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Independence

(9 Posts)
WaterlooSunset Thu 13-Jan-11 14:45:39

How much independence do you give a 9 year old? I've never left her alone or let her go anywhere alone. I suspect it is time I started doing so gradually. What do other people do, or suggest? And what is the legal situation?

walesblackbird Thu 13-Jan-11 14:49:20

I have a 9 year old and find it difficult to strike the right balance. He's not the most mature anyway and spends a lot of his time away with the fairies so I tend to keep a reasonably tight rein.

This summer, for the first time, he was allowed out of sight - out of the street - to play with his friends. I bought him a cheap mobile so that I could check where he was without having to go looking for him.

When he goes to see his friends he doesn't have to go anywhere near a busy road - I haven't let him do that yet.

I don't allow him to walk to school alone yet as I don't think he's sensible enough.

And I've only once left him alone in the house and that was for a very short time - when he was ill and I had to pick up my other two children from school.

I don't think he's ready yet for any more independence than that.

munkymaz Thu 13-Jan-11 14:51:38

Hmmm! This is something I have been contemplating for a little while. DS is nearly 9 and I have only left him on his own for 10mins or so while I nip in car to local shop. I'm thinking about slowly extending the timescale so he can be left for say....1/2 hour/1hour at a time. He's pretty good if I do nip out, he sits nicely playing his DS or something.

As for going anywhere alone, he doesn't a tthe moment. I couldn't trust him to look where he's going or cross the road properly. May give this one a try also, he has just started getting a bit of pocket money so might see if he fancies a trip to the shop to spend it, me spying following at a short distance behind.

cory Thu 13-Jan-11 14:56:37

Mine was 9 last year. Let him walk alone from school, go to local shops on his own, stay alone in the house for an hour or so, take his bike and play in the close behind our house without supervision.

But even so, he was very sheltered compared to his Scandinavian cousins; there it would be normal for a 10-11yo to go to the beach alone with his mates or spend the whole day out.

mumtolawyer Thu 13-Jan-11 22:39:00

My DD is allowed to walk home from library (crossing 3 small roads) and from ballet to the cafe I will be in (one small road to cross, but on a corner). This has been good since 8.5 (she's 9).
By the time she's 11 I will expect that she can get from school to me on her own (direct bus).

WaterlooSunset Fri 14-Jan-11 14:22:40

Thanks for the responses. All the official 'advice' seems to indicte that 12/13 is prbably the age for leaving alone for substanial periods of time - but it seems sensible to build this up gradually with 10 minute sessions etc whilst she's still younger.

AnaS Sat 15-Jan-11 20:53:05

I was about to post a similar question so thanks for doing it for me. I have a 9 year old dd who is desparate for some independence. I have started letting her ride her bike to school (crossing 1 fairly busy road) occasionally. I have a relative at school who she reports to and she then texts me so I don't have to wait for school to realise she's not there. She is pretty sensible and we have spoken about strangers quite a bit. She is loving this opportunity but there have been a few raised eyebrows from other parents. what do others think?

AnaS Sat 15-Jan-11 20:53:23

I was about to post a similar question so thanks for doing it for me. I have a 9 year old dd who is desparate for some independence. I have started letting her ride her bike to school (crossing 1 fairly busy road) occasionally. I have a relative at school who she reports to and she then texts me so I don't have to wait for school to realise she's not there. She is pretty sensible and we have spoken about strangers quite a bit. She is loving this opportunity but there have been a few raised eyebrows from other parents. what do others think?

onimolap Sat 15-Jan-11 20:58:18

The law in UK is largely silent on this. There is no legislation on ages when children can be left alone. The general child welfare laws apply: for any under 16 the parents/guardians remain responsible, whether present or not, and you could be prosecuted for neglect if something went amiss (this would, of course, all depend on the nature of the event and the age of the child - leaving a 15 year old alone at home is completely different from leaving a 5 year old).

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