Friday, 21 September 2012

Home Alone: What age can you leave your kids ?

I remember being sent to my local corner shop it was around 5o yards from my terraced Victorian house for a bottle of washing liquid or what ever item my mother deemed necessary. All I know that it invariably included a packet of cheese snaps  and then there was the rainbow drops they still do those rights ?

But before I start on a retro time travel I will get back to the task in hand,  would I let my son go to the shop now before the age of 13 , would I leave him on his own :No. There is the fear if you leave them you are going to walk back into some sort of post-Apocalyptic nightmare.

We live in a world where we are consumed by parental paranoia, the nagging the fear that you are going to find your youngest locked in the washing machine all be it on the delicates cycle. So you can't leave your children on their own can you ? Well it seems that you can. It transpires there is no law that states at what age you're legally allowed to leave your children home alone. The only stipulation is that you don't leave them in a position that puts them at risk.

"Home Alone"

It seems that there are around 2.6 million accidents in British households each year ( 1.6 million seem to happen in this household) so every time I leave my son  he is in great peril.

We started leaving J around around 13 when my hand was forced by work in work past 3.30 gutting as I would be sitting there knitting as he walked through the door usually. I have to confess I haven't knitted since I was 7 and my teddy bear is still very much traumatised by my knitting faux paux. No for me it was the sadness of not communicating about his school day.

"What did you learn at school today " I asked longingly.

"Dunno" he replied as he fuddled around in the snack cupboard.

"Surely you must have learnt something ?" I despaired.

"Stuff, I learned stuff " retrieving a packet of cheese and onion crisps from a packet of 22 cheese onion crisps ( choice of flavour not an issue in this household) and retreating to his bat cave.

So there we have it , when I come home now I don't find the charred remains of the cat smoking in the corner of the room, my son cowering in the cupboard under the stairs Harry Potter style. I find him in his batcave doing his homework .

The trouble is whiles it's right to show parental concern , we do as parents I amfraid sometimes  underestimate just how responsible kids can be when they're given the opportunity. So little by little I have started giving him more freedom and even this summer he went out on his own. He went out on his own to go fetch some lunch from the local supermarket ( Oh what does that say about the state of my cupboards * taps weevils out of bread*

My son is revelling in his new found freedom and by the time is 14 1/2 I reckon he'll have his own flat, child befit will no longer exist and he'll have more than served his purpose anyway ...


  1. I don't think there is an absolute age for this - it really depends on the child and how mature they are. I think my daughter was first home alone at 9 and my son around the same time. I'm much more reluctant to leave them home alone together as I think two can get up to far more than 1.

    1. So true ! are they quite a double act together ?

  2. Yay! I can comment now! I will leave my 11yo son briefly now and 8yo can go out round village on his own for short periods. I used to walk to school on my own from 7 - with my 5yo brother! I was left at home on my own with brother from 9. Mum and Dad left us for week to go on holiday at 17 and 15 with predictable consequences!

  3. I agree modern parents are too paranoid, I was left alone at 6( well with my 7 yesr old sister)all working day. at 10 responsible for a 5 year old while 1 parent in hospital the other at work, and I was babysitting other young children at 10.
    I think children act as responsible as you let them act, and do agree 1 is less likely to get up to mischief than 2 together.

    1. Yes you are right children act as they let to act or brought up.


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