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At what age is Childcare no longer needed?

(24 Posts)
Headofthehousehold Sat 21-May-16 16:22:36

Just wondering. We have a live in Au Pair for my youngest who is 10. My DS is 13 and at boarding school. DD will start senior school in Sept 2018, she will be going to a local school and can take and collect herself.

The challenge is that DH and I work long hours. What do other mum's do for children under 14 in the evening and in the holidays? . Do you allow them to be home alone?. I don't want to mollycuddle her but I don't like the idea of her being on her own until 8pm. Sometimes DH and I can work from home so max it would be 3 or 2 times a week

Advice welcome - thanks

freshprincess Sat 21-May-16 16:28:51

I have a year 7 as well. I have had to negotiate work from home to be here after school. I just don't feel he's ready. He'd be straight on the Xbox.
In holidays it's a mix of annual leave, my parents and local soccer camp which caters up till 14 so he'll do that.
It's a tricky age!

KathyBeale Sat 21-May-16 16:32:26

I've just been wondering about this. Y7 and probably y8 is too young to come home to an empty house, make dinner, do homework... etc. But most childminders don't cater for older kids.

I'm actually a registered childminder myself and I wondered if there would be a market for offering after-school care for 11/12/13 year olds. Dinner and a quiet, supervised area to do homework...

EdithSimcox Sat 21-May-16 16:46:39

We expect to have a live in AP until the youngest (DTs) are 12 (end year 7). After that we'll hope they can be sensible, DD1 will be around and be 16 by then, and we'll work from home whenever we can. I'm tempted to try it sooner but certainly not if we are likely to be out until 8pm - would be too long in my book when they're 11.

GRW Sat 21-May-16 17:45:55

I used to let my year 7 DD come home and stay by herself until I got home at about 5.30. On the days I wasn't home until 6.30 or 7pm she used to walk to the childminder she'd been going to since primary school. I didn't leave her for whole days in the holidays, but had grandparents who would have her. By year 8 she felt confident to be home alone on the days I worked later.

Headofthehousehold Mon 23-May-16 07:38:17

Interesting -thanks for the advice. A tricky age

ditavonteesed Mon 23-May-16 07:40:58

dd is 12 y7, 13 in sept and we have just cancelled childminder, that is because she felt she is ready. This week is the first time she will come home alone and next week she will be home alone all day, I will leave her money to go swimming and I imagine she will go to a friends house. Grandparents are near by and she would call them if she was feeling lonely.
I am a bit nervous about it.

notagiraffe Mon 23-May-16 07:44:23

I agree. There's this weird intermediate stage where they are technically fine but emotionally not ready. DC needed care up to the age of 13. In their 13th year they started to prefer being alone than having someone keep an eye on them. And they can clearly cook a meal and clear up after it unaided now.
As to homework unless prompted... hmm

freshprincess Mon 23-May-16 08:29:13

As to homework unless prompted... hmm
Indeed. grin

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 23-May-16 15:17:36

It is tricky esp if you the parent are out 12hrs a day

Could you have more like a housekeeper job ? To come in for a few hours - do some washing - cook meal etc and keep an eye on dc

I'm doing a temp job with 14 16 and 18. Eldest I don't really see as 6th form and he drives

But the younger 2 need a chauffeur some to keep an eye on them and do some food shopping /cooking and washing - and take to school etc as we are in the middle of nowhere so no travel links

I drive 14m round trip to take 14yr to bus stop where private bus takes her to school

jannier Wed 25-May-16 13:43:46

I think its important to have someone at home certainly after 6.30/7 for any school age child its the time they have worries and unload emotional stuff if your not in until 8 that's around 4 hours they have been alone bottling up stuff and that make the attraction of cyber relationships more appealing and all its dangers. Sorry but children need parents around at some time of their day as a guiding role if you cant be there and work from home a bit pay for someone that can be in their lives. There is an awful lot of emotional development to go through at this age which is why even at boarding school they have some adult support 24/7.

catbasilio Thu 26-May-16 14:54:05

I may sound harsh but I am planning to ditch aupairs with the end of Y6 and "train" my DS1 to be independent and stay alone at home after school. To be honest most of Europe does it from age 7-8 and I don't see why we should mollycoddle in the UK. For school holidays I will think of something - football clubs, camps, grandparents etc. Alone all day or after 8pm probably not ok, but 2-3 hours after school he will be fine I am sure.

nokidshere Fri 27-May-16 12:18:49

Most children I have childminded have come to me until yr8 and then have started going home alone gradually over a period of time after that. a yr8 child i have at the moment for 4 afternoons a week has started going home alone on one afternoon, which will increase after the half term if its working out. Childminding older ones is fun, they are usually entertaining, sometimes join in with the younger children, or play on their phones.

piccadillyline Fri 27-May-16 21:38:01

Depends on level of maturity and responsibility I guess.

