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Old 03-26-2018, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Round Rock, Texas
9,994 posts, read 9,240,205 times
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I was a latchkey kid when I was 8. It depends on the individual child. If the child clearly understands not to open the door for strangers and knows how to fend for him/herself then several hours isn't that much of a stretch. Lately we've been leaving our 11 (soon to be 12) year old home alone while we run local errands because a) at that age, she has no interest in getting dressed just to go to Lowes, b) she understands not to let anyone into the house, c) she's trustworthy (until proven otherwise) and d) she knows how to take care of her own needs. It does help that we live on a quiet cul-de-sac. Can't say I'd do this in our previous neighborhood.
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:59 AM
 
25,346 posts, read 23,161,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riaelise View Post
I was a latchkey kid when I was 8. It depends on the individual child. If the child clearly understands not to open the door for strangers and knows how to fend for him/herself then several hours isn't that much of a stretch. Lately we've been leaving our 11 (soon to be 12) year old home alone while we run local errands because a) at that age, she has no interest in getting dressed just to go to Lowes, b) she understands not to let anyone into the house, c) she's trustworthy (until proven otherwise) and d) she knows how to take care of her own needs. It does help that we live on a quiet cul-de-sac. Can't say I'd do this in our previous neighborhood.
I believe it depends on one thing, have the kids been trained to be mature and responsible?

Also, one should check b/c every state has different laws regarding the legal age that kids are allowed to be home alone.

I think it's real important to keep kids busy, so any activity you can register them with would be good...even if they don't want to....teach them to be proactive....

I had to be mature, b/c my mother worked 2 jobs to keep us fed, there was no other alternative for us, and, we had caring neighbors...who babysat and watched out of us...and yelled at us with no reservations if we got out of line...so....
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,411 posts, read 15,785,612 times
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Another thing to consider is if there were adults/neighbors that they could call in an emergency. I'm thinking of things like household emergencies. Would the 12 year old know what to do if the toilet got plugged and started to overflow, or if the power went off in a thunderstorm, or something like that?
What if the younger one tripped and hit their head on the corner of the coffee table and started bleeding? Could they handle even more minor emergencies? Maybe yes, and maybe no.

I'll share a story, the first time that we left our very responsible (so we thought) son home alone with his sister for an entire day they were something like 14 and 10, maybe even 15 and 11. Our daughter asked Big Brother if she could "ride to the corner to get something to eat". Now, "riding to the corner" meant riding her bicycle on a very, very busy street for 3/4 of a mile. We had never, ever let her ride her bike on the actual street (just on our very quiet private road in our cul-de-sac). Heck, even our 14 or 15 year old son never rode his bike on that street as it was so dangerous.

Luckily, a police officer saw her riding her bike (not very skillfully) on the side of the road and took her home. He read the riot act to our son and called both my husband and me at work to tell us.

It turns out that while our daughter asked his permission to go he really wasn't listening to what she was saying (or maybe she just asked to ride her bike) and he just said "Sure, OK".

We were so thankfully that police officer saw her and returned her home. At the time, we even considered that motorists or people living on that busy street called 911 and reported it.

Last edited by germaine2626; 03-26-2018 at 10:21 AM..
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:04 AM
 
25,346 posts, read 23,161,561 times
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Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
Another thing to consider is if there were adults/neighbors that they could call in an emergency. I'm thinking of things like household emergencies. Would the 12 year old know what to do if the toilet got plugged and started to overflow, or if the power went off in a thunderstorm, or something like that?
What if the younger one tripped and hit their head on the corner of the coffee table and started bleeding? Could they handle even more minor emergencies? Maybe yes, and maybe no.
Good Points....
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
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Thanks everyone for your posts, I really appreciate all the advice!


I actually talked with my oldest last night and as much as she likes staying home for an hour here and there she said she would be scared to be home for 4 or 5 hours. So that basically made up my mind! She's not ready for the responsibility yet!


Since I still have a few months, I will look up different camps in the area and speak to my boss about maybe just coming in a few hours a week and working from home during the summer. I also have a neighbor that would probably check in on them if I had to go in for a meeting and be gone 2 or 3 hours. She's home all day. I can actually do my entire job from home, but he wants me at the office so he doesn't have to be. I'm a good worker and I hope he will go for this. He already knows that I have children and that babysitting is an issue. I understand it's not his issue, but it is what it is and it's only temporary. My kids come first.
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Round Rock, Texas
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We've been raked over the coals for this, but our daughter has a smartphone that she uses extensively. She regularly texts us so if something happened, we'd know about it. She's proven since childhood not to mess around with things that may pose a danger to her. She's a tentative child, not inclined to create "entertainment". Her younger sister, on the other hand, is another story. She was exploratory when she was a toddler (disassembling a lamp, getting into things she shouldn't). At 7, her nature has changed somewhat, but she's the one we'd have to worry about messing around with the stove for example. She is aware of stranger danger though.

Again, it all comes down to the child. He/she will tell you the answer. Also, wanted to add, you have to consider their comfort level. My daughter, when younger, was fearful of being left alone even when I was across the street talking to a neighbor. Now she doesn't freak out at all as she has matured.

I was left alone out of necessity. I had a very bad experience at a day care and my grandmother got home at 5 so I was only alone from 2:30-5. They taught me early to not open the door to strangers and I didn't. I walked straight home from school and bolted the door.
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:12 AM
 
25,346 posts, read 23,161,561 times
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Originally Posted by CGab View Post
Thanks everyone for your posts, I really appreciate all the advice!


