When can kids be left alone at home?

(118 Posts)
Blahblahblah111 Wed 13-Mar-19 06:35:07

OK so obviously it varies according to the child's maturity etc but what age would you consider on average a child would be ok to Be left for half an hour or so if the parent needed to get something from the shops / go to the postbox etc?

OP’s posts: |
Achybreaky Wed 13-Mar-19 06:39:00

11 if they are okay with it. I have an 8 & 6 year old so haven’t got there yet, I might feel differently when they get to 11.

IdaBattersea Wed 13-Mar-19 06:39:28

Age 9/10...year 5 I think

10IAR Wed 13-Mar-19 06:40:25

At 11 I'd expect a NT 11 year old to be ok for half an hour or so (not going far)

Longer periods I'd say older, 15/16.

Hughes12345 Wed 13-Mar-19 06:44:10

I’m interested in this too. DS is about to turn 10 and I think he’d be fine at home alone but something is stopping me. I’m also wondering when I’ll be able to stop organising childcare during the school holidays.

MyOtherProfile Wed 13-Mar-19 06:45:15

Year 6 was the magic turning point for each of my children. I left my son for May be 15 min at a time in year 5 say to do the school run with dd if he was staying off school, but any longer was year 6. My daughter wasn't up for being left alone at all til year 6 and then suddenly she really liked the idea.

The nspcc have some really good checklists to see if your child is ready - one for staying home and one for going out. It looks at how to tell if they're ready and how to prepare them for emergencies if I remember rightly. Will have a look for them.

Lots depends on where you live I think.

BertrandRussell Wed 13-Mar-19 06:46:18

9/10ish so long as the child is happy with it. Also the right age for them to do the quick trip to the shop/letterbox themselves.


SwimmingJustKeepSwimming Wed 13-Mar-19 06:46:57

I do 10mins while I do the brownies run with a year 5 child. But not more than that. Couldn't do school run leaving her at home as that would be more like half an hour

Rezie Wed 13-Mar-19 06:47:08

I'd say 7 years old.

MyOtherProfile Wed 13-Mar-19 06:47:36

Home alone guide:

Going out alone guide:

Iggly Wed 13-Mar-19 06:49:39

My 9 1/2 year old - yes - and I’ve let him go to the shops (but it is 2 mins straight walk with no crossing roads from home!). Younger dc is 7 and she wants to go too but I don’t let her.

I was allowed to go to the shop at a similar age with my younger brother, which involved crossing a busy main road in London and was about 15 mins from home. However we were a bit feral as kids - as a result I think that I could leave my dcs at home because that’s what happened to me (but I don’t, because it seems odd!).

EarringsandLipstick Wed 13-Mar-19 06:50:19

11 for me too, and yes, does depend on child.

@Rezie 7?!? 😳

blueskiesovertheforest Wed 13-Mar-19 06:52:18

It depends where you live.

I enjoy the shocked looks on German's faces when I say that British people start threatening one another with terrible danger and social services if a 9 year old is left home alone.

Where I live it's considered responsible parenting to teach your child what to do, where to go (which neighbors) for help, what to do in realistic emergency situations, what the house rules when home alone are, and how to use the landline before the age of 6, and start deliberately practicing by going nextdoor or walking to the end of the road when you don't actually need to leave them.

It's utterly normal where I live to leave a 7 year old who's been suitably prepared in advance and who is happy to be left, for half an hour.

By 11 children travel home from school 20 miles away by bus, let themselves in, make lunch, do their homework and are home alone for up to 4 hours if they don't have siblings and parents work (school finishes at lunch time here, but this is also true for plenty of 11 year olds in the UK, though perhaps 3 hours not 4).

superram Wed 13-Mar-19 06:52:40

Pretty much all children I know (about 1000) are left along for st least 3 hours from 11 when they go to secondary school. My year 5 daughter doesn’t want to be left alone but I’d be happy not to leave hot for an hour.

Iggly Wed 13-Mar-19 06:56:54

Where I live it's considered responsible parenting to teach your child what to do, where to go (which neighbors) for help, what to do in realistic emergency situations, what the house rules when home alone are, and how to use the landline before the age of 6, and start deliberately practicing by going nextdoor or walking to the end of the road when you don't actually need to leave them

^this makes sense.

I’m already teaching mine to look out when crossing the road, to tell me if it’s safe to cross (I make the decision). My youngest asked me what she should do if we were out together and I got hurt/hit by a car (morbid but actually a good question). They know how to use my mobile to ring 999 without unlocking and how to use the landline. I’ll be adding the stuff about which neighbours to go to if something goes wrong etc.

It’s all about teaching our dcs to be grown ups I guess. I did benefit massively in some ways from being feral as a primary school child due to the independence (not in others though!!)

blueskiesovertheforest Wed 13-Mar-19 06:58:21

I actually read an article in a German paediatrician's waiting room about developmental milestones which suggested that by 8 children should be capable of and comfortable with being home alone for up to an hour.

HalfBloodPrincess Wed 13-Mar-19 07:02:00

11 here too. Childcare stops for secondary age children in our village so they were home alone until I got home from work, and some days in the school holidays.

Left them for an hour here and there from year 6

adaline Wed 13-Mar-19 07:04:45

I'd say about 9 or 10 years old.

By 11 I was walking a mile on my own to/from the bus stop and letting myself in to an empty house five days a week and by 12.5 I was home alone all day during the summer holidays!

This was only in 2002 or so and it was the same for all my friends. I can't believe the post that said they wouldn't leave them longer until 15!

Nix32 Wed 13-Mar-19 07:07:03

I started leaving my son for 10 minutes when he was 8. He's now 11 and is fine for about 1 1/2 hours - I'm in the same town though, I haven't yet left him when I'm miles away. I've just started leaving my 8 year old daughter too, again just for 10 minutes.

GreatDuckCookery6211 Wed 13-Mar-19 07:11:03

I’ve left mine at 8 years old for 15 mins whilst I picked DH up from station, sat watching tv with instruction not to move. That was a rare thing though. From about 10/11 I’d pop to the supermarket and be gone 35 ish mins, they knew not to open the door and what to do should the house combust.

Puffykins Wed 13-Mar-19 07:11:50

My 8 year old gets left for up to an hour from time to time. He's sufficiently responsible and we have good next door neighbours.

Natsku Wed 13-Mar-19 07:14:04

Where I am 7 is the usual age for leaving for short periods of time (our version of the NSPCC recommends no longer than 1-2 hours at this age) but they are (usually) well prepared for it before that in a similar way to what blueskies describes. Not all are ready at that age but by 9 they should be (they have to be here, there's no afterschool care after 2nd grade and school finishes long before office hours end) so I'd say around age 9 for a general age to be ready.

chocatoo Wed 13-Mar-19 07:16:18

Depending on time of day, location, maturity of child, etc. Start with 10 mins and extend to half an hour, then a couple of hours at age 9 or so.

Babbabump Wed 13-Mar-19 07:17:37

This is something I consider a lot. I'm a way off having high school age DC but what do you do in the holidays ! Most holiday clubs only cater for children up to the age of 11.

Bobbycat121 Wed 13-Mar-19 07:18:51

7/8. I always laugh when I see people say 11+ at 11 they travel
to and from school alone where I am, but yet can only be trusted for a couple of minutes at home alone whilst their parent nips to the shop? I happily leave my 7 year old to pop to the shop.

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