My feed

to access all these features

Parenting a preteen can be a minefield. Find support here.


Allowing dd to walk home after school

21 replies

Flapjacksmad · 03/05/2015 08:32

Hi there, my youngest dd (nearly 10) is very keen to walk home after school. We live a few roads away and there are really only 2 roads she has to cross. Sometimes she crosses the first with other friend and her parent and there are always a lot of people around. My other dd is nearly 13 and they would normally arrive home at the same time. I get home from work around 11/2 to 2 hours later. I am a single mum so there is only me. I'd like to know anyone's thought on this. She is sensible and would normally help herself to a snack when she gets in and watch a big of telly or do some drawing or homework if she has any. Obviously she has my phone number and can contact me any time. Am I letting her do this too early? She doesn't like going to after school club.

OP posts:
TooBusyByHalf · 03/05/2015 08:43

Is she in year 5?
If she's late would the older one call you? If the older one pops to the shop with her mates and is 30 mins late would that bother you? Would dd1 have to stop any after school activities to look after dd2? Would she resent having to be home?
Personally I think 2 hours home possibly alone for some of it at 9 is too young. Mine are currently 8 and 12 and I was thinking we'd probably not do that until the 8 yr olds are 12. Even dd1 still likes an adult here when she gets home.
The odd emergency day is different but every day wouldn't seem right to me. It's not just about safety, it's about someone being around if she had a bad day or whatever I think.

Flapjacksmad · 03/05/2015 09:11

It isn't everyday, it's just one, possibly 2 days a week when she has had after school activity (football etc) and is too late to then go to the after school club. Dd1 is generally happy to be home straight from school and I don't think she minds being home at a certain time. You raised some good points to consider though TooBusyByHalf so thank you.

OP posts:
TooBusyByHalf · 03/05/2015 10:36

You could make it a one day thing - and acknowledge DD1s role by giving her a bit of extra pocket money?

Heartofgold25 · 05/05/2015 11:33

No way, in my view, she is way too young and it is too risky, and she is too young to be at home by herself. I know this is probably not what you would like to hear, and I can see you are under pressure as you are on your own, but it is not worth it. I think you might find it is not even legal to leave someone so young at home by themselves, as she is still only nine years old. Is there an after school club she could go to instead? or a friend who can help?

Heartofgold25 · 05/05/2015 11:37
MmeLindor · 05/05/2015 11:37

How close is she to 10yrs and how responsible are they both? Mine are about the same age and we go out for a walk with the dog and leave them alone. I take my phone, and my parents live 2 mins away, so can pop in if there is an issue.

Do you have a long commute, or is there someone nearby you could call to get them quick help, if there was an issue?

HelpMeGetOutOfHere · 05/05/2015 11:40

based own 9yr old, id say that was too young. yr6 seems to be the generally accepted age for the schools here.

I'm dreading dd walking by herself. Not because she's a dd and the older 2 are boys, but because with the boys I was going to the school to drop the younger ones off and I could check that they had arrived, as scooters/bikes in the sheds. But with dd, i'll have no need to go to the school. The school aren't great at letting you know if they are not at school either, ds has had a day off before for illness and I forgot to ring in and no one rang to ask why he wasn't in, as per the school policy.

Is there anyway your older dd can get to dd's school and walk home together, this happens a bit here, older dc in secondary school uniform, they get out 10 minutes before the junior school and so come and collect younger siblings.

AuntieStella · 05/05/2015 11:45

My DC started walking home alone in year6 (age 10/11) as they would need to travel independently to secondary and I thought it was a good idea to let them get used to not always having an adult around when in the very familiar route to primary (rather than dealing with that on the new one to secondary).

They started letting themselves in in year7, because the only way I could pick up the younger ones meant a 20-30 minute difference in arrival time home.

Are your DC used to being home alone? And also letting themselves in to a house (which is a bit different to being in the house whilst the adult pops out)?

Do you have a neighbour who is likely to be at home after school, so there's an adult on hand immediately?

VivaLeBeaver · 05/05/2015 11:48

Dd did this from beginning of Year 6, no roads to cross though. So she'd have been 10yo.

Was home alone 4 evenings a week until 4:30pm, would get herself a snack and watch TV.

MehsMum · 05/05/2015 11:58

When I was 9 I was walking to and from school by myself... and playing out in the evenings and all the rest. Had my DC had the same walk that I had, I would have been happy for them to do it from the same age (or younger).

