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DS 13 and DD 11 - do we still need a holiday childminder?

(20 Posts)
DeadTall Sun 27-Jan-13 23:47:02

DS is 13 (Yr8), DD 11 (Yr6), I reckon they are pretty / mature sensible for their age. They always ring me when they're out to let me know where they are, and ask permission if they want to stay out longer etc.

I work 5 - 10 minutes drive from home, 3 days a week, 6 hours each day, so I'm out of the house from 8.50am to 3.10pm. I have a school holidays only contract with my CM, 2 days a week + a optional third day if I need it. (PIL often stay for weekends & look after them on the Friday).

I've worked out that, taking into account our & CM's hols, DCs would only be with her for 6 days over the summer this year. I'm wondering whether I can leave them on their own for those 6 days, and if so, what precautions I'd need to take. I've already thought of:

- making sure they know who they can contact in an emergency & how to use emergency numbers (they already know this), what to do if there's a fire etc
- telling trusted neighbour / local friend that DCs are home alone
- making their lunches so they don't have to mess around in the kitchen
- having my mobile at all times in case they need me
- making sure their mobiles are charged
- not letting them have friends round.

We've already left them for an hour or two, when we've gone shopping in town (5 mins away) and they've been fine.

Thoughts? Thanks!

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 28-Jan-13 00:16:27

If it was just the 13 I would say yes - but not an 11yr as well - esp as then her safety etc would fall on your eldest and this isn't fair (and possibly not legal either)

6hrs is a long time - be diff is one hour after school while you are on way home

HerRoyalNotness Mon 28-Jan-13 01:08:31

I would, I'd pop home and have lunch with them and see how they're getting on seeing as you are so close to home. I initially thought they'd be bored, but it's only 6 days and you work PT.

ZooAnimals Mon 28-Jan-13 02:23:22

I would if they were happy to be left alone/with each other.

Are they the sort of kids to have a lie-in in the morning? Would they want to be out with their friends? Are they allowed out with their friends? Are there any local activities you could sign them up for so that they're not home alone all the time? or could you arrange for them to spend some of the time at a friends?

I would try and structure their time a bit, particularly if they're the 'want to be doing something' type, just because when bored even the most sensible of children might do something a bit silly.

Delayingtactic Mon 28-Jan-13 03:11:15

It really depends on your children. By this age me and my sister would be left to our own devices, both during school time and on holidays. My parents didn't have much choice as they both worked and CMs didn't exist where we were. It was just a matter of here are your chores, lunch is in the fridge, no friends over and if we were going to the beach to not drag sand indoors and wear sunscreen.

But I think me and dsis were relatively sensible and had been left on our own and with an adult in the vicinity for years so it wasn't a big deal. Plus the same happened with all our friends so it just wasn't a big deal at all.

anewyear Mon 28-Jan-13 09:03:27

My 11 yr old is more mature than my 14 yr old,
I do leave them for the odd hour or two every now and again, possibly not 6 hours tho.

greenfolder Mon 28-Jan-13 10:59:34

i left mine at this age- all day was well. they were too old to go to childminders, were not sporty (every holiday club was sports based). i worked 20 mins away and figured that if i was happy for them to go out all day/hang about with mates/lay i bed if they wanted, me being 20 mins away was not a problem.

bigTillyMint Mon 28-Jan-13 11:02:25

If it's only 6 days spread out over the hols, then I would give it a go. You may even find that the DC get invited to do stuff with friends for all/part of those days, which would make things even easier.

PostBellumBugsy Mon 28-Jan-13 11:09:32

You know your DC and if you think they'll be fine, then go with your instincts.

There is definitely nothing illegal about it.

Mine are not dissimilar ages & I've left them for a few hours as well & they were fine. I'm not sure I'd leave them all day - just because they'd get bored & bicker - but I don't think they would come to any harm - they just would be vile by the time I got home! grin

gourd Mon 28-Jan-13 13:01:07

A whole day is a long time though. If it was a few hours per day I'd say it's OK but a whole day needs some kind of supervised activity for an 11year old I think. Maybe get them to sign up for a club or some sports or art/craft workshops or something similar that will take most of the day leaving only an hour or two by themselves?

anewyear Mon 28-Jan-13 14:19:20

But what does a 14yr old do then
He would be quite happy to sit on his X-Box all day If I let him, as would the Younger one.. Not good In my opinion.

Neither of them are into football or the like, and from what Ive seen theres not a lot out there that isnt Football/Sport based?

