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When do you start leaving the older kids on their own.

(15 Posts)
Nanny01 Tue 27-Sep-11 18:04:48

We have 4 kids and I have to pick dh up every night from work. It normally takes 20 mins round trip to do it and until now I loaded the whole family into the car to collect. We have just started to leave the 10 yr old who is yr 6 and the 13 yr old on their own with strict instructions of what they can and can't do.

My problem comes is my mum says you can't leave them till they are 14 and she took me every where apart from when she went to get her cigs and booze and pick dad up. This differs from what I remember which was that I was walking to school in yr 6 in preparation of going to senior school and used to go of on my bike to see friends down the road.

All my daughters yr 6 friends go out on their own to. I don't actually mind her going round the corner to a friends house but wouldn't want her wondering the neighborhood just yet. Really makes me cross as my mum takes no interest in the kids until now and actually felt she made me feel very anxious going out on my own as a young person. My daughter will be walking to school next yr so I want her to build up her confidence of being on her own in small ways this year before she needs to. What do you do with your older kids for small amounts of time. I am still taking the 8 and 4 yr old and obviously won't leave our new baby in January on it's own.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 27-Sep-11 18:06:28

I have been happy leaving my just turned 9yo alone for short periods for about a year, the opportunity doesn't often arise but we would both (he and I) be happy at leaving him for 20 mins.

Icancancatchbabies Tue 27-Sep-11 19:33:58

Gosh yes I think there old enough. I leave my 9 year old alone for 20 mintues.

Ignore your mum, your kids your choice.

HarrietJones Tue 27-Sep-11 19:47:26

NSPCC recommends 14. I leave dd1 who is 11 if I'm going to be 1/2 hour or less. Dd2 is 10& can't imagine leaving her anytime soon!

Icancancatchbabies Wed 28-Sep-11 10:03:51

Guess it depend on the child too. I can't imagine my dd2 being ready at 9 but she's got few years yet.

OneHandFlapping Wed 28-Sep-11 10:07:21

I started when they were 10, for no more than half an hour during daylight, with strict instructions not to answer the door, boil a kettle, or have a bath.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 28-Sep-11 10:11:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LizinFrance Wed 28-Sep-11 12:39:40

I think its absolutely fine too. Our oldest 2 are 12 and 10 and we have left them both, or just the older one for 20 mins/half hour on their own too.


falasportugues Sun 02-Oct-11 15:26:36

I think that 14 is the legal age where you can leave them without being legally responsible for them. Therefore it's down to the level of trust you have in your child. If anything terrible happened, you would be legally responsible for what happened. But this is worst case scenario thinking. I think it's fine to leave sensible kids on their own at that age, and am looking forward to doing so myself!

exexpat Sun 02-Oct-11 15:35:39

I was leaving DS at home for DD's swimming lesson (one hour plus) when he was nine. But he is sensible, and we have nice neighbours etc. They are now 13 and 8 and I have no hesitation in leaving them together for an hour or so to go to the shops, walk the dog or whatever.

DD (8) I have left for up to half an hour to nip out for milk etc. But it all depends on the individual child, and how confident you are that they wouldn't do anything stupid or panic in an emergency.

TheLadyEvenstar Sun 02-Oct-11 15:52:50

Just a note for all, there is no legal age. technically you could leave a 3yr old.

TheLadyEvenstar Sun 02-Oct-11 15:54:31

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 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 example, it may be okay to leave a mature 12 year old alone, 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 about 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
•children under the age of 16 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

Finally, it is important to make sure that your child is happy to be left alone. If they aren’t confident about being left alone then find someone to look after them

mumeeee Sun 02-Oct-11 21:20:57

Ignore your Mum. There is no legal age for leaving your children alone. Your 10 and 13 year old will be fine for 20 minutes.

sunnydelight Mon 03-Oct-11 08:46:27

I think that's perfectly reasonable tbh as long as they have a good relationship. My nearly 13 year old has started babysitting his nearly 9year old sister if we are out for a couple of hours (my 18 year old no longer being available most of the time). I think 12 is fine tbh depending on the sibling dynamics.

4madboys Mon 03-Oct-11 09:04:01

from about 8 or 9 for short periods and we now leave our 12yr old for a couple of hours or longer if we are doing something he doesnt want to do (like taking ds2 to football)

and yes legally there is no age limit as such, just guildlines from the nspcc etc.

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