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- Jan 29 by mustlovepoodlesI know I wouldn't have been comfortable leaving my oldest son alone for an entire shift at age 11. No way. I didn't start letting my kids stay by themselves over night until they turned 15. And even then it was with a LOT of outside support, neighbors checking in, phone calls. I'll never forget, one time my oldest son decided to surprise us by mowing the grass. He managed to get the mower started, but he ran over a nest of ground bees who ate him up! OMG! I was at least an hour from home and he was hysterical (he was 16.) I couldn't tell over the phone if he was just panicked or having an allergic reaction. Had to call a neighbor to go over to the house and check him out. Poor kid, he was so upset he couldn't even find the benedryl--which was sitting right on the shelf at eye level. Thankfully, everything turned out okay, but it showed me that we had a serious weakness in our emergency plans. I spent a good bit of time teaching and training the kids about basic first aid & recognizing and managing emergencies.
- Jan 30 by proud nurseI have boy/girl twins, so they looked out for each other. I really thought my daughter would be the one who'd take charge, but my son surprised me. I started leaving them home for a few hours here and there when they were about 11, to go shopping or to a meeting. It wasn't until they were 12 that I'd leave them home overnight while I'd work a night shift when my husband would be at a convention or something. I only worked 6 minutes from home then. I'd leave for work at 2215, call at midnight, come home on my lunch break around 0300, call at 0600, be home around 0730.
- Jan 30 by DizzyLizzyNurseHow is he now when he's home alone?
- Jan 30 by madwife2002My 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 by thelittledoeIMO, 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 by KAR813I 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 by GrnTeaHave 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 by uRNmywayI 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 by NurseOnAMotorcycleAlso, 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.