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about leaving 4 children home alone for about 30 mins?

(46 Posts)
ZingWidge Wed 31-Jul-13 16:55:56

they are our sons aged 12, 10, 8 and 6.

we want to look at a house (2 mins drive away) and will take 2 younger ones with us, but I don't want to take older ones for one simple reason: I don't want them to know just yet.

in fact I don't want anyone to know and I know from experience that the boys would not be able to keep it a secret, because they would be too excited.
the last time we all went they told their grandparents and some of their friends and word spread and we had to have endless conversations with friends and family about possibly moving - all of that was utterly unnecessary, boring and a waste of time. I just don't want the extra stress.

Anyway, I can trust them on their own and they know how to use a phone. we'll be literally 2 mins away. my feeling is that they would be ok, but I'm just not sure if I should do this or not.

what would you do? would you leave them under those circumstances or not?


(sorry, I don't need other suggestions, I don't want to involve anyone else - if I asked anyone to look after them I'd have to say why.)

BrianTheMole Wed 31-Jul-13 23:02:18

12 and 10 yr old, yes. 8 yr old, probably not for that long. 6 year old, absolutely not.

ZingWidge Wed 31-Jul-13 23:58:47

thanks, your answers are very helpful.

4 children together, alone could go either way.
I'm not happy about leaving the 6 year old.
8 year old is very trustworty

I think that they would probably be absolutely fine, just playing mine craft, but my gut says it's just not safe enough.

I think we'll ask DH's best mate if he can come over. if he can't, I'll ask my friend if she is able to help.
I can cope with those 2 knowing.

(if neither can do it I'll go on my own)

thanks for replies.

5madthings Thu 01-Aug-13 00:06:59

I would leave the 12, 10 and 8 or old of you thinkmthue are trustworthy, know they won't fight. But not the 6 yr old.

ZingWidge Thu 01-Aug-13 00:11:27

yes, it's DS4 that made me question it.
and if he came with us he'd be telling everyone.


cazzybabs Thu 01-Aug-13 00:20:36

You might on tricky grounds if anything did happen - but NSPCC guidelines state that no child under 16 should be left to look after a child younger than themselves and that no child under 14 should be left in the house alone. These are guidelines only and there is no UK law to back them up.

5madthings Thu 01-Aug-13 00:30:25

Mine are 13, 11, 8, 5 and 2. I would and do leave the elder three bit wouldnt leave ds4 the five yr old and obviously not dd the two year old!

Of you can get a friend to come round thats your best bet. Or take your six year old and he can sit in the car whilst you view the house with a DS or something. You can just say you are nipping in to look at something...

5madthings Thu 01-Aug-13 00:31:25

PS what is life like with six? I a, assuming once you get to five open more doesn't make a difference?

struggling to ignore broodyness

HarrietSchulenberg Thu 01-Aug-13 00:50:05

Yes I would and I leave my 12, 10 and 6 yr olds for up to 30 mins at a stretch. Two older ones for up to an hour.

ZingWidge Thu 01-Aug-13 00:51:37


that surprises me!
It's impossible for DS1 not to be home alone - he gets home before we are back from school run with the others!

Surely if they are at high school its ok - isn't it?

5madthings Thu 01-Aug-13 00:53:27

Its fine, true guidelines by the nspcc are just that, guidliens and crap ones as my elder two are on their own in the house due to school finishing times and traveling times etc.

I would be worried if I couldn't leave a 14yr old alone in it house fgs.

ZingWidge Thu 01-Aug-13 01:01:56

I mean not now, of course...I don't send them to school in the summer! I'm not that meangrin

5mad hi, we've chatted before ( I nc a few weeks ago.)

they are hard work.
especially DD, who is still a bit of a velcro baby and DS5, who is still in the Viking phase (destructive).

he'll go to playgroup in Sept and things will get easier. although I'm broody as well so....hmmm...will see.

zzzzz Thu 01-Aug-13 01:04:33

I would leave the top three but not the 6 year old. I have 5, they're 12, 10, 8, 8, and 6. Then again I'd probably strap them all in the car, park them outside with lollies/comics and tell them I was just dropping something off. But then I am of the generation that got a bottle of coke and a packet of crisps in the car while parents had a quick drink in the pub!

ZingWidge Thu 01-Aug-13 01:04:54

sorry, should have said cazzy!

ZingWidge Thu 01-Aug-13 01:09:16

zzzz we used to go home on our own when we were 8! and were alone for 2 hours or so till mum got home.

but everyone did that then, no choice. no babysitters either

it's a minefield

zzzzz Thu 01-Aug-13 01:13:39

Do what YOU think they can cope with. Two of mine can't be left, they are just too silly, but the other three are fine. Is trust my eldest over most adults in an emergency, she's a star.

jchocchip Thu 01-Aug-13 05:27:16

Its 30 minutes and you are nearby. Can you not set them up with an activity that will last an hour? Surely with 2 little ones the older 4 are left to their own devices to play out, watch a dvd, play a computer game for longer than this on a normal day? Its all part of growing up. Just impress on them the importance of ringing you on your mobile if their is an emergency/ squabble.

Jinsei Thu 01-Aug-13 06:39:55

Won't the 3yo blab about the house viewing anyway? We moved when dd was that age, and she knew exactly what all the viewings were about...and told everyone!

ZingWidge Thu 01-Aug-13 09:50:33

grin no, he'll have no concept of whose house and why we're there.

he talks all the time, but not much of it makes sense, so if he says "we went in a house and talked to a man" it will raise no suspicion.

the other day I asked where his crocs were and he answered that they are red but he wants to go to grandmas because she makes pancakes!confused grin
so no worries there.

ZingWidge Thu 01-Aug-13 10:04:02


yes, that was my initial reasoning, and I'm 99% sure they'd be ok.

it's that niggling know, what if...

I think we'll decide on the day (I'm going back and forth).
I might just ask the NDNs the day before if they would be in.
then we could leave them (good test and "training") but if anything happens help is next door.

and she won't ask why, if we play it that we are just popping out and can't be bothered to take them all.

is that a good solution?

jchocchip Thu 01-Aug-13 10:42:20

Yes if there is a responsible adult within screaming distance, that's even better!
The world has changed. My gran had 6 dcs in the 1930s and had to work after being widowed. The neighbours all pitched in if necessary...
Half an hour is reasonable in the daytime. Assuming all fires guarded and food in fridge and no viscious dogs. Guard against foreseeable risks. At 6 and 10 I would let my dds walk home from school, by the main road, let themselves in for a few minutes before I got home from work. Ds the pfb is much less confident than the dds even now...

zingally Mon 02-Sep-13 13:47:57

I'd leave a 12 and 10 year old together on their own for half an hour, no issue. Get them installed in quiet activities, instruct them not to answer the door or phone, and if there is a major drama, to call your mobile. Or is there a sensible neighbour who knows the children (and the children know them) who they could go to?

A 12 year old, in secondary school, is more than capable of looking after themselves for a short time. As is a 10 year old, really. Frankly, when I was 12, I'd have been mortified if I thought my parents didn't think I should/could be left on my own for such a short time!

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