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18/04/2014 at 09:05
Either on their own completely or even just with you in the garden and them playing upstairs?
19/04/2014 at 19:23
That is incredibly difficult to answer particularly as the law is not clear cut. It is about whether your child is responsible enough to be left on their own. I would cook dinner while my son played upstairs. I would want him to be downstairs where I could see him even if I was just in the garden for ten or so minutes hanging out washing and he is almost seven. If he was downstairs I would talk to the neighbour on the doorstep for up to ten minutes. I am going to quote from a government website the following.
The law on leaving your child home alone
The law doesn’t say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.
Use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them alone.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says:
children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight
babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone
The law says that parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’.
Based on this I don't think I would feel comfortable leaving my son alone at home until he is around 14 and definitely not overnight till he is 16. I would be interested to hear what others have to say
20/04/2014 at 11:43
We were left on our own at home from around 11/12 ish if my Mum was popping to shops/to a friends. If she were going put for the whole day etc it'd be a different matter. I think once a child is at secondary school etc then as long as they are mature and responsible there isn't problem. I wouldn't leave them younger though
20/04/2014 at 12:40
WF - that is really interesting. I was left over a weekend on my own quite often by my mother and she often went out for the day/night leaving me with my younger siblings from 12.
I can't imagine leaving my on their own for ages yet and can't visualise them at an older age. They are both quite sensible and then do somethign quite extradordinarily stupid!
20/04/2014 at 16:03
20/04/2014 at 17:11
Ahh I forget not everyone knows - my mother was an appalling mother and whatever she did I automatically assume that the opposite is better. She went out and left my three year old brother on his own once. When she came back he had fallen into a box and couldn't get out and cried himself to sleep. She used to love telling that story without noticing the horror on the faces of those around her. She LOVED babies but had no interest in children
20/04/2014 at 17:59
I am sorry QI your mother was not a good mother. Some people just shouldn't be mother's, Some people love babies, some people don't, some people are good with babies, some with older children. Some people have a well developed sense of how to look after a baby or child and what is appropriate and what is not. As I said I probably am on the overprotective side, maybe because of how my parents were, also because my son was prem, and due to the risks he staying as a one and only, also maybe due to him having dyspraxia and my husband having a disability. We are fortunate that my H's disability will finish with him, if we had had a daughter she would have been a carrier.
20/04/2014 at 19:26
QI your mother is never going to be a good example is she? I would probably leave my now 7 year old on her own for 5 minutes while I popped to the shop in the next stret (although in practise she normally comes with me).
I have happily left her upstairs while I am down for longer periods probably since she was 4.
When I was her age I was trusted to walk to school and to the local shops by myself but things have changed in terms of the risk from traffic. I had friends who were left during the day by their mum while she was at work during the holidays at aged about 9. But there was an older sibling there. Things have changed and in general we trust our children less to do things for themselves.
20/04/2014 at 19:42
If I was under the weather, and couldn't go to school - but didn't need to be cared for - I would be left alone from 8 or 9 and mum would pop and check on me on her lunchbreak. Mum's best friend lived next door, I could bang on the wall if I needed her, she wouldn't necessarily be in, but I could go to another neighbour's in an emergency. I was very docile! My sister could NOT have been left at the same age. :) My mum left my best friend and I at home the week we both turned 16. They went on holiday and we loved playing house. Didn't invite anyone round but we did a bit of smoking and drinking!
I think I have left my son at 8 or 9, with mobile phone, and his dad working less than 1 mile from our house. Again, very sensible kid who would enjoy watching TV with a blanket on the sofa and would text me regularly.
I think I left my son overnight around 13-14 years when I went on work trips (1 night at a time). But his dad and nan both knew the score, would be there in ten if he called. His dad called in for an hour on his way home from work (late evening) for a cuppa and to check he was all settled. I really didn't have any concerns as he'd always kept promises about keeping in touch and was very security aware. It also helped that it was a bungalow with lots of easy routes to safety if required.
We left him for a week when he was 16 and we went on honeymoon. I know what some of his friends have got up to when left alone and if he were a different nature I wouldn't have considered it.
20/04/2014 at 23:01
22/04/2014 at 13:00
Alone to pop to the shops - over 10, alone whilst we have been shopping for an afternoon etc then older say 14, at 16 I would not leave Lauren all night on her own, despite the fact I think I was left overnight at this age.
23/04/2014 at 21:10
I have left E (10) in the house at her request, if I've had to drop H at work on a morning or for his night shift so either 8.45am or 5.45pm. It takes around 5-7 minutes, she locks the door behind me, has instructions not to answer the door and has her phone and I'll make sure I have mine.
I have also on occasion left both them playing when I've popped to the shop at the top of the street (30 sec walk).
E has spent long periods of time in her room with me downstairs since she was 4 or 5. J doesn't tend to play in his room as its tiny.
ATM I wouldn't leave E in the house if I was say popping to Asda but I have left her playing out with her friend but checked with friends mam that it was ok for her to go there for the toilet or if it started raining etc.
Also both of mine play out, J not on his own but with E and her friends. They keep an eye on him and I think they are responsible enough and they don't go very far, I can always look out of one of the window's and see them. I let E go further afield when J's not with them.
24/04/2014 at 12:44
SW it's nice that you live somewhere where there is an area they can play in safely. Recently - in the last few weeks - my daughter has asked to go outside to the front garden with her notebook and a couple of toys and play something or other on her own (she can't really run around out there because its a tiny garden and full of plants). So she's really standing right by the front window. I've let her do that a couple of times - but I can see her through the window anyway. There's not really anywhere to run around out front and she certainly couldn't play in the road (as I did at her age) because there are too many cars about.
NB - are you worried that Lauren would invite her mates round and have a party? I was definitely left on my own when my parents took my brother to and from university - which was a night away because he was at the other end of the country. I would have been about 16. I'm not sure how I'll feel about my own daughter. I know that my SIL feel that their younger son (14) is probably a better bet that the older one (19) at being trusted on his own. The older one managed to leave the back door to the house wide open when he went out for the day recently.
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