When to leave a child on their own before school(25 Posts)
DS starts secondary next year. I have been hoping to increase my hours but I would not leave him to get himself out of the house by himself at the moment, surely this won't magically change once he's in Y7? Very short journey to school for him. Most employment here involves travel and therefore time. DH leaves the house at 6.15 and there are no other children in the house. Obviously it depends on the child but when did you manage to leave your children?
Y7. Only had to be at home herself for 10/15 mins though before she had to leave.
My dd is also in yr6 and she is left 2 days a week to make her own way to school which is a 15 min walk. Good practice for senior school. She meets a friend halfway as well which helps. Shes left for 30-40 mins after we leave for work. She also calls/texts me when she's there so i know shes arrived safely.
What is your concern about leaving him to get himself out of the house on his own? Is it that he might not actually get up and go, or that he might not manage to lock the house up properly (or something else)?
I started leaving DS to get himself out of the house and to school when he was in Year 8. When he first started, he would leave whilst I was taking his sister to school and I would go back and check the house before leaving for work. Once I'd satisfied myself that he was capable of being trusted to lock up properly, I could sometimes leave early for work. Secondary school is very strict about timeliness and attendance so there's no way he would risk being late or not going.
DS wakes up, dresses up and has breakfast without any prompting from me. He is normally ready to go far earlier than he needs to.
He is 15 but although very sensible, I have only left him behind once, a week or so ago. Although very sensible, he let the dog out, forgot to lock the back door and left some of his notebooks home (I never pester him about the notebooks so I suppose he was busy with his phone when he realised he was running late.
If I were you, and there is no issue of traffic, I would prefer to go back home one hour later I. The evening than leaving him alone in the morning.
He gets himself up, dressed and has breakfast without interference. But he does lose track of time once that has happened. Main concern is locking the house up, at the moment he can't actually reliably use the key ( I know that sounds ridiculous and we have to practice more) but it would be the more general 'is everything closed/shut/off/locked' that I wouldn't feel comfortable about at the moment. Realistically he would need to be left for an hour by himself.
Strange to read this, dc was left occasionally to do this when in year 4/5.
I would ring home to warn when to leave the house
Same as above. Set a reminder on your phone to call him at the time to leave. The beauty of mobile phones is that you can actually ‘walk him through’ locking up....and if you both have iPhone you can face time and actually SEE if he is doing it right... make the most of modern technology to give yourself some freedom and him some ‘supervised’ independence.
We’re all a bit wet now aren’t we ? (I was just as bad when mine were younger) but my mother thought nothing of leaving my 11 yr old brother to get me (aged8) and little bro (6) - up, dressed - breakfasted and dropped at school before getting the bus to his secondary..... No choice at the time as she worked and ‘family friendly’ wasn’t really on the agenda work-wise.
I found that DC grow up a lot in the first few weeks at secondary.
It seemed an unimaginable leap to be giving DC1 keys at the start of his first full week at secondary. By the next week, it was as if he's always had them.
Locking up is a bit more of a worry, than letting themselves in, because if they make a mistake the house isn't secured. But as pp points out, these days you can check by phone.
Start now in Y6 by giving him a key and letting him lock up the house, even if you're with him. Tell him what needs to be checked (windows closed, lights off etc).
With DS1 I used to set the timer on the oven to go off when it was time to leave, and eventually he started setting the timer himself. Now he doesn't even need to do that because he's texting his friends about which bus they'll be on for a good 5 minutes before he leaves. Though he does still sometimes go out in a bit of a rush.
Bigger challenge will be when I have two going out together. Then they will argue and blame each other if the house isn't locked up properly.
Thankyou - good point about phones being useful here. Neither I or DH were ever left to do this until we were Sixth Formers so it doesn't seem to me that we are more 'wet' nowadays. Also none of his friends do this yet so it isn't normal in our friendship group.
I'd be fine doing this in Y7. I suspect I might get him to text that he was at school/had left the house though (at least at first).
Does he have any nearby friends that will go to the same school? I have a dreamer too, but the arrival of his friend that he walks with generally spurs him into action!
If he can't lock up the house, you also can't leave him on his own in holidays unless he sits in the house all day - so I'd get practising!
