At What Age Would You Leave Your Children ‘Home Alone’

Posted on 22nd February 2012 in child care/ home alone

My children are aged 10 & 12, I have no intention of leaving them home alone.

Even though my oldest does bear a passing resemblance to a certain Mr Culkin.

I’ve just moved to a new town and started a new job – suddenly the school holidays are looming like a great yawning abyss in my calendar.

I’ve found a holiday club that I can use for this year – at a cost of £22.50 per day, per child – but it only goes up to age 12 so from December I’m stuffed!

What do you do with your children during the school holidays?

Do you leave them home alone? If so from what age did you do it?

I’d like to reiterate that I’m not considering leaving my two for several years yet. Not only do I not think it is appropriate, I know that they’d be very worried about being left on their own all day.

All/any suggestions gratefully received!


  • Reply citygirlnomore 22nd February 2012 at 6:33 pm

    It’s a tough one. Can you not get together with other mums from the school/local area and take turns in watching the children some days over the holiday. Even at 9, my eldest has friends over for entire days in the holidays, it’s actually easier because they play better with friends (I work from home, so lots of friends call on me). By 12, I’m sure I’d even let them visit the park on their own (I or another parent would still have to be within hailing distance of course). I think the rule of thumb is they are okay to babysit from 14, so I guess this must be the age they are okay to stay home alone.

    • Reply CoffeeCurls 22nd February 2012 at 6:41 pm

      Trouble is I work 5 days a week, so I don’t have enough holidays to even begin to be able to do that. I also don’t know a single solitary soul round here yet! #billynomates

      The thought of them babysitting at 14 makes my blood run cold!

      Overprotective mummy, over and out.

  • Reply Kate 22nd February 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Try contacting your local Family Information Service (FIS). They will have everyone listed who does offer childcare for that age. There’s not much here (tho I think the local leisure centre offers up to and including age 13). The other option is to share the load with other parents and rotate them going to each other’s houses. And there is the final option of sending them to visit grandparents. I guess it becomes a mix of all three things.

    • Reply CoffeeCurls 22nd February 2012 at 7:10 pm

      Yes think I will email the FIS. One thing is for sure, there is definitely a niche in the market for an affordable childrens’ club for age 12+

  • Reply sarahmumof3 22nd February 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I leave my 10 year old and nearly 9 year old for about 10 minutes whilst i pop to the shops.. but this is a very new lease of freedom (litterally only the past few months) and I ouldn’t imagin leaving them for a ful day… i agree over 12 child care is needed, i think our loal forestry center runs day activities, but then things seem to start getting very pricey for the older children, last summer holiday i looked after friends of mine for a day a week through the holidays as mine liked the company and mum was thankfull of the free childcare, but its not ideal finding friends for them to play at 5 days a week :o/ x

    • Reply CoffeeCurls 23rd February 2012 at 8:04 am

      No it’s not. Have to admit it’s taking up a lot of head space for me at the moment trying to sort it out – I just can’t seem to find a way.

  • Reply Not Just A Mummy 22nd February 2012 at 9:49 pm

    i was going to suggest family information service too, local libraries sometimes have details of school clubs too. have the children moved school and made new friends? maybe you could try and get to know the parents over weekends so you could come to ask them for help in the future.
    me and my partner had this debate recently about the right age to leave a child alone. i used to babysit for someones kids and then the babysitting requests stopped because they were being left alone whilst the mum went off drinking for the night. the 3 kids are 12, 8 and 6 or 7. ive said i dont agree but i cant monitor when she goes out or not and ive said i dont need paying to sit for a few hours and ive said she may trust her son but if something happened i doubt others would see it the same.

    • Reply CoffeeCurls 23rd February 2012 at 8:03 am

      Blimey, have you thought about mentioning that to someone ‘officially’, I think knowledge like that would play on my mind :(

      • Reply Not Just A Mummy 23rd February 2012 at 6:10 pm

        it does play on my mind, my mother in law works for social services so will have an informal chat with her

  • Reply Ann Boyle 23rd February 2012 at 1:12 am

    I had 2 girls – a single mum working part time – they were 14 and 9 when I first left them – for a short time to begin with – I would pop to the shop and the pop to two shops – then I worked 9-1 when they werea bit older. when they were left I always had back up from a good neighbour and they were never allowed to go out or answer the door. I was lucky as I could phone them several times during the morning. In school holidays friends would help out and have them and I would return the favour by having my friends children when I finished work being a working mum is really hard and even more so when you are a single parent.

    • Reply CoffeeCurls 23rd February 2012 at 8:02 am

      You were lucky, that sounds like the perfect solution!

  • Reply Marcie Mom 23rd February 2012 at 8:09 am

    I’m all supportive of not leaving children home alone, I guess till they’re 12 or so? There were instances of children standing on chairs and falling off windows, too dangerous.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that by then, my baby won’t be scratching her eczema skin anymore, now I can’t take my eyes off her for even a minute! Check out my blog, it’s for parents with eczema kids!

  • Reply JallieDaddy 23rd February 2012 at 8:48 pm

    I thought it was illegal – but apparently, as with so many things, ‘it depends’ (I googled it). And he really does look a bit like Macauley Culkin!

  • Reply JallieDaddy 23rd February 2012 at 8:52 pm

    PS, in reply to ‘Not Just a Mummy’, from what I’ve just read that’s almost certainly neglect with 2 the younger children & should be reported. Sorry to butt in :)

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