I actually talked with my oldest last night and as much as she likes staying home for an hour here and there she said she would be scared to be home for 4 or 5 hours. So that basically made up my mind! She's not ready for the responsibility yet!


Since I still have a few months, I will look up different camps in the area and speak to my boss about maybe just coming in a few hours a week and working from home during the summer. I also have a neighbor that would probably check in on them if I had to go in for a meeting and be gone 2 or 3 hours. She's home all day. I can actually do my entire job from home, but he wants me at the office so he doesn't have to be. I'm a good worker and I hope he will go for this. He already knows that I have children and that babysitting is an issue. I understand it's not his issue, but it is what it is and it's only temporary. My kids come first.
In the meantime, and I hope you don't mind me recommending this...it might be a good idea to start training her to handle some responsibility....teach her how to clean, make her bed, maybe make her own lunch...how to turn off the stove, what to do if the toilet overflows, have emergency numbers posted on the refrigerator, including neighbors....or in her phone? Take her grocery shopping and show her the items you buy...start preparing her for life....I know it takes longer rather than going ahead and doing it yourself, but, listen up....lol, I was married to a man whose mother spoiled him rotten. He didn't feel his job was to help at all around the house, after he worked all day, regardless if I to worked full time...so, as a mother of a son, I taught him how to do all this stuff...so he'd be more independent. After dinner, he rinsed off his dishes and put them in the dishwasher...he helped clean, do laundry...and to this day he loves cooking and taking charge. He is a leader...so, just saying, whatever they learn now, carries over into adulthood.

None of my foster sisters could cook...b/c my foster mom, was a stay at home person and didn't work, so she did it all...she didn't take the time to teach them...

It's difficult to allow them to grow, to become more responsible, as we tend to want to keep them little, but...we're actually doing them a favor by teaching them not to open the door for strangers, etc....to be more aware of their surroundings, and teach them their phones go in their purse when walking home or driving....we need to lead by example.

oh, and also, every family should most certainly have a plan in case of fire....where to go, what to do, fire extinguishers, fire ladders in every room if you have more than one floor.

Last edited by cremebrulee; 03-26-2018 at 10:22 AM..
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Over yonder a piece
3,747 posts, read 4,264,621 times
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What age is 6th grade? 11? 12? I can't remember. But that's the age when we started letting our kids be home alone - including summers.

We never had to worry about them breaking the rules during summer break - they were content to 1) sleep in as late as they wanted, 2) have cereal for breakfast/lunch, 3) watch TV, 4) play videogames, 5) take naps, 6) have a snack, 7) watch more TV/play more video games. We also had them do chores as needed throughout the week.

They knew they were not allowed to use the stove (microwave was all they needed), they were not to answer the door, they were to feed the dog some lunch, and only answer the home phone if they recognized the number.

Mine are in high school now and we've never had an issue.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
10,630 posts, read 3,263,169 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cremebrulee View Post
In the meantime, and I hope you don't mind me recommending this...it might be a good idea to start training her to handle some responsibility....teach her how to clean, make her bed, maybe make her own lunch...how to turn off the stove, what to do if the toilet overflows, have emergency numbers posted on the refrigerator, including neighbors....or in her phone? Take her grocery shopping and show her the items you buy...start preparing her for life....I know it takes longer rather than going ahead and doing it yourself, but, listen up....lol, I was married to a man whose mother spoiled him rotten. He didn't feel his job was to help at all around the house, after he worked all day, regardless if I to worked full time...so, as a mother of a son, I taught him how to do all this stuff...so he'd be more independent. After dinner, he rinsed off his dishes and put them in the dishwasher...he helped clean, do laundry...and to this day he loves cooking and taking charge. He is a leader...so, just saying, whatever they learn now, carries over into adulthood.

None of my foster sisters could cook...b/c my foster mom, was a stay at home person and didn't work, so she did it all...she didn't take the time to teach them...

It's difficult to allow them to grow, to become more responsible, as we tend to want to keep them little, but...we're actually doing them a favor by teaching them not to open the door for strangers, etc....to be more aware of their surroundings, and teach them their phones go in their purse when walking home or driving....we need to lead by example.

oh, and also, every family should most certainly have a plan in case of fire....where to go, what to do, fire extinguishers, fire ladders in every room if you have more than one floor.
Thanks cremebrulee, I have been showing both of my girls for years now how to do the things you listed. Thanks for the advice. I honestly believe it's best to show them young how to start taking care of themselves. She has choirs to do that includes cleaning her room, dusting, etc. The only thing she hasn't done yet is laundry and I pan to start that soon. She also knows how to cook somethings as well. My youngest is learning how to cook now too. They also know never to touch the stove when I'm not home.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
10,630 posts, read 3,263,169 times
Reputation: 12696
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girl View Post
What age is 6th grade? 11? 12? I can't remember. But that's the age when we started letting our kids be home alone - including summers.

We never had to worry about them breaking the rules during summer break - they were content to 1) sleep in as late as they wanted, 2) have cereal for breakfast/lunch, 3) watch TV, 4) play videogames, 5) take naps, 6) have a snack, 7) watch more TV/play more video games. We also had them do chores as needed throughout the week.

They knew they were not allowed to use the stove (microwave was all they needed), they were not to answer the door, they were to feed the dog some lunch, and only answer the home phone if they recognized the number.

Mine are in high school now and we've never had an issue.


Thanks Girl, my daughter is currently in 6th grade (7th in the Fall).
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