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If you are happy for your Y6 child to walk home, how long would you let them be in the house alone till you came in?

(22 Posts)
bigTillyMint Sun 04-Oct-09 09:49:44

Following on from the previous thread, I have no problem whatsoever with a 10 year old walking home, but just wonder what people think would be an acceptable length of time for them to be in the house alone till a parent got back?

thesecondcoming Sun 04-Oct-09 10:00:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

deaddei Sun 04-Oct-09 10:11:33

I have left my dd when she was 10/11 for up to 3 hours- not in the evening though. We regularly leave the two of them from 5.30- 7pm on a Saturday (they are 13 and 10) to go for a quick drink.
They are perfectly happy- so are we.

cory Sun 04-Oct-09 10:38:50

Depends on the child and the area and whether they are happy with the arrangement. I have let 9yo ds come home and let himself in a couple of times lately when dd has had hospital appointments just before the end of the schoolday- can't take him out early because of her appointment. He has probably been alone for about 1 1/2 hrs. But he does know how to ring his dad at work, and there are neighbours who would no doubt help out in an emergency. He knows he mustn't leave the house and usually spends his time watching one of the films the rest of us don't enjoy. I wouldn't do it on a regular basis. Though I do also pop out to the shops if alone with him- he's fine in the house on his own. Suburban area here, but rather quiet.

bigchris Sun 04-Oct-09 10:41:58

well i work so when ds goes to secondary sch he'll be aline until 6pm. obviously in the winter it will be dark but we do have lights in our house wink

ABetaDad Sun 04-Oct-09 10:44:42

We would always want to be home when they arrived from school - no matter what.

I have seen 9/10/11 year old kids letting themselves into houses in the leafy suburbs every night and I know one child who without being negelected is really very alone much of the time and has very litte support from his mother/father who are out at work.

Kids need someone at home to to unpack/pack their bags, deal with letters and requests from school, and talk to about the ups and downs of the day. I hated being left home alone.

bigchris Sun 04-Oct-09 10:49:38

what if both parents have to work abetadad?

Lonicera Sun 04-Oct-09 10:52:12

Just curious abetadad but how old are your children now?

I have a 10 yr old who spend hours out on his bike away from home and is perfectly happy.

I don't leave him home alone from school because I don't need to, but next yr when he's at secondary I might.

Elk Sun 04-Oct-09 10:58:54

I was a latchkey kid from about the age of 8/9. It was usually only for half an hour but it could be longer. My mother was a single parent who worked. I did not need anybody to unpack/pack my bags from school I was perfectly capable of doing it myself. I could also get my own after school snack and do my homework.

I enjoyed being on my own after being surrounded by lots of people and being told what to do all day.

Lots of children don't like talking about their day straight away and would be more likely to have a reasonable conversation later on over dinner.

In answer to the op in junior school I would be happy for them to be alone for up to an hour. (although my dd's school has an after school club so it shouldn't be necessary)

cory Sun 04-Oct-09 11:01:33

I loved being left alone! What with 3 brothers and always something going on in the family- those few snatched moments were bliss grin

But I do make a point of actually asking dcs (unless a real emergency), rather than extrapolating from my own childhood.

Lonicera Sun 04-Oct-09 11:03:14

I think kids grow up a lot from a out the age of 9 and you have to start giving them more freedom. My ds started going out on his bike by himself when he was 9. He'd go round to call on friends and either go out with them or go into their house.

pointydoug Sun 04-Oct-09 11:14:43

Yr 6 is almost high school. I have no problem with a high school age child being alone from 4pm till 6ish.

So I wouldn't really worry if a yr 6 was doing the same.

And re needing an adult to unpack their bags - what sort of outrageous mollycoddling behaviour is that

madusa Sun 04-Oct-09 11:43:02

On a Friday, my yr 6 DD walks herself home from school, lets herself in and waits a whole 10 - 15 minutes for me to get back with DS2 grin. She stays at home by herself sometimes if I have shopping to do or if I have to drop one of the boys off somewhere. She knows how to use a phone in an emergency or can pop next door to the neighbours who are lovely and more than happy to keep an eye out for my children.

