Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Leaving children home alone

(78 Posts)
mum71 Sat 12-Sep-09 16:07:49

Hi, I just wondered what your views were on leaving 2 very sensible children at home alone in the evening for say 3 hours (approx 7.30 - 10.30pm). They are 8 and 11.

They know what do to in an emergency, never answer the door, they say they are happy to be left at home and the eldest has a mobile so we could keep in touch while we were out.

I plan to buy them a movie to watch together and then they would go to bed.

I have left them alone for an hour max before but always at day time, usually because I have chores and they don't want to come with me.

Grateful for any views.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 12-Sep-09 16:09:25

My son is 8 and no way would I do this.

ilove Sat 12-Sep-09 16:09:54


LuluMaman Sat 12-Sep-09 16:12:24

i think it is too much responsibility for the 11 year old to look after himslef and the 8 year old too

maybe for an hour tops, but not for 3 hours especially as they hve to put themselves to bed

limonchik Sat 12-Sep-09 16:12:46

I would have thought they'd be fine.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 12-Sep-09 16:13:38

Why do you want to leave them?

mum71 Sat 12-Sep-09 16:36:59

we have a client who can only meet us at this time. He's very important to us, lives in US and is only here a few short hours. We would be a 5 min drive away. The meeting will probably be shorter than this but I'm allowing for him being late. Worse case will be home at 10.30 and could be home by 9.

I could ask the neighbours/local mum to call in but I would prefer it if they didn't answer the door.

I have nieces and nephews of similar age that I would not turn my back on for a minute but my 2 are incredibly sensible. I think that they are quite likely to still be awake until I come home though.

BonsoirAnna Sat 12-Sep-09 16:38:34

It depends entirely on the children. If they are sensible, this is fine.

APoisonTree Sat 12-Sep-09 16:40:03

As a one off. Fine.

CybilLiberty Sat 12-Sep-09 16:40:16

I feel very differently about leaving my children during daylight hours and at night time. The latter always makes me more cautious.

purepurple Sat 12-Sep-09 16:40:19

I wouldn't.
Can you not have the meeting at your house?
Can you not get a sitter?

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 12-Sep-09 16:44:07

I think the fact that it is a one off is irrelevant. Something bad won't not happen because it is a one -off.

I don't believe it would be a one-off either.

Have your meeting at your house.

dizzymare Sat 12-Sep-09 16:45:34

Isn't there a legal age for leaving children home alone??

purepurple Sat 12-Sep-09 16:46:37

No, there is no legal minimum age . Although the NSPCC recommend that children under 12 are not left on their own.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 12-Sep-09 16:48:39

Hey Dizzy! How are you?

dizzymare Sat 12-Sep-09 16:49:15

It makes you wonder whether there should be really, at least you know where you stand then.

PacificDogwood Sat 12-Sep-09 16:50:45

Agree, it would depend entirely on the children.
Personally, I would: you trust you kids, you seem to have good safeguards (mobile, not far away, accessible neighbour if required) in place, your kids are happy being left alone.
Disclaimer: my brother and I were left alone at that kind of age for 2 hrs once a month and we loved it. The sense of responsibility for ourselves was great and a real confidence boost. We never got up to anything worse than not being asleep at 8 as we had promised and watching TV which we were not supposed to but my parents of course knew we were watching wink.
I think as a society (and individuals) we tend to underestimate how capable our children can be.

ninah Sat 12-Sep-09 16:50:55

why not pay a sitter £15?

florence2511 Sat 12-Sep-09 16:53:00

If you feel that they are sensible enough and they feel able to cope on their own then why not.

There has to be a first time for this so why not start now. Give it a try.

Give them your mumber and maybe call in regularly to check that they are ok.

SixtyFootDoll Sat 12-Sep-09 16:53:03

There is no legal minimum age for leaving children home alone
I think 3 hrs is quite a long time to leave them at their age tbh
I am not anti - leaving at all, i have sometimes let DS1 who is aged 9 for 20 mins-half an hour while I take DS2 to activities
I work in CP and I would be a bit hmm at the scenario OP has suggsted.

abra1d Sat 12-Sep-09 16:54:03

'It makes you wonder whether there should be really, at least you know where you stand then. '

I think we have enough interference from the state as it is. Please let us decide for ourselves when our children are ready for various responsibilities and freedoms. How can you legislate for children's different rates of maturity? My 12-year old would be absolutely fine to be left in the way the OP suggests. My daughter, 10, would be more worried about it. So I'd leave one in this situation and not the other.

Each child is different.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 12-Sep-09 16:54:31

"There has to be a first time for this so why not start now. Give it a try."

You could say that about anything, Florence. It is a ridiculous argument.

ABetaDad Sat 12-Sep-09 16:54:36

No absolutley not. They cannot handle an emergency at that age.

Spidermama Sat 12-Sep-09 16:54:44

I would certainly let mine at that age. Yes. Three hours is pushing it a bit, but as you can always call them and they can call you, it should be fine.

dizzymare Sat 12-Sep-09 16:55:01

Hi FBG, been in hospital since tuesday, home now. I'll bump thread.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: