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Old 03-25-2018, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
9,425 posts, read 2,559,697 times
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Hi all, I'm sure there has been threads about this before but I'm asking for advice on my situation.


I started a new job this past September. I currently only work part time during school hours, but will be working full-time for the same company in the fall.


Here is my dilemma. I have two children, my oldest just turned 12 two weeks ago and my youngest will be 10 in June. I currently work 9-2 four days a week and my boss would like me to keep those hours in the summer. I work about 15-20 minutes away. I don't make enough to justify paying for a sitter and Indiana doesn't have any laws stating how old one needs to be to be home alone. We have started to leave them home for a few hours here and there and they are fine. My daughter is very responsible and has a cell phone, so I know she would be fine.


My concern is that we live in a new subdivision that is still building and there are about 30 (give or take) contractors in our neighborhood at any given time and that makes me a little nervous. I'm trying to give my 12 yr old more responsibility and heaven knows I stayed home alone when I was 8, but times are different now. The town we live in has very little crime, but there were a few home burglaries this past Christmas. There haven't been any since. There are a few neighbors I can call on in case of an emergency as well.


I can't cut my hours down very much (maybe a few) as a girl will be on maternity leave all summer. I can actually do my job from home, but my boss wants me in the office so he doesn't have to be! I like my job so I don't want to screw it up, but I also don't need it for our family to survive.


So what do you guys think? I feel at 12 it can go either way. Is 5.5 hours too long to leave them home alone? Would any parent here be comfortable with that? Do you do that now? Am I being silly or are my concerns valid?


Thanks!
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:02 PM
 
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How well do the 12 and 10 year old get along? How responsible are they? I have coworkers who let their 12 yo stay home during breaks from school and he’s a great kid so no issues. I have also heard of it going the other way. One thing they do is put the younger child in a camp so the older one is only responsible for himself. I would think it highly depends on the child(ren) involved here.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:35 PM
 
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It depends on their maturity level...and how much they WANT to be trusted.

A little bit of backstory...when my daughters were 11 and 5, I took a weekend job to help with moving expenses. My in-laws offered to babysit (DH worked weekends as well). I didn't think this was a good idea from the start, but DH wanted to try it. Condition was, they had to go with them to church and Sabbath School on Saturdays Both of my daughters were unexposed to attending church and less so the Seventh Day Adventist religion and "Sabbath" (no TV, secular reading material, playing with friends, swimming, etc. Basically NOTHING FUN). After about a month of this, oldest rebelled. She told me the church women said she was "Painted" (because she wore nail polish). She was asked to get up in front of church and sing a solo about "I'm Glad To Be a Christian", or something like that. She refused, saying she wasn't a Christian and wasn't going to get up and sing that she was (she was a budding atheist even then). Long story short, she refused to go back to church, didn't want to be a Christian, or express interest in being baptized an SDA, This caused a LOT of friction with the in-laws, to say the least (they really wanted to indoctrinate my kids). I saw that a mile away, I don't know why DH didn't

So much for in-laws babysitting. No church, no deal.

I gave DD a test...would she be able to babysit her younger sister from 4:00 a.m. (when I left for work) to noon Saturdays? She had my work number, and her dad's and was able to call. I was proud of her...she more than passed it...the house was tidy and her little sister in good hands. I always brought home "treats" (I had a part time bakery job), like donuts and cookies. When I got home, she was off the hook...she could have her friends in for donuts and play the rest of the day. I worked that part time job for two years, and DD stayed home alone and babysat her sister. Never a problem (if any complaints did arise, I'd ask her if she wouldn't rather go to church. Case closed).
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
9,425 posts, read 2,559,697 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annabanana123 View Post
How well do the 12 and 10 year old get along? How responsible are they? I have coworkers who let their 12 yo stay home during breaks from school and he’s a great kid so no issues. I have also heard of it going the other way. One thing they do is put the younger child in a camp so the older one is only responsible for himself. I would think it highly depends on the child(ren) involved here.
My 12 yr old daughter is very responsible, A/B student, afraid to actually do anything that will get her in trouble! My 9 yr old daughter is good too, but she likes to test me. I'm worried she might not listen to her sister, even though they typically get along well. I'm pretty certain that neither one will do anything that they know they're not supposed to do.


