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AIBU to leave a 10 year old indoors on his own for an hour or two?

(47 Posts)
catwalker Fri 29-May-09 15:04:29

My youngest is 10 and has been out since 8 this morning and now is hot and tired and just wants to slump on the sofa and watch tv. I need to go and do some shopping and everyone else is out and won't be back for a few hours. I sometimes do nip out and leave him on his own for an hour or so if he doesn't want to come with me (though usually his older brother is around), but I can't do it without feeling hugely guilty and anxious and rushing to get back. What age do other people think it's OK to leave kids in the house on their own and for how long?

Soph73 Fri 29-May-09 15:06:58

If he's a sensible 10 year old I wouldn't see the problem in leaving him for an hour or so as long as you're not going too far. I take it you'll have your mobile with you so you could contact him if you needed to and vice versa.

catwalker Fri 29-May-09 15:09:38

Oh yes, he's very sensible, has my number and we also have a dog in the house. My logical self says it's OK, but, as I say, I always feel so anxious about it.

morningsun Fri 29-May-09 15:11:16

There's another thread on AIBU atm re 10 yr olds being out and about all day on their bikes on their own ~ have a look.

I would have thought it was pretty safe to be alone for a while if he is sensible and knows to phone you if he needs you.

Can you rely on him to do what he's been told,for example not use the cooker etc

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 29-May-09 15:12:10

If he's not been left alone before then I wouldn't leave him for this amount of time. Ds is 10, I've only just started going to the shop at the end of the road. Could you not order online then work up to leaving him for 20 mins or so??

qwertpoiuy Fri 29-May-09 15:13:00

My mother used to leave me on my own minding my younger brothers (sorry, paradox here!) from when I was 9. As long as he's a responsible young lad (eg, my brother was immature and couldn't be trusted to mind younger siblings) , and there's someone nearby he can phone in the event of an emergency.

My son is 8 and, like your ds, doesn't like travelling with me and prefers to watch tv or play football. At the moment I send him down to my brother who lives beside me (same brother as above tho he's now 37!) where he stays till I get back.

Maybe in a couple of yers i'll be happier to leave him alone for 40 mins at a time.

duchesse Fri 29-May-09 15:14:29

God, as long as you think he's sensible enough, leave him. He'll be fine- most likely to spend the time slumped in front of the TV, no? I've definitely been leaving mine for up to a couple of hours since that age.

morningsun Fri 29-May-09 15:14:48

I think its the thought of someone calling and him being alone,both because of what people might think and if he were to just go out without saying or something,or have a fall / accident and noone would see him.

To me it always feels like a race against time.

Hassled Fri 29-May-09 15:14:51

I think 10 is fine. I've left mine at 10 - as long as they know how to ring your mobile number, know not to answer the door etc and are secure, there's no problem. Relax - go shop .

Hassled Fri 29-May-09 15:14:52

I think 10 is fine. I've left mine at 10 - as long as they know how to ring your mobile number, know not to answer the door etc and are secure, there's no problem. Relax - go shop .

morningsun Fri 29-May-09 15:17:23

Sorry should have said that it feels like that[worrying] but its a bit illogical especially if he is allowed out on his own,its the same thing really.

ChippingIn Sat 30-May-09 00:56:13

Catwalker - there are often threads on here about the same thing (often about a 10 year old, must be the age for it!!). The replies vary from 'No, not for even one minute till they are 30' to 'Yes, of course it's fine, my son/daughter prepares a meal for the entire street while I am out shopping'.... it depends on the parent and on the child and no-one knows your child like you do

What did you do? If you left him, how did it go?

catwalker Sat 30-May-09 08:26:00

Oh yes, I left him - for about an hour. And he was still flat out on the sofa when I returned. But, as I said, I have done it before but just wish I didn't feel so bloody guilty and anxious about it! I just imagine burglars/him eating someting and choking/the tv exploding/me crashing the car and not being able to get back... you name it!!

ChippingIn Sat 30-May-09 20:13:57

catwalker - no one said it would be easy grin

Building this trust with your son will be great for your relationship and his development - just focus on that when you go out next - or go to an internet cafe and MN, then you can waste spend hours there not giving him a second thought grin

summerbird Sat 30-May-09 21:29:47

catwalker - the scenario's you described above would be just as bad if he was 15 yrs old never mind 10.

i agree with chipping in that building such trust in him will only strengthen your relationship and he will turn out to be a good bloke in years to come. and well done you for having a responsible 10 year old DS smile

Guadalupe Sat 30-May-09 21:40:30

Ds1 was ten when I started leaving him for the odd hour or two. Depends on the child though, can't see myself leaving dd before she's 23.

