My two daughters are almost 10 (birthday is early July) and 11 and a half. I'm a single mum and we live in a village with a lovely sense of community where the girls know people very close by they could go to in an emergency.
They are generally sensible girls and, while they fight like cat and dog for my attention when I'm there, if I'm not there they seem to get on. We've worked up to this level of home alone time slowly, they're happy to be left and always have their phones as well as the house phone. They know not to answer the door and only to answer the house phone if it shows my number, their dad's or their grandparents. They are also not allowed to use the oven or hob but they can use the kettle or microwave.
At the moment, I have the following 'home alone' rules:
- I won't leave the 11 year old on her own longer than 3 hours.
- I won't leave the almost-10 year old on her own longer than 30 minutes and I will only leave her on her own if it's daylight and I am in the village.
- I won't leave them on their own together longer than 1.5 hours and only if I will be back before bedtime and if I'm in the village.
This means that if I'm going to be out late, for longer than 1.5 hours or if I'm going outside the village, I usually need a babysitter. I generally use an older teen who just has to supervise but my girls hate this and insist they're old enough to be left for longer. What's the Mumsnet consensus?