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What age did you first leave your DC alone?

(12 Posts)
oompaloompaland Tue 25-Oct-16 15:01:31

My DD, a very sensible and able 10 year old, is currently on half term holiday and we've been doing various fun activities. On our way home today I needed to buy some milk - so we both trekked off to the shop to get some. She commented that, from 11 (which some of her friends are), she feels big enough to leave at home if I need to pop to the shops.

I have NEVER left her on her own. But until she said this I had genuinely never thought of when I would feel happy leaving her at home while I ran some errands. Obviously the time will come .... but when. Is there a legal limit below which DC should never, ever be left on their own (under 10?). I'm just curious, as it's something that all parents have to face at some point or other.

primarynoodle Tue 25-Oct-16 15:07:30

I started walking to/from my childminder in the morning and after school in year 5 (big busy main roads to navigate too) and then was given a key to walk to/from school and be home alone after school for a couple of hours in year 6 - was a very sensible 10/11 year old!

saythatagain Tue 25-Oct-16 15:10:46

Our dd was 11 and 7 months. I remember quite specifically because we'd been talking about it at length and it was October half term last year. We'd already done the leaving for 30/40 mins etc.
We took a clinical view of our daughter and made the decision; all has been fine. Rules set in place etc and all is good. We've found it a good starting point to introducing more independence/responsibility etc.

Kitsandkids Tue 25-Oct-16 15:51:57

I first left my 7 year old home alone a couple of months ago when he was poorly and lying lethargically on the sofa. I wanted to get some fizzy pop for him to see if the old wives tale of flat pop would work as he had been vomiting a lot for a couple of days. I told him where I was going, to stay on the sofa, and I practically ran there and back. Our local shop is literally a minute away from our house though.

A few weeks later I left him and his 8 year old brother in watching TV while I nipped out for milk as I'd forgotten the day before that we needed some for breakfast. I told them I would be 5 minutes and my 8 year old exclaimed as I got back, 'Wow, you weren't even 2 minutes!'

My 2 aren't particularly sensible and I haven't made a habit of it, but I would do it again if needed. A sensible 10 year old I wouldn't think twice about leaving for a short time. I was probably about that age when my mum left me lying ill on the sofa while she went to work. She was a teacher and rang me at morning and afternoon play, and came home during her lunch hour to check on me. I was fine.

DrDreReturns Tue 25-Oct-16 15:55:02

DS was left on his own for half an hour when he was nine. He had instructions what to do if there was a fire etc and knew how to contact us if he needed to. At that stage he was already walking to school and back by himself, so I didn't see a big difference in leaving him home alone for a short period of time. Kids need to develop independence imo.

DrDreReturns Tue 25-Oct-16 15:56:28

Oh there is no legal limit - you have to use your judgement based on how mature / responsible your child is.

SaltyRock Tue 25-Oct-16 16:07:41

DD is 10.5 and now walks home from school (across the road) and stays on her own for up to 1hr. She's pretty sensible.
I've been leaving her alone in increasing increments for the last year or 2.

LemonBreeland Tue 25-Oct-16 16:23:31

Ds1 was about 11 when we first left him, at that point only for a maximum of 30 minutes. He is now 13 and home all day some of the days in the school holidays.

ShelaghTurner Tue 25-Oct-16 16:26:47

I have a very sensible rising 9yo and although I haven't left her, I'm just beginning to wonder about it for a quick nip to the corner shop etc. Having said that, I would trust her but I'm not sure she would like to be left and that's the key really.

SillySongsWithLarry Tue 25-Oct-16 16:29:23

DD has been left alone fairly regularly from about 7 while I pop to the shop over the road. Will be a long time before she is left for a long time though.

DramaQueenofHighCs Tue 25-Oct-16 16:51:36

I've left my 7 yr old while I pop to the shop for 5-10mins. But he is a very sensible 7 and I put a timer on his phone for 15mins and tell him of im not back by then, or if something goes wrong he can call me (I'm always back by then). He also has a spare key left for him in case of a total emergency.

I think I was left on my own from about 8 or 9, for an hour or so.

uhoh2016 Tue 25-Oct-16 22:52:13

We have just started to leave ds alone he's 9. For the moment it has literally been whilst I've nipped the shop or to pick up younger ds. When he's been left his Dad and grandparents have known about it so they can check up on him or in GP case nip round if there's a problem.
I make sure his phone is charged and with him, he has strict instructions not to open the front door to anyone or attempt to cook anything. He just raids the biscuit tin and watches whatever he likes on the TV he enjoys the peace.
I'm trying to eventually build him up gradually so when he is in high school (2yrs time) we will all be confident about him coming home from school alone letting himself in the house and being on his own until we get home from work.
My ds is very sensible and I trust him and I'd never leave him if he wasn't happy to be left, I was at the door for ages asking if he was sure he didn't want to come and if he'd be ok alone, I could've been there n back several times lol

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