mulranno Tue 02-Jun-09 02:18:43

I have 4 and there is always someone to be dropped off/picked somewhere most nights..I used to have to pack them all in the car to drop one 5 mins away at cubs...and it was a right palava. For the last 6 months or so leave them behind (10, 8, 7, 3) if I have to pop out....usually take the 3 yr old but sometimes leave her with big brother. last month when she was 2 she asked if she could stay home alone watching TV whilst I popped to the shop...dont worry...I dragged her out with me....but I would check how the child feels...my daughter 7 would not want to stay for 2 mins on her own...but will stay if her older brothers are in

mulranno Tue 02-Jun-09 02:18:45

I have 4 and there is always someone to be dropped off/picked somewhere most nights..I used to have to pack them all in the car to drop one 5 mins away at cubs...and it was a right palava. For the last 6 months or so leave them behind (10, 8, 7, 3) if I have to pop out....usually take the 3 yr old but sometimes leave her with big brother. last month when she was 2 she asked if she could stay home alone watching TV whilst I popped to the shop...dont worry...I dragged her out with me....but I would check how the child feels...my daughter 7 would not want to stay for 2 mins on her own...but will stay if her older brothers are in

TubOfLardWithInferiorRange Tue 02-Jun-09 04:01:52

Maybe the guilt/anxiety may have more to do with the fact that this is your youngest rather than his age. I'm sure that I left my oldest for an hour or so when she was 10 just to have space from her brothers/bustling family. My youngest is almost 14 and I still rush in and out in situations like you describe.

cory Tue 02-Jun-09 08:02:16

I've done it before, will do it again. My nephew (abroad) stopped after-school club at this age and looked after himself every afternoon. He was absolutely fine.

Stigaloid Tue 02-Jun-09 13:44:41

From government website

Leaving children at home alone

There is no legal age limit for leaving a child on their own, but it is an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk. Parents can be prosecuted for neglect if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’ (Children and Young Person’s Act).

How mature is the child?
The most important factor to consider is how mature the child is. For instance, it may be okay to leave a very mature or ‘grown up’ 12 year old alone for a day while you are at work, but not a 13 year old who is not mature.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) advises that:

children under the age of thirteen are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
children under the age of sixteen should not be left alone overnight

babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone

Things to remember

If you do leave your child home alone, remember to do the following:

leave a contact phone number and make sure you can answer it right away

leave a separate contact list of people you trust, in case they can’t get hold of you

talk to your child before you leave about how to stay safe, and tell them not to answer the door to strangers
make sure dangerous objects like matches and knives are out of reach, as well as medicines and dangerous chemicals

leave clear instructions on what to do in case of an emergency (like a fire)

tell them what time you will be back, and don’t be late
set some basic rules about what they can and can’t do while you are out

teach them basic first aid

msdevine Tue 02-Jun-09 14:03:11

my mother got taken to court and done for willful abandonment (no charges were brought in the end thank god)

She left my sister at home when she was 14 because she had to go out and my sister said she was not feeling like it.

My sister decided to boil an egg for lunch and put the wrong hob on, forgot about it (she had actually put on hob that had pan of oil in)

Did not realise until she saw smoke coming through the livingroom door by that time it was too late the whole kitchen went up in flames my poor sister didnt know what to do ran around the house in a panic opening all the doors the whole house was smoke damaged, the kitchen was a burned down wreck.

i dont think i would leave a 10 year old you never know what could happen when your gone, I thought my sister was more than ready to be left i was left at an even younger age sometimes but it just shows you sometimes accidents just happened.

Luckily my sister and the dog got out ok but we had to move out of out house for 18months while it was being rebuilt and renovated after the damage.

LovelyTinOfSpam Tue 02-Jun-09 14:19:21

That is bizarre msdevine. i can't believe they tried to prosecute that. Clearly an accident - 14 is really old. And I guess this must have been a few years ago as well...

msdevine Tue 02-Jun-09 14:33:46

it was 13 years ago.

I know we could not believe it either my mum felt awful she really did not think she would get into trouble for leaving her 14 year old.

I remember how upset she was at the time also pregnant and being taken to court like she was a neglectful mum. But suprisingly that was the law i am not sure if it still stands.

But i know now i would not take the risk leaving my dc alone they have not reached this age yet of course but i already know how much i worry (prob due to past experience).

I do know loads of people that do it but it makes me feel uneasy.

howtotellmum Tue 02-Jun-09 14:39:23

It all depends on your child; you have to understand what they MIGHT get up to if you were delayed.

eg worst scenario- if you had an accident in your car and didn't come home as expected- do you have neighbours or friends who can help out??

would your child try to cook- do they know about fire safety?

can they answer the phone to a stranger and not say that mum is out and they are all alone?

If they had an accident, would they know what to do?

I think you have to trust your instinct- if you are really unncertain, then maybe it's too soon. I found that as my kids grew older, I was happy to let them do certain things because i KNEW they could cope- when I had doubts, I didn't allow it.

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