Both mine love swimming and riding their bikes, they are both in to taking stuff (Old desk top PCs, ninetendos) apart etc to see whats inside, theres no clubs etc around here that do stuff like that that I know of?
We're what you might call semi rural a good 5 miles from our nearest town.

gourd Mon 28-Jan-13 14:47:20

Hmm, are there no park ranger activities near you organised by your council? Our locals parks all offer activities outdoors in the summer holidays. What about sailing/rowing/kayaking clubs? Anything there? Our local park has a cycle club for beginners and also a kids club that meet there and ride around together. There is even a “bikes for all” shop (£2 a go on any bike (helmet oincluded if wanted) for as long as you want) and they have tandem hand cycles, all kinds of different duo/tandem bikes, rickshaws and even bikes that have a wheelchair fork lift thing on them. Art gallery/museum in local town centre has crafts and other activities including archiving objects for all ages (including adults ) in the summer holidays – the only age they do not cater for is my child (under 3 years). We can also get to Manchester by tram or bus and the university museum there has many any activities including nights in the museum (sleepovers) archiving and handling objects, drawing, themed days including stories and crafts etc. Can they easily get to another town by bus or train to do something there?

gourd Mon 28-Jan-13 14:50:28

We are lucky - Manchester aquatics centre does swimming training for every ability level in the school holdidays too as well as the usual kids splash and fun sesisons with giant inflatables and water slides etc. I doubt they'd be expected to have parent/adult supervision if they are teenagers so they could go to both the training and the fun sessions by themselves at that age. Can see it might be difficult finding activities if you arent connected by decent public transport to a large town though.

DeadTall Mon 28-Jan-13 16:13:12

Thanks for all the replies & ideas.

The 6 days are spread over the summer, 4 individual days & one week where it’s 2 days on the trot. I think my DCs are sensible and quite mature – DS certainly is. They argue rarely, and TBH I’d have no issues if they spent the day watching the TV or on the computer – does that make me a bad bad mother shock? as long as they eat something! I’d allow them out with friends as long as they let me know what they’re up to.

There are some activity clubs here, mostly footbal/sport which would be fine for DS but DD is not really sporty & has hated similar things in the past (always comes home with a ‘sprained ankle’ or a ‘twisted wrist’ which gets miraculously better when she gets home confused). The main childcare provider for local schools only takes children up to 12 years old, apparently because insurance is much more expensive for 13+.

I think our local tennis club does summer clubs which might be an option for a few days, I think I could persuade DD if DS is there too. There’s a Kids Camp which I think takes older children, but it’s a 30 mile round trip to get there. What I may end up doing is leaving DS to his own devices, and asking friends whether they can have DD for the odd day or afternoon.

Arcticwaffle Mon 28-Jan-13 16:19:46

I leave my older 2 dc, they're 12 and 11, they are quite mature and sensible and they enjoy being home together. 9-3 is actually quite a short day, if you leave them lounging in bed they won't have been up for long before you get home. With mine, I let them watch tv for hrs on those days I'm working, whereas when I'm home I'm always turning the tv and computers off and dragging them out on wholesome activities so they quite enjoy the peace and quiet of me not being there.

With those working hours you could go home and take them out after 3pm and wear them out a bit, they wouldn't have that much time to get bored.

doughnut44 Mon 28-Jan-13 22:10:00

I think I have read/heard somewhere that there is no legal age to leave your child home alone, however if a child under 16 comes to harm with no adult present then the parents are held responsible. Check it out.
Saying that my children (16 and 12) are regularly home alone for a few hours a day

anewyear Tue 29-Jan-13 10:00:37

The only 2 Park and Plays we've had in the last 10 yrs were for Primary age only sad
Im also a Childminder, so during the holidays have at least 2 or more children (7yrs upwards) Plus my two, that need entertaining also,
I took them all to a local childrens farm during half term last year, it cost me just over £50 to go in and Over £10 for coffee, 2 jugs of juice and snacks for the 6 of us? No renumeration offered by parents either, one just said 'what a lovley treat'..

PandaG Tue 29-Jan-13 10:08:50

I'd be inclined to leave 13 yo, and see if I could arrange a childcare swap or 2 for the 11 yo - have a mate round for the day while their parent working, then swap to cover your working.

tiffinbaker Tue 29-Jan-13 10:10:13

I'd book them in to something like this for those six days - typically £40 for a single day - so it depends whether your summer-holiday cost of your childminder would come to more than £480 for all that unused time, but I think they'd have more fun doing this outward-bound stuff.

DeadTall Tue 29-Jan-13 16:49:38

Thanks for the link tiffin smile - that certainly looks like a possibility!

I don't want to wish DCs lives away, but I am looking forward to not having to worry about this sort of thing!

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