I let my youngest cycle 1.25 miles home from school on her own almost every day from the age of 10 - the end of Y5. She loved it.

I'd get your DD1 to keep an eye out for DD2 and have an arrangement where they phone you, at least at the start, to let you know everything's okay.

This link [] might give you a useful perspective.

Heartofgold25 · 05/05/2015 12:33

I really can't agree with MehsMum about this. I love the idea of free range kids, and my children also have a free range upbringing to a degree, but leaving a 9 year old to walk home alone, crossing busy roads at school time (which is more to do with the busy and sometimes inconsiderate drivers than the child of course) and then be at home by herself for unspecified amounts of time, and possibly up to two hours in the evening is very risky. I think an after school club, even if she isn't keen, is the safest route and wait another year until you can be sure she is safe. At the end of the day, if you are worried sick, or something bad happens you have to live with it, no one else.

MmeLindor · 05/05/2015 12:39

The walking home doesn't bother me. The 2 hours alone would be more of a worry. I'd try and pt her off another year, until both girls are slightly older.

clarad · 05/05/2015 19:22

If you have an older DD, she should be fine. Just set some ground rules like no cooking or inviting her friends over when you re not there.

BackforGood · 10/05/2015 23:36

I think at 9, it's a bit young to come home to an empty house / being the first in to an empty house. I used to let my dc walk home at that age if I was in.
If it's after an after school activity, then surely there are no longer all the other people around? I would let mine walk home at the end of school, but would fetch them after an after school activity just because there were far fewer people around.
The odd occasion / when nothing else can be sorted I would have considered, but not on a regular basis, I think it's too young to be home alone that young, that regularly, combined with the responsibility of being the first one home.

fellowship33 · 14/05/2015 17:44

My dd is y6 (but summer-born so young). She has been walking home since January, and I sometimes leave her in the house if I am picking up dd2. But I don't like the idea of her coming home to an empty house. So I would make absolutely sure that dd1 was going to be there.

Whatamayday · 14/05/2015 17:51

I live near a secondary school and the number of children who have no road awareness is frightening. I'm not just talking about teenagers messing around but younger pupils say 11 or 12 walking to school alone who just step out into the road without looking. I always think, if only their parents could see them do that.

So no, I think year 5 is too young to be coming home from school alone.

chrome100 · 16/06/2015 10:14

of course, I think it's abosolutely fine. I really don't think it's too young at all. Give her some credit.

usualsuspect333 · 16/06/2015 10:19

If you can trust your 13 year old to go straight home from school,them yes I think it's fine.

AmysTiara · 27/06/2015 23:58

I think it's fine too.

5madthings · 28/06/2015 00:03

Walking home at that age is fine and if your elder child will be home with her then I think it's fine, she won't be on her own.

M ten year old cycles two miles home from school on his own and is sometimes home alone then for half an hour if u am out getting younger ones etc. He has been doing that since he was nine.

It depends on the child, I wouldn't have let ds2 do it but ds3 is a different child.

Heartofgold25 · 28/06/2015 21:08

I am just amazed that so many people on here support children at nine years old being left for so many hours on their own, not to mention walking home in the dark, alone in a month or two it will be winter again.
I find it incredible that you are completely prepared to endure this kind of risk. If you can live with the possible consequences then fine, do it, but how can you possibly say you truly love your child if you are happy to subject them to this level of risk??? It is beyond me. I know I could not live with myself or survive a day without my children, so it is a simple decision. So it makes me wonder why you are so comfortable with it? How can you be?
If you love your child and care for them deeply, surely you would wait a year or two until they are truly old enough to be left alone.
I give my children plenty of credit in life to try the most amazing things, what I NEVER do is take unnecessary risks with them. I don't give credit to others who could not care less about my child and drive at dangerous speeds and/or do not have my child's best interests at heart. Think about the number of car fatalities every single year, those dead or seriously injured children were someone's child somewhere who thought it was a good idea to leave them to their own devices in the you can possibly relax or feel comfortable knowing they are out there on their own and ANYTHING could be happening to them. It is a HUGE mistake in my humble view.
I was a child who grew up in a free range house and actually you end up feeling just a little bit unloved and trust me it does not lead to good things. Free range is another word for lazy. It is another word for neglect. It is another word for NOT CARING ENOUGH. Again. I am so mad that you are prepared to put your own child into situations that would scare the hell out of most parents.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.