I mainly worry about the amount of time they will be alone (about 5.5-6 hours) and all the contractors in the neighborhood will mainly be on the next block over. I do have her set up for two classes in April that the park district is having. The first is a "Home alone" class that teaches safety, etc. and the other is a "babysitting" class. She also babysits my neighbors two boys (7 & 4) twice a month for a few hours, but I'm right next door in case of emergencies.

I know they will be fine for a few hours, just not sure for 5 or 6 hours? Wondering if that's just too long?!
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:57 PM
 
Location: WI
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5-6 hours seems like a really long time for that age. When mine were that age, I never left them for more than two or so hours.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:00 PM
Status: "Springtime in the Rockies" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
82,788 posts, read 95,236,514 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strawflower View Post
5-6 hours seems like a really long time for that age. When mine were that age, I never left them for more than two or so hours.
Yep to the bold. I might have let mine go 4 hrs when the oldest was 12 and the younger one 9. I think OP should look at classes by the park district, things like that to fill in some of the time.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:09 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
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We decided 13 was the age for our kids to stay home alone. They have a cell phone, and we have a doorbell with an intercom we can use on our cell phones so if anyone comes to the door, one of us talks through the intercom and it sounds like an adult is home. We have cameras outside that we can watch through our phones as well. My kids are 16 and 12 and they'd be fine at home for 5 hours. My 12 year old is eagerly awaiting her birthday when she'll be able to stay home alone, not just with her sister.

My parents used to leave me and my sister home alone at ages 7 and 4. That was too young. My mother said 7 was the age of reason in the church, so that meant I was old enough to babysit. I have a feeling that was motivated by her convenience rather than anything religious. When I was 11, I was watching both of my sisters (one was an infant) all day, every day, during the summers. Nobody died or anything, but we sure could have managed better with some adult or even older teen supervision. That's part of why we decided to wait until our kids were 13 to leave them home alone.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
9,425 posts, read 2,559,697 times
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Thanks to the replies so far! I also think 5-6 hours is too long at 12 and just needed to hear what others have done when their kids were that age. I'm also thinking 4 hours would be the max amount of time and I'm still not sure I'm comfortable with that. 13 seems like a good age to start extending the amount of hours.


Please feel free to keep chiming in all! I appreciate all the responses
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:29 PM
 
4,051 posts, read 1,532,116 times
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I think your worry about contractors is misplaced. I think statistically, they are unlikely to break in and harm children.

The issues you will have are with other children. Will you have a rule that your children stay inside the house and not ever open the door when you're gone? Even that can go afoul.

Children who are left alone - unpredictably - for a few hours here or there do pretty well. It's when they can predict that day after day they will have a large window with no supervision is when misbehaviors happen. Sheer boredom sets in.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
9,425 posts, read 2,559,697 times
Reputation: 10563
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
I think your worry about contractors is misplaced. I think statistically, they are unlikely to break in and harm children.

The issues you will have are with other children. Will you have a rule that your children stay inside the house and not ever open the door when you're gone? Even that can go afoul.

Children who are left alone - unpredictably - for a few hours here or there do pretty well. It's when they can predict that day after day they will have a large window with no supervision is when misbehaviors happen. Sheer boredom sets in.


I worry about the contractors; not because they are contractors, but because they can see that I leave at the same time every morning leaving the house vulnerable.


Yes, they would have restrictions. No friends over, no playing outside (unless in the backyard which is fenced) and no answering the door. I also feel bad as we are getting a pool installed this year and I wouldn't allow them to swim until I get home.
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