Children have to be given small amounts of responsibility and independence otherwise they will never be able to leave home and cope in the real world.

bigTillyMint Sun 04-Oct-09 12:50:17

Ooh lots of replies, thanks!

So what would you think to a 10 year old coming home at 3.30 (which she would like to do), and I would be home by 4 or 4.30.

Initially one night a week, maybe increasing to 3?

We live 5mins from the school in a nice area of inner London, and she is very sensible, if that makes any difference!

I don't feel happy with doing it on a regular basis at the moment, but would like to know what others think.
Obviously coming home to a parent is the best option, but some of us have to work outside the home wink

ZZZenAgain Sun 04-Oct-09 12:56:26

I doubt a half hour alone at home will be a big problem. She will get in, dump her bag, presumably get changed and get a drink and a sandwich, then you're back.

Is it more the walking home alone and letting herself in (and not anyone else perhaps?) that is worrying you?

SoupDragon Sun 04-Oct-09 12:59:04

I leave DS1 in the house for up to an hour. However, I'm not sure that's quite the same as leaving him to walk home and not knowing whether he's arrived... I don't know.

Heated Sun 04-Oct-09 13:03:15

Used to get home about 4.15 and my mother back about 5.15pm when I was about 9 onwards and my brother 6. We had close neighbours who we could always go to and my mother worked about 5 mins away by car.

ABetaDad Sun 04-Oct-09 13:52:55

bigchris/lonichera - our DS are 9 and 7.

I fully accept there have always been latch key children for real economic reasons either 1 single parent or 2 parents have to work. Not judging anyone. If it is just a matter of being 5 minutes away and for a half hour here and there it seems OK.

My MIL was a latchkey kid in a rough working class area and stil talks to this day of hating coming home and letting herself in. She had no phone but close neighbours like most people in those days but she is 70 now and it still sticks in her mind.

The boy I was talking about earlier takes himself home on the train. I am quite worried about hm. My DS says he always comes to school with dirty clothes, never has the right kit, does not know which books he needs. He just needs a bit of support frOm his parents who are pretty well off with good jobs and a big house and this is a Prep school but having met the mother I just get the impression that after 5 kids she does not care about him and wants to pursue her career, pay the mortgage on the dream home, and see friends. Same with the Dad who has his own busisness. The boy is well behaved, lovely nature but an unhappy child.

Childcare involves more than giving a kid a mobile and a door key.

MANATEEequineOHARA Sun 04-Oct-09 14:03:14

BigTillyMint - I think that sounds ok, I would not feel happy about doing it either, but I think that it is a reasonable thing to do!
As a single parent I am dreading my dcs being at high school and the resulting lack of childcare. (got a few years before I really need to worry though)

AllGoneSouth Sun 04-Oct-09 14:42:03

bigTillyMint I think the clue here is that she wants to do it. Mine are 15 and 12 and have been making their own way home since year 6 (I wanted them to be happy doing it before they had to when they went to high school).

Why not let her do it a few times when you are home to meet her and then she is sure she is happy doing it and you are reassured that she is capable?

At first mine had to phone me to let me know they had arrived home, but tbh they forgot more often than not and that was more of a worry so we knocked that on the head grin.

When they are little we can never imagine letting them have that independence, but letting them go in small steps gives them the life skills needed to save a whole load of problems later when they have to do things on their own.

bigTillyMint Sun 04-Oct-09 17:11:33

She has already walked home on her own to me in the house many times - since Y5 when she was 9. She walks to school with her friends and it is only 5mins away!

She may well have to do it one or two nights each week when she goes to secondary school, but I am torn between her staying at After-School Club for up to an hour or so, and letting her come in to no-one in the house. We have a next-door neighbour who is a good friend, but she is not always in at that time. I am only 15mins away if there was an emergency, I guess, or she could walk back to school / another friends if it was a real emergency.

Maybe I could give her an occasional try till I feel happy about it. I was wondering about the phone thing, AGS, but I agree, if she didn't phone I would be very worriedblush

thesecondcoming Sun 04-Oct-09 23:20:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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