I'd say 13- as long as they can (safely) get themselves to/from school, make a light snack and do their homework unsupervised and know not to open the door to strangers/play with matches etc then I don't see the problem. I personally wouldn't be comfortable leaving a pre secondary school child on their own.

I'd increase the time they are left alone over time- i.e. if they have proven themselves to be responsible over a few months i'd be comfortable going out for the evening for a drink after work, then leaving them during the day.

CPtart Fri 27-May-16 21:58:31

My now year 8 DS 1 walked home and let himself in and stayed home alone for 45 mins from being 11, DS2 will do the same after half term in preparation for high school from next week.
DS1 (13) has been left for up to 5 hours on his own, but we live semi rurally and he must stay in the house. He's home alone for an hour every Thursday and two hours every Friday after school. Perfectly fine. Just does homework and plays on Xbox/iPad.
Half terms are more tricky. The half day rule still applies to the elder one, younger DS does a football holiday club or farmed out to grandma. DH and I also take a lot of opposite leave unfortunately, which reduces the number of family holidays we are able to take. DH also takes some half days leave. It's one big muddle through tbh. A very tricky age.

middleeasternpromise Sat 28-May-16 02:53:06

When my eldest reached 13 we terminated childcare, she was confident to be home alone - had been taking herself to and from school independently for a few years so it felt a natural progression. We had neighbours all home at the same time so she could access them if needed and I work half an hour away. I think that all adds to what can work.

Cindy34 Sat 28-May-16 08:50:28

At age 12/13/14 they need to show they can be trusted, practice being independent. At that age I would, a couple of days per week, walk home from school and let myself in. Was banned from doing any cooking if my memory recall is right. School finished at 4, walk home took about half an hour, then a parent would be back sometime between 5.30/6.

My younger sister though went to an after-school club.

What do you do if there are younger siblings? Whilst you want the eldest to have more freedom and independence, younger siblings still need childcare.

wallybantersjunkbox Sat 28-May-16 09:28:25

It is the norm in Europe for more independance I think. But it's also about individual maturity and risk assessment.

DS is 11 he walks alone or with friends 1km to and from school (it's really frowned on for parents to take kids to school and kindergarten)

He comes home for 4pm twice a week and midday twice a week. On the other day he attends a homework club until 6pm.

I get home at 6pm on the long days. He's learnt to keep his key safe, call me when he gets in and have a snack which I leave before I go to work. The homework club helps because he's not sat trying to concentrate alone on those nights and can relax and play.

If he goes out to play he takes a mobile and key, and let's me know he's out. This took some practice.

On the short afternoons I work from home on one, and my ex takes the other, he calls DS from the train and DS goes to the station platform and joins him on the train.

It's a lot of responsibility compared to most UK friends kids but it's quite normal here.

From my side my two neighbours have spare keys, and he knows where to go if something happens.

CountryLovingGirl Tue 31-May-16 10:39:19


I have a year 7 boy who has always gone to a childminder after school (who lives close to the primary school). He insisted that he was capable of letting himself in after school. He has to catch the school bus too and from school so is out 8.05am-4.20pm. Luckily, his dad works mainly early shifts so he is about for him coming home from school. I have recently changed jobs and finish at 4.00pm most of the time. I can be home for 4.30-4.35pm so I don't have a problem with him being on his own for a while.
We have also started leaving him at home for an hour (if I nip to Asda down the road) and he has been fine.
Holidays are tricky. Both of us do shifts (most of mine are 8-4) but we often have days off during the week. We have told him we will leave him for up to 2 hours only and he will have to go to the childminder if over this. He is fine with this. DH has 3 weeks off this summer and I have taken 2 weeks (when we will take a family holiday) and I have taken odd days off for the other weeks. We have NO family (all GP are RIP) so it is hard at times.
We also have a daughter in year 3.

CountryLovingGirl Tue 31-May-16 10:41:17

Oh, DS also has a phone and his own key. He has handled it a lot better than I thought he would.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 31-May-16 10:46:05

I think till 8 is too long - essentially that's leaving her on her own for 20 hours a week. I know I would have got bored and into all sorts if that was me. Also if DD does evening activities/clubs essentially you're expecting her to come home, do her homework unsupervised, feed herself, get herself back out again, then just as you want to be getting home and unwinding it'll be a case of picking her up/snack/shower/bed. That's ripe for mischief, imo.

CountryLovingGirl Tue 31-May-16 10:55:13

Year 3 daughter still goes to the childminder, obviously,

Radiatorvalves Tue 31-May-16 10:59:27

I am hoping that when DS2 is at secondary, so 11, nearly 12, we can stop APs. DS1 will be 14 (just), and is already pretty responsible. I can't wait. I will have to see how they are at that stage. DS2 will need to mature a lot in the next 2 years.

I do WFH quite a lot, and we live in London near a lot of their friends...although god knows where his new friends will be (secondary school saga ongoing...)

anewyear Thu 02-Jun-16 17:42:24

I'm a childminder too, I will be definatley having a yr7 and on into yr8..
some Childmimder take the bigger kids, I do smile

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