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Leaving children home alone during the holidays

(13 Posts)
ivykaty44 Fri 11-Jul-08 08:54:42

The bbc breakfast show this morning was running a news item about parents leaving children under 13 home alone during the holidays - would face prosecution. One single mother emailed stating that as her benifit had stopped because her child was 12 she was working, has none to leave her dd with and therefore what was she supposed to do?

The goverment wants single parents out to work but then says if you go out to work then we will prosecute you if you leave your dc home alone during the school holidays.

What are we supposed to do, work, stay home. There is day care in the hoklidays for dc up to the age of roughly 8 - but when the children get older this becomes limited and none exsitant.

If the govererment are going to make rules could they get them all in synk - same ages for benifit stopping and leaving children home alone???

Why should a parent be told though whether there child is responsable enough to leave. What happens to dc that want to go out to play with their mates in the park etc?

nametaken Fri 11-Jul-08 09:43:12

I plan on leaving my 12 year old alone for some of the time during the holidays. I would not be doing anything illegal by doing this so I won't be prosecuted.

Maybe that article was just a bit of scaremongering - I don't see how you can be prosecuted if you haven't actually broken the law?

And which parent will they prosecute anyway, Or will they prosecute both of them.

mysteryfairy Fri 11-Jul-08 12:11:35

I heard a similar article on the Today programme this mrning and I don't think that the OP accurately reflects what is being reported:

Parents might face prosecution only if their child was subject to wilful neglect.

Anyway I have made childcare arrangements for my DSs age 12 and 11 for the entire summer holidays so it is possible to do so for older children. These include one week on YHA do it 4 real holiday (would be £99 if you qualified for CTC), one week on local authority residential summer camp (£50 each), one week on senior school playscheme (£80 each), few days at local leisure centre (£20 a day).

All of these are cheaper options than for my DD who is with her CM (£3.50 per hour so £35 per day) and with other children of their own age so they don't mind going.

PrimulaVeris Fri 11-Jul-08 12:25:35

I don't think the prosecution thing is correct either.

I personally wouldn't leave my 12yo at home unattended ALL day - but that's my choice.

The (ONLY) all-day holiday club in the area, which theoretically takes only up to age 11, in practice takes older children whose younger siblings attend. The lack of holiday daycare schemes for teenages does bug me though. The few that exist locally tend to be sports-based (er ... what if your teen HATES sport?) and only for a few hours a day - not all day.

MrsBoo Fri 11-Jul-08 12:32:49

Childcare in the holidays is sooo expensive.
My DS (age 8) has been booked into holiday care for 8 days in July at a cost of £30.00 per day (at his old afterschool club) my DD is in full time nursery at £26.00 per day.
All the sports/activity weeks seem to cost between £90 and £100.
And the holidays last for 9 weeks here too.

tortoiseSHELL Fri 11-Jul-08 13:16:28

I was a bit shocked in the BBC report when they said the NSPCC 'recommended that children under 16 should not be left alone'.

That has got to be loopy - a child of 16 can get married!!!!! And children will routinely be travelling to school on their own at age 11 - children have got to be given responsibility or they will never learn how to look after themselves!

noddyholder Fri 11-Jul-08 13:22:28

My ds is 14 and I wouldn't leave him unsupervised in some way.How can this be a prosecuting offence when the mccanns left 3 babies alone every night while they went out and that was considered acceptable.This country has some mad rules

PersephoneSnape Fri 11-Jul-08 13:25:14

I'm a single parent, working full time - my 13 year old dd has been left alone in the house for short periods of time since she was around 10 and a half - we've increased that gradually and she does now spend a day at home on her own 2 - 3 times a week during the holidays. her younger brothers, aged 8 and 10 have school holiday club - she occasionally gets a bus into town to meet her friends, go to the cinema etc. i work about 20 minutesd away and phone her at regular intervals to check she's ok, not lonely, have a chat etc.

works for us - might not work for other people, hardly the same as me buggering off on holiday for six weeks and leaving her with a jar of peanut butter and an electric bar fire.

tortoiseSHELL Fri 11-Jul-08 13:27:57

BBC report on 1 o clock news - said 'official advice is trust your instincts' having said 'you could get 10 years in jail if you get it wrong'.

I would leave my 7 year old for up to 20 mins or so. And at age 10 I would expect to be able to leave him for longer.

At age 14 children can babysit for goodness' sake - we do mollycoddle our children don't we!

CarGirl Fri 11-Jul-08 13:32:15

If you leave a 14 year old to babysit and something goes wrong the babysitter will not be held responsible the parents will. For that reason I won't use a babysitter who is under 16.

Tortington Fri 11-Jul-08 13:32:23

depends on the kid and the ages of other kids in the house at the time
even though more trouble can be had - i prefer there being more than one child being left alone

ivykaty44 Fri 11-Jul-08 14:00:04

How are they going to poilce this? Are they going to only prosecute when something goes wrong or will they knowck on doors and find dc at home alone - pictures the child catchers in chitty chitty bang bang.

How are they going to find the room in prison - are prisoners are full and they let murderers out early due to overcrowding. Which parent will they jail? The mother, as womans prisoners aren't as packed?

What will happen to young teenagers that get pg and have a baby - will the baby automaticly be taken away? As they are too young to care for the baby.

This is being taken to the limits but it is all so grey and wishey washey? Goverment either need to tand up and state exactly the rules or let parents parent as they know their own children and the maturity of them.

TwoIfBySea Fri 11-Jul-08 15:44:24

I do feel a bit sorry for children now. When I was 13 I was earning pocketmoney (and quite a good amount too) babysitting. Now it would be probably illegal to do so.

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