My Y6 DS has started doing this, but: hates to be late, so I know will leave on time; has been practising putting on the burglar alarm/locking up since September; likes me to ring when it’s time to put his shoes on; texts me when he’s arrived at school.
I make sure the windows are closed before I go. I prefer him to be alone in the morning than to be alone in the evening as I remember letting myself into a cold, dark house as a child and hated it.
I just asked DS2 and he says he didn't start locking up in the morning till secondary - for primary DH still used to do it, or DD (older sibling).
He did have a key tho as sometimes he would be first home, no issue at all with that. I would have been fine with him locking up in the morning too tbh. It's just a case of set the alarm and lock the door,not hard for an NT 11yo.
if you are worried he might sleep too long, call him at 7.45 (or whenever). I have been known to do that with DS2 (14).
From yr 7 here, not everyday, but sometimes. She does have a choice though, leave early with me (7.30) or lock up on her own (7.50). She usually comes with me. Schools here are generally open around 8am (library, computer room etc) so could you drop him nearby en route to your work?
When ds was in Yr7 I couldn't have, as he was just a nightmare with not turning things off / not even shutting let alone locking the front door / no time management etc.
Then, as he got into his teens, he'd just not get up / go back to sleep after we woke him, so, in all honesty, it just would never have happened here. He was away at University before he was able to get himself up and out in the morning.
I know lots will ridicule - but just chipping in our experience.
Did it with both my children start of Y7. They both had to text me when they left and arrived at school the first few weeks. Neither of them were late once or forgot to lock door.
My summer-born Y6 does it now from time-to-time, also lets herself in once a week. She loves the independence. She isn't usually on her own for more than 30 minutes. After Xmas she will regularly be left one morning a week. IMO they need to learn to stand on their own two feet but only you can judge when your DC is ready.
Mine was left from part way through yr 6 but collected by my sister who dropped her at school. She had to get herself dressed in time, breakfast and lock up but dsis could check she did lock up! She then has been left at 7am to get herself sorted out and lock up on her own since starting yr 7.
As our locks are the ABS ones and costly to replace both my children have their keys attached to a long piece of 1cm wide elastic sewn into their bags. That way they can't lose it.
Start now by letting your son be the one to lock up whilst you are with him, it's just a step by step process.
My biggest thing was unlock the door from the inside then take the key out and immediately put the key into the other side of the door thereby eliminating the I forgot to lock it.
You can face time him doing this if you are not there and then you can see what he is doing.
My eldest son has alarms set on his phone, so the alarm to wake up and get into the shower and then an alarm for leaving.
Same situation here a year and a bit ago. My major concern was door being left unlocked. Could you ask a neighbour to check (that it is locked) the first few times? Agree with poster who said they grow up a lot in those first few weeks. We had no problems and we have a MAJOR dreamer!
Yep, I had the same, DS1 was Yr12 before left to lock the front door in the morning (only because of circumstance as it might have been sooner) , but it still concerns me and I always remind him to lock door properly (after the first time I let him when he was Yr 11 - I had only walked his little sister down to school and passed him on the way back home - so he'd been gone about 5 minutes from the house and I came home to the front door wide open!) He is in a world of his own often.
Left DS from start of yr7, 3 days a week I leave at 7:30 and he leaves around 8. He’s alone at home after school til I get back at about 5:45pm too. Never been any problems at all. I couldn’t call/ FaceTime/ other because I’d be on the tube at the time he leaves and there is no signal! I was really worried about it when he was in yr 6 but it’s been fine.
You do these things little and often so that both you and the child can get used to it/be sure they know and can follow through with the unexpected (Not a plane hitting the house 🙄 just every day normal stuff like the phone ringing or door knocking).
My DS has been taking himself off to school since day one of yr 7. He would have done it earlier but we lived several miles from his primary school.
I leave at 7am. He feeds the cats and sorts himself out. Never been a problem.
He is left in the house for about and hour and a half on occasions when it suits me to go into town or run an errand. However, we have talked about the before/after school thing and at the moment he does not want to be left in the morning, but would be happy for an hour or so after school. So really, it's all academic because if he doesn't want to do it just yet then we won't.
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