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"latch-key"; kids?

(11 Posts)
jollymary Thu 04-Oct-12 17:57:05

Hi, just want to canvass opinion. I have two children, DD(12), DS(9). I work 24 hours a week, including two long days. DS has just gone up to middle school, so currently walks home with his sister, on my long days they walk to a childminder. Neither of them are especially liking this, and I'm wondering about stopping this, allowing them to be home alone from approx. 3.45-5.30, twice a week. I haven't left them alone much previously, DD has a key and sometimes on other days they get back slightly before me, on those occasions we have ground rules including no friends round, no using appliances like kettle etc! Are there legal age limits? Would I be being responsible to do this? They would have neighbours, g/parents to call if needed. Possibly I have been too protective not doing this sooner! Any thoughts?

Tee2072 Thu 04-Oct-12 18:03:40

I certainly did it at that age and younger. There are no legal age limits. Go for it if you trust them to get along and to follow your rules.

shushpenfold Thu 04-Oct-12 18:05:15

Sounds fine, although I would have a contact number or two handy for them to call if they need to.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 04-Oct-12 18:05:36

There's no legal age limit. If something happened and ss or police thought you'd neglected your child thats when you can be prosecuted. No way would leaving a 9yo and a 12yo for under 2 hours 2 nights a week be neglect.

My dd is 11 and is home alone from 3:15 to 16:30/17:00 2 days a week.

She has a key, we also have a number lock key safe on the side wall so if she loses her key she can get the one out the box. She has her mobile, there are rules about no trampoline, no knives, no oven. Though I'm beginning to think maybe she could use the oven, not the hob, but the oven.

We have neighbours in the village who she can go to, etc.

I've run through scenarios with her about what to do if this or that happens. She's happy with it and thats the main thing.

jollymary Thu 04-Oct-12 18:07:47

Thankyou, very helpful and confirms what we were thinking.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 04-Oct-12 18:07:47

I did this from 7 with my 8 year old sister. Similar rules to you. Women across the road had children and knew we were at home and was happy to be our emergency contact if we had any issues. It suited us fine. By 11 though, I was expected to get simple meals ready for the family, when my parents got home. I liked the responsibility and enjoyed cooking, mainly reheating initially, things like pasta bolognese, casseroles etc.

NimpyWindowMash Thu 04-Oct-12 18:26:43

Hmm. I'm not sure if I would do this bearing in mind you have another option in place. But it is not illegal, and I wouldn't think it was inherently dangerous. Would just make me feel a bit uncomfortable.

NoIdeaWhyTheNameChange Thu 04-Oct-12 18:38:37

I wouldn't let my 9yo do this even with his older brother (who is 13) but then you may have very different DC to mine.

Meglet Thu 04-Oct-12 18:43:27

Me and my sister had to do it at 9 and 7 for a while in 1980's. We had to walk a mile home and TBH we were really sensible.

TBH it was better then than when we were teenagers and we used to beat the crap out of each other and trash the house.

margerykemp Thu 04-Oct-12 18:55:54

It's fine but you need to prepare them ie do fire drills, locked out scenarios, power cut for dark nights, stranger at door etc

Sparklingbrook Thu 04-Oct-12 19:02:10

Yes that sounds fine to me. DS2 (10) has to lock up and cycle to school in the morning as DS1 and i have to leave before him. I am always here when he gets home in the afternoon but this week he asked me to go out just before he gets back so he can let himself in. grin

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