How young is too young...? - page 2
...to leave your kid at home alone over a night shift?... Read More
Jan 30, '13My son was ok at around 12 but my daughter who is almost 12 would not be ok-she freaks if I am late home from work in the day.
I think like others have said, it really does depend on the child and their maturity
Jan 30, '13IMO, you might be better off leaving an 11 year old at home alone, than a teenager. I am not a mother, so I'm not sure if I should even be commenting. But I believe that a teenager can get into a lot more trouble (drinking, drugs, sex) than an 11 year old can. Just make sure that someone in the neighborhood will be home to check in on him if you have any concerns and make sure you can get into contact with him and that he can get into contact with you.
If he follows the rules regularly, then it shouldn't be a problem. If he has trouble following the rules, it could be disastrous. Like the other posters have said, you are the best gauge of how well your son will do at home alone.
Jan 30, '13I agree it depends on the child. My sister and I were the perfect example of that. I was so excited and felt like a big girl in 2nd grade (or around there) that I had my own key to the house to let myself in if mom wasn't home yet and i was completely comfortable doing it. My little sister on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with letting her self in and would wait in the sunroom until mom got home and that lasted until middle school.
Jan 30, '13Have you been giving him regular increases in responsibility for other things around the house? You teach him how to cook a couple of simple meals for yourselves; praise, praise, reinforce, reinforce. You tell him he's old enough to do his own laundry, and you accompany him to the washer and dryer to walk him through it; praise, praise, reinforce, reinforce. You leave him for increasing aliquots of time as you go to a meeting, shopping, or whatnot. As he feels as if you are recognizing and promoting his own growth, he'll grow in other areas too.
Word to the wise: if you haven't started doing this sort of thing yet, start right now, this week, before adolescence raises its ugly head. You want to have him forget what it was like before he had those self-maintenance chores, so he will never be tempted to complain to you that he has nothing clean to wear. If he forgets and does make that whine, the proper response is, "And whose fault is that?" Your goal is that it is not your fault. This all pays off in more than ability to work night shift.
I babysat my 3 siblings overnight when I was eleven. I had a phone number to call my grandmother prn, just down the street. I knew where the water shut-off was, how to call the fire dept (this was pre-911, now it's trivial), and all that. I taught my kids the same, and left them for night shift when they were 10 and 13.
When my kids got to be teenagers I would leave them alone overnight or for a weekend (Sat morning - Sunday night), but I deputized my brother to drop in at unscheduled times twice each day and eve to be sure there was no partying going on.
Jan 30, '13I would agree with others, depends on the child.
I am a former latch-key kid. When I was in the 6th grade, my brother in the 4th, we would come home to an empty apartment (although my mother's restaurant was in the same building). It was common for her to come home around midnight, and of course by then we would be in bed. She also unfortunately had a bit of a gambling problem at the time, so she and her husband would leave for a good part of the night a couple times a week. We were fine, and knew what to do and who to call in case of emergencies, and although we weren't the best at keeping our environment clean, we could take care of ourselves.
We were good, quiet kids. If we went somewhere, we always said where, with who, and when we'd be back. We weren't at risk of having parties or setting the house on fire or anything.
All that to say that if you have a good relationship built on trust with your child, it's probably not a big deal. If you know your kid won't leave, stay up all night on school nights, have parties, trash the house, etc, then I say broach it with him. Ask him if HE feels comfortable with it. Set up emergency plans. Have an emergency contact like a neighbor or family member that can be reached to go check on him anytime if need be. Place emergency numbers by the phone. Make sure there are good firm locks on the doors.
And I say all that having been the child in this situation while my mommy's heart is all a-flutter at thinking of leaving my daughter alone overnight when she is 11 lol...
Jan 30, '13Also, have them take the "Babysitter's Course" so they feel a little more prepared. Also, check out the forms that they can fill out (free to print out) to help themselves feel more prepared or to have an idea of what to do/not do in unusual scenarios.
Have a phone number of someone w/in 5 minutes or a solid neighbor they can go to if they get into panic-mode.
If you can get someone to just "check in" on them to make sure things are all right, I'm sure that'll help too.
Jan 30, '13Interesting topic, as I have 3 kids, (7, 9, 12) and also work night shift. I am a very nervous Mom and dont like my kids to even eat while I am gone, so I cant handle the thought of them bring home alone overnight - just me though!
I have left my 12 yr old girl in charge several times for trips to the stores or dr appts and she does fine, however she would be terrified of staying home alone overnight, so thats another issue. My husband is usually home, but the few times he has been gone, I hired a sitter for the night. It would be fabulous if I could leave them though or had close neighbors/family nearby. I agree with the rest of the posters - depends on the child, emergency contacts and support network.
Jan 30, '13Great question! It's just been the two of us for about 5 years now, so he's had a lot more freedom than any of his friends. I started leaving him alone for shopping and whatnot at 8. He's fine. It's never been a problem. I envision a lot of what I'm hearing from others: much junk food and t.v. He does actually also love to read, and I have reason to think there would be some of that, too :-) I would feel better about leaving him alone for a night shift than a day shift because it's during the day that he could potentially get into a lot more mischief. At night, with a bag of McDonald's and the remote in his hand, I have an excellent idea of what he'd be doing (exactly what he would be doing if I were home, minus the junk food), and he'd still be asleep when I got home.
Right now, he spends one night a week with my aunt, but that situation has its own problems, and I'm not sure how much longer it will be open to us, anyway. She's going to be out of town next month over a weekend, so I was toying with the idea of doing a trial run on his own and see how it goes. I can have a neighbor on stand-by. I just wasn't sure if I was insane for thinking about it!
Jan 30, '13Quote from thelittledoeThis has occurred to me! I know pretty much what he would be doing now. When he's 16? Not so much!IMO, you might be better off leaving an 11 year old at home alone, than a teenager. I am not a mother, so I'm not sure if I should even be commenting. But I believe that a teenager can get into a lot more trouble (drinking, drugs, sex) than an 11 year old can.
Jan 30, '13My kids are adults now, but when I was making those choices it made a huge difference to me how far away my children were from my employment IF they were going to be alone. As well, I had a back up and back up to the back up plan for their support should something happen.
I only felt comfortable leaving them alone when I worked a couple of blocks from the house.
Jan 30, '13Very interesting topic. As I was reading this, I asked my newly 13 year old the question. She wasn't sure how she should answer, I told her I won't laugh or judge. She said "15 or 16". I agree, at least in her case.
I am not an overprotective mother. I firmly believe that in general, we coddle and baby our kids. This is going to severely impact their "growing up" skills. My child walks to school by herself, she is allowed to walk around the mall with friends, and lets herself in after school PRN. We try not to go beyond 2 hours of alone time at this point. It will increase over the next year, for sure. She plans on taking a subway to high school (in a major city where many would choose a closer option or drive their kids). I'm slowly cutting the umbilical cord (and much quicker than many parents I know).
However, she is an only child. IMO, that makes a difference. I don't think it's ideal for our family to do it. My hubby works evenings, and she and I enjoy our girl time in the evening. She is good with Hw, but would have no self control with Internet, junk food and bedtime. Besides, she would be bored and lonely, and likely scared.
Besides, my mother would kill me :0. She'd just say "bring her to me", and my kid would not be happy with that.