Childcare question....

  1. Good morning everyone. I hope your semester is going well.
    I have a question for everyone, especially the parents. In what grade were
    your children when you allowed them, if ever, to come home after school by
    themselves?

    My oldest son will be finishing up 6th grade by the end of my first semester in
    nursing school. He is a very mature and smart kid. My husband thinks he should
    be allowed to let himself in and hang out until I get home from school. We are talking
    about 1.5 hrs at most. I'm unsure. I'm sure he can handle it but I have some neighbors who are bothersome to say the least. Another one of our neighbor's kids were latchkey kids in the 6th and 7th grade and these neighbors talked about calling the cops on her. These same neighbors still walk their 7th and 8th grade kids to the bus stop and have a problem because some of us feel our kids are old enough to handle that by themselves.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   S.N. Visit
    I think it's perfectly okay to let a 6th grader come home by himself, especially if they are trust worthy. Have you checked your city law? I would think somewhere around 10-12 yrs old would be the age that they could be home by themselves. I was babysitting neighbor kids when I was 11 & 12 yrs old.
    Your neighbors sound like they don't have anything else to do but to be overly protective.
  4. by   hypnotic_nurse
    My siblings and I were latchkey kids -- rode the bus home and were home alone starting in the 6th grade. But we were walking to and from school by ourselves from 1st grade on (stayed at a neighbor's house till mom or dad got home).

    My daughter also came home alone starting in the 6th grade. And my son walked to school and back by himself starting in the 7th grade. We never had any problems, and they knew they had to spend that time doing homework. Since their choices were come home and do homework or go back to daycare if they didn't, the homework won.

    As long as your kid is responsible and the neighborhood is safe, IMO it's OK...as long as you are sure that he would not open the door to anyone else under any circumstances (this can be a tough one for kids).

    And it's probably wise to forbid the use of any cooking devices while you aren't home...At one point my son decided he wanted to try to make dinner to surprise me and put a metal pot with mac 'n cheese in it into the microwave (thank goodness it was just as I was walking in the door!).
  5. by   Plagueis
    This is a good question, as I've been wondering about this issue myself. My daughter is 12, and I won't be getting into nursing school for another 2 years, so she'd be 14 when I actually start. However, some people say that a 14 year old should not be left alone, even for a couple of hours, because they can get into trouble, while others say 14 year olds need to learn how be alone and take care of themselves. Also, I don't have relatives nearby who can stay with her, so that's out.

    I'm also worried about whether she can stay alone now. I might have to work the midnight shift for the CNA job that I will hopefully be training for, and there is no childcare facility that's open from 11pm to 7am to watch her. I do know people who have left younger ones home during the night, but I don't want to do that. However, the nursing home facilities around here really need people for the midnight shift, and I'm worried that I won't be able to find a job if I can't work that shift. Also, many of the childcare centers here only accept children up to the age of 10, so I couldn't depend on them to care for my 12 year old now. It is really hard for us parents to find someone to watch our children these days, especially if we don't have any family members around to help take care of our kids.
  6. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    Other than laws, I think it has to do with the maturity of your child.

    My sisters and I walked home from elementary school, granted that was a long time ago. We never set the house on fire. lol

    I really think most 6 grades can handle this, again, depending on your child's maturity level.
  7. by   alexillytom
    Quote from Tanzanite
    I think it's perfectly okay to let a 6th grader come home by himself, especially if they are trust worthy. Have you checked your city law? I would think somewhere around 10-12 yrs old would be the age that they could be home by themselves. I was babysitting neighbor kids when I was 11 & 12 yrs old.
    Your neighbors sound like they don't have anything else to do but to be overly protective.

    I wish my neighbors were being overly protective but I tend to think some of them are just plain troublemakers. Don't get me wrong, some of my neighbors are quite nice but there are a couple who just want to be in every little bit of everyone's business.

    My son is very mature. He knows and understands the rules that would be in place if we do allow him to let himself in after school. I know he can handle it. He's also very good about not answering the door or phone for that matter, if he doesn't recognize the person or phone number.

    I would let my immediate next door neighbor know about our arrangement because someone is always home at their house and we are pretty friendly with them.
  8. by   SCmomof3
    AFAIK daycares don't take kids over 12 anyway. Also, most states child support programs only make the noncustodial parent to pay towards daycare expenses til age 12. So legally, it seems 6th grade or so isn't an issue anyway. My DD has been alone for short periods of time since she was 10 1/2, which is too young for some, but not her. I don't work, so the times she is alone, it is when I run to the store for a little while or something similar.


    That said, you know your child best. If you set down boundaries, he should do fine. Good luck
  9. by   alexillytom
    Quote from SCmomof3
    AFAIK daycares don't take kids over 12 anyway. Also, most states child support programs only make the noncustodial parent to pay towards daycare expenses til age 12. So legally, it seems 6th grade or so isn't an issue anyway. My DD has been alone for short periods of time since she was 10 1/2, which is too young for some, but not her. I don't work, so the times she is alone, it is when I run to the store for a little while or something similar.


    That said, you know your child best. If you set down boundaries, he should do fine. Good luck
    Thank you and you are right. I'm not concerned about my son's ability to handle himself. He's very capable of following directions. My concern is that some nosey
    neighbor decides to call the police reporting that he's home alone, and they come
    knocking at the door scaring the crap out of my son.

    I'm going to call the police department to ask them about the laws re: latchkey kids.
  10. by   SCmomof3
    Ah, yes, I can see how that could be scary for him. It's a shame because it's obvious people like that are not looking out for his best interest, but just wanting to cause trouble. If they were so concerned, they could offer to keep an eye on your home, knowing he's alone, or ask how they can help, rather then be meddlesome. {{{hug}}} Calling to ask sounds like a great idea!
  11. by   hospitalstaph
    Hi there! You may want to talk to those nosey neighbors about what they think would work. They may actually offer to keep an eye on him from afar. I know what the law says but I know what I was doing in the house as a preteen when my mom was not home from work yet Unfortunatly they almost need MORE supervision during the teen and preteen years. Good luck to you and I am sure you will make the right choice for you and your family!

    Tracy

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