave before 4 for two nights a week for a whole year. When they are at the after school club I pick them up at about 5.45, so that would be roughly the time I would get home.

Their school finishes at 3.30 and is about a ten minute walk away, so ds would have about 2 hours alone 2 nights a week - no intention of taking ds2 out at this stage and he likes the club anyway. DS1 is sensible and is currently left alone occasionally for no more than 30-40 minutes if I pop to a shop with ds2, but this is a lot longer and I wouldn't be able to rush back.

I feel he is too young and it is for about an hour too long, but what do others think? Also, do you think it should be run past their dad - he would probably complain about it and claim ds1 should be with him, but I don't want to go down that road.

JerryFerry Sun 12-Mar-17 07:58:31

I think that it's an hour too long and better to wait till he's a bit older

AndImAnElf Sun 12-Mar-17 07:58:39

Is there a friend who lives near who he could walk home with? They'd probably saunter back slowly anyway which kills some of the time.

toomuchfaster Sun 12-Mar-17 07:59:30

DD is only 2 so I may feel differently when she gets there, but I'd say no. He's too young, it's too long. He needs to go to the after-school club.

Pseudonym99 Sun 12-Mar-17 08:01:52

Probably borderline. Have you tried leaving him at home on his own for short periods while you go shopping to build up his independence?

underneaththeash Sun 12-Mar-17 08:02:37

I also think its an hour too long (I currently have a child in year 6), could you not come home an hour earlier and do preparation at home for a year?

Flowerpower321 Sun 12-Mar-17 08:03:56

Half an hour would be fine, two hours is too long.

AtSea1979 Sun 12-Mar-17 08:04:33

Are you sure he's the only one there? Mine was in kids club until high school, now he going in the library or clubs until I collect him.

Afreshstartplease Sun 12-Mar-17 08:04:46

I would do it so he was alone for an hour TBH and then build up

SmartyPants0 Sun 12-Mar-17 08:06:36

I would also say he's too young to be left alone for 2 hours twice a week especially when you have the option of the after school club. Tell him to suck it up... it's only for another year.

financialiasco Sun 12-Mar-17 08:07:15

Definitely the only one there - I have also asked staff. He says other people walk home alone and let themselves in, but he obviously doesn't know how long they are alone for.

I have a management role in my department, so no way I can be one of the first out two days a week for a whole year.

SenoritaViva Sun 12-Mar-17 08:07:21

My eldest is the same age. She's responsible but I wouldn't I'm afraid. Can you speak to the after school club leader about ensuring that he's entertained appropriately for his age?

saladsmoothie Sun 12-Mar-17 08:08:35

I have a 10 yr old. She is very sensible and I wouldn't be worried about the practical side of being alone. I would not leave her for 2 hours on a regular basis though. She'd feel a bit abandoned I think - perhaps that's just her? I'd take her with me and she could read a book or do homework. She wouldn't love that plan, but there it is. Sometimes in a family we compromise.

SallyInSweden Sun 12-Mar-17 08:09:52

How much does after school club cost?
Could you pay for a Person to do four hours a week for the same price?
If she did 3:30-5:30 it would make a big difference and your dinner would be ready when you get home!

LillyBugg Sun 12-Mar-17 08:10:07

I'm going to go against the grain. I was walking home alone at this age and my mum wouldn't be home until 5.30-6. I had to call her when I got home. And do my homework before anything else. If I broke the deal then I had to go back to the childminders which I hated. He'll only be a year away from secondary and surely then he will have to be loads more independent. This is just the start. It does depend on the child though I suppose.

samlovesdilys Sun 12-Mar-17 08:11:00

My son was in same position last year...I compromised with a couple of afternoons and tried to get home earlier....and then it was parents evening and he wS gone alone til 6. We have set clear limits and have a nice neighbour he can go to in an emergency ... but now he is yr7 and home every day by himself...I would tbh!!

Itwasthenandstillis Sun 12-Mar-17 08:14:38

It depends on him. Is it really what he wants to do? Is he responsible enough? You need strict rules - he has to call when he gets home so you know he is safe. No answering door, phone (unless he knows it's you). Homework has to be done. I would have done it with my ds1. Ds2 and 3 are twins so usually together if they are left.

cherryblossomcarpet Sun 12-Mar-17 08:18:24

I did this as a child. I also cycled 3 miles home by myself. I was a responsible child and quite self sufficient. I think it depends on the child.

Rowgtfc72 Sun 12-Mar-17 08:18:40

We leave dd for between an hour and a hour and a half three days a week in the holiday while I come home from work and dh goes. We've done this since she was nine and not only is she comfortable with it she enjoys it. We have a couple of go to neighbours and she has contact numbers for everyone.

However, we trust her and more importantly she is happy to do it. If she was worried we would make other arrangements.

I think many parents wait for the 'magic'year seven to give their children independence. We've built up to it.

At the end of the day you know your child best.

FourKidsNotCrazyYet Sun 12-Mar-17 08:20:09

You know your child the best. If it was my DC1 I would, DC 2 no way and DC3 probably

chairfrog Sun 12-Mar-17 08:21:00

Some thoughts based on our experience last year when we were in a similar situation.
1. DC had to go to after school club for start of year - for me being home alone when dark was more of an issue
2. From Feb half term ASC let him "sign himself out" and leave early so he would walk home and be home for 15 mins before me.
3. This very quickly turned into him coming straight home and being here for 1.5 hours.
4. He's now at.high school, this is normal and I wonder at the energy I expanded on the arrangements!
For me, I had to find what we were comfortable with an often I found I was more cautious than him. Would he have a phone or be able to check in with you when home - in the early days I had a stream of texts with every movement he made!!

LadyMaryofDownt0n Sun 12-Mar-17 08:22:11

I personally wouldn't do it and my now 12yo was very sensible even at that age. It's just to young. I also wouldn't go with "but no one else is Mum" that old guilt trip will be used for years.

jemsywemsy Sun 12-Mar-17 08:23:17

Could he just do his homework at after school club if he's the only Y6? If they had a separate bit he could go in so he's not there to play, he could take a book or something as well.

jemsywemsy Sun 12-Mar-17 08:24:55

I agree with chairfrog that I'd feel more comfortable with it in the spring time, and a gradual build up. My children are still quite little though so this is hard for me to envisage.

spellingtestmess Sun 12-Mar-17 08:25:22

We have and do occasionally leave our yr6 child alone for up to 2 hours. But not when I/we are not available to go straight home if they need us. Also, Autumn/Winter - it'll be dark